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Senator George J. Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions

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SEMINAR: Fish, Dams and Resilience: Dam(ned) tradeoffs between nature and technology

November 16, 2015 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

| Free

SPEAKER: Karen Wilson, University of Southern Maine

* See below a list of suggested readings to accompany this seminar.

Alewife are small prey fish that spawn in lakes but spend much of their lives in the marine environment and are the subject of restoration efforts throughout Maine. Many alewife today access their spawning habitat through small dams that maintain lake water levels or produce hydropower. These dams can significantly impede access to spawning habitat, expose alewife to predators and prevent many from spawning. At the same time these dams provide convenient points at which to monitor populations and harvest alewife for bait. Some dams increase the area available for spawning or even create spawning habitat where no habitat existed in the past. In this talk I will discuss the tradeoffs associated with dams and alewife, and how the choices we make regarding dam management may impact the future resilience of these species and the freshwater and marine ecosystems in which they play an important role.

Dr. Karen Wilson has a M.S. and Ph.D. in Limnology/Zoology from the University of Wisconsin – Madison.  She is an associate research professor in the Department of Environmental Science and Policy at the University of Southern Maine where she teaches courses that emphasize aquatic ecology, water quality and hands-on active learning.  Dr. Wilson’s primary research focus is on the ecology and social-ecological interconnections of marine-freshwater linkages as typified by alewife, anadromous fish with a strong presence in Maine and a long history of interactions with Maine’s people and ecology.

Suggested Readings:

  • Brierley, Gary J. and Kirstie A. Fryirs (Eds.). River Futures. 2008.
  • Kurlansky, Mark. Cod. 1997.
  • McPhee, John. The Founding Fish. 2002.
  • Waldman, John. Running Silver: Restoring Atlantic Rivers and Their Great River Migrations. 2013.
  • Watts, Doug. Alewife. 2012.


November 16, 2015
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Event Category:


202 Winslow Hall
Mitchell Center - UMaine
Orono, ME 04469 United States
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Mitchell Center
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