Friends of Merrymeeting Bay’s second presentation of its 26th annual Winter Speaker Series, “Shimmering Shad & Splashing Sturgeon!,” is set for 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 9. Pictured is the Androscoggin River. John Lichter photo

Friends of Merrymeeting Bay’s second presentation of its 26th annual Winter Speaker Series, “Shimmering Shad & Splashing Sturgeon!,” is set for 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 9.

It will feature Renske Kirkhofs, an international Bowdoin College student and John Lichter, Bowdoin College biology and environmental studies professor emeritus.

FOMB’s Winter Speaker Series presentations, again being held via Zoom, are accessible at the top of fomb.org.

Over the past 50 years, Maine rivers have recovered substantially from overfishing and industrialization. The Androscoggin River and Merrymeeting Bay are fast recovering the aquatic vegetation which supports the animal food web, including juvenile anadromous fish and other species, according to a news release from Ed Friedman, FOMB Steering Committee board chair.

However, fish passage over dams remains a challenge. At the Brunswick-Topsham hydroelectric dam, relatively few shad make it up through the fish ladder to reach their spawning grounds.

“With the help of FOMB, we have monitored shad runs moving toward the fish ladder over the past several years to quantify how many shad are trying to migrate upstream to their spawning grounds but cannot navigate the ladder.” said Lichter. “We hope these data will inform the FERC relicensing process coming up in 2029.”

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Renske Kirkhofs Ed Friedman photo

Kerkhofs is an international student from Belgium. Currently a junior studying biology and Asian studies, she is participating in Bowdoin’s Marine Science Semester, and plans in the spring to go abroad to China. Renske is interested in marine ecology and animal rehabilitation, and after her spring stint with shad, on weekends she interns at the Maine Wildlife Park.

John Lichter Ed Friedman phoo

Lichter is a former director of Bowdoin’s Environmental Studies Program and spent 18 years studying the ecology and environmental history of Merrymeeting Bay with students and collaborators. Now retired, he focuses on native plant gardening and outdoor photography. His work can be seen at johnlichterphotos.net.

FOMB hosts its Winter Speaker Series October through May, the second Wednesday of each month. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the series continues via Zoom. FOMB’s Dec. 14 presentation, “Episode 1: Arrivals,” is to feature Natural History and Underwater Cinematographer Maurico Handler. This event takes place at 7 p.m. with the Zoom access link available at fomb.org about a week prior to the presentation.

Speaker series presentations are free and open to the public.

For more information, contact FOMB at 207-666-3372 or Friedman at [email protected].

 

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