I thought a March 28 article, “Coalition plots return of alewives to China Lake” was exceptionally well written and well sourced.

Webber Pond, which has had sea-run alewives going back to 1997, also had serious, long-standing algal blooms in the summer. A septic odor actually whiffed off the water during the 1970s, ’80s, and ’90s.

Today, Webber is basically clear during the summer. The fishing has never been better. Yes, there is an occasional short-lived bloom, lasting a few days to maybe a week. However, it is nothing like it used to be.

The water quality at nearby Three Mile Pond also improved dramatically after a decent run of alewives began to reach the lake.

That’s a powerful confirmation that sea-run alewives do correct the phosphorus imbalances that create algal blooms in many lakes in central Maine. There’s almost no doubt that restoring sea-run alewives would clear up China Lake, but it’s not a quick fix. Based on our experience at Webber, however, it will take about 10 years. Webber cleared dramatically in 2005. The initial stocking was in 1997.

Opening up fish passage will take a while because of the six dams. In the end, however, it will be the best thing that ever happened to China Lake. Long term, it’s possible that lake trout and landlocked salmon could be restored for the first time in close to 100 years.

Frank Richards, Vassalboro, president, Webber Pond Association

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