Category Penobscot River & Bay

Holtrachem mercury – It’s still here.

The Department of Marine Resources has closed upper Penobscot Bay to fishing after a court-ordered study found elevated concentrations of mercury in crab and lobster. Mercury pollution comes from lots of places, but this particular part of the Penobscot is a hotspot of contamination thanks to Holtrachem, a now-closed plant that made chlorine and other […]

How did U.S. presidents eat their salmon?

For eighty years, recreational salmon anglers on the Penobscot River in Maine upheld the annual tradition of giving the first Atlantic salmon each spring to the President of the United States. A closer examination of how each president’s salmon would have been prepared and eaten reveals that the celebratory eating of salmon happened at the […]

Penobscot River Restoration Continues with Removal of Veazie Dam

Restoration of the mighty Penobscot River became one step closer to reality on July 22, when hundreds of people gathered on the river banks to watch as demolition crews began dismantling the Veazie Dam. I was there, too, and I wrote about it for Fishermen’s Voice newspaper and made a short video:

Sturgeon Moon Rising

In June 2006 I was in the boat with University of Maine researchers when they caught the second and third shortnose sturgeon in the Penobscot River estuary. It was the first sign of the persistence–or re-appearance–of a species thought to be extinct. My article about the science and history of sturgeon, Sturgeon Moon Rising (PDF), […]

Spring Tradition: Anglers Vied to Catch Penobscot’s Presidental Salmon

This article appeared in the Bangor Daily News on March 30, 2012.One hundred years ago, a local fly-fisherman decided to send an Atlantic salmon, the first one caught in the Penobscot River, to the president of the United States. This is the story of that fisherman, and the tradition he began, compiled from newspaper archives […]

Redemption for the sea lamprey

Sea lamprey have a bad reputation as a flesh-eating monsters, but the sea-run fish are are native to the Maine coast. University of Maine esearchers are finding that when it comes inland to spawn in late spring, this primitive, resilient fish actually does some good in Maine rivers, from cleaning out streambeds to playing architect […]

Welcome back, Alewives!

In May 2011, I rode a cargo ferry across Penobscot Bay to the island of North Haven with two Maine Department of Marine Resources tanker trucks filled with 2,500 fish. The fish were alewives, and they were a long time coming. A grassroots effort of year-round and seasonal residents was responsible for bringing the native […]