June 15, 2010
International St. Croix River Watershed Board releases Draft Plan for Restoring Alewife.
"An Adaptive Management Plan for Alewife in the St. Croix River" was released today for a 60-day public comment period. The plan's purpose is to restore the sea-run (anadromous) alewife, a native fish species, to the St. Croix River basin.
In 1995, Maine state law closed passage of alewife in the St. Croix River at all but the most downstream dam (Milltown). That law was amended in 2008 to reopen the next dam upstream (Woodland), but alewife can still only access 2 percent of their native habitat in the basin.
The St. Croix Fisheries Steering Committee drafted the plan at the request of the International Joint Commission's (IJC) International St. Croix River Watershed Board (the Board). In recognition of the importance of the smallmouth bass sport fishery, which has become economically important in the basin in the last century, the plan takes a precautionary approach to alewife restoration to ensure that a healthy bass fishery is maintained at current or higher levels.
The Board will consult with stakeholders in the basin on the draft plan and invites the public to attend its August 4,2010 Annual Public Meeting to hear more about the plan and to provide an opportunity to ask questions and make comments. The meeting will be held at Princeton Elementary School, Princeton, Maine, starting at 6 p.m. Eastern, 7 p.m. Atlantic. The comment period will remain open until Monday, August 16, 2010. Following its consideration of the public comments, the Board will determine what advice to provide to the IJC.
The full draft plan and background information is available at: http://www.ijc.org/rel/st-croix-alewife
The alewife must swim upstream to spawn and are vital to the food webs and nutrient cycles of marine, freshwater and land habitats in the basin. As bait, they help support coastal fisheries and lobstering. Fossil evidence shows alewife were present in the basin from prehistoric times.
IJC's mandate under the Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909 is to prevent and resolve disputes over the use of waters shared by Canada and the United States. The IJC takes a collaborative approach and works to build consensus on solutions that are in the best interests of the people and the watershed. The IJC works very closely with its International St. Croix River Watershed Board on all issues in the basin.
Canadian Secretary (Acting)
International St. Croix River Watershed Board
c/o Environment Canada
16th floor Queen Square, 45 Alderney Drive
Dartmouth, NS B2Y 2N6
US Army Corps of Engineers
New England District
696 Virginia Road
Concord, MA 01742