Category Wild Life

Ice Age survivors: a tale of two land-locked fish

Maine lakes are home to two evolutionary wonders of the animal kingdom, Arctic char and landlocked salmon, related species of fish that exist in very few places. They descend from a common ancestor that lived millions of years ago. Evolution took them on diverging pathways during repeated ice ages. The char stayed farther north, swimming […]

The Secret Life of Eels

OTHER MIGRATORY FISH get more attention than the American eel. Salmon is the king of fish; the alewife, the fish that feeds all; shad, the founding fish. Sturgeon are dinosaurs; smelt, the ice shack fish. Yet, historically, the eel was more widespread and abundant than any of these in the northeast United States. The undeserved […]

The President’s Salmon in The Boston Globe

A preview of the forthcoming The President’s Salmon can be found in today’s Boston Globe Magazine. Politics, preservation, and salmon fishing: an annual rite of the Penobscot River sporting world brought a Maine angler and the year’s first Atlantic salmon to the president’s doorstep.

Maine’s Wild Oysters

Scientists are studying isolated oyster grounds in Maine’s Sheepscot River that may date back to the last ice age. Meanwhile, as the aquaculture industry has grown and coastal water temperatures have warmed, cultured oysters have begun to multiply on their own elsewhere, particularly in the brackish waters of the Damariscotta River. Both kinds of “wild” […]

On coyotes, deer…and human nature.

The essay, “The Coyote Gangs of Hope,” which appears in the Winter 2014 issue of 1966: A Journal of Creative Nonfiction, is set in Midcoast Maine in 2010-2011, when confrontations between coyote hunters and property owners prompted legislation to address trespass and hunting methodology. The ensuing debates brought up questions of class and land use […]

The Snowy Owls of Acadia

This article  appeared in the Winter 2012 issue of Friends of Acadia Journal. Winter in Acadia: bare limbs of beech and birch cast long shadows on the snow. Evergreens shimmer along shallow coves that sing with the ebb and flow of icy tides. Frozen summits shine like mirrors in the thin sunlight. It is the […]

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), […]

image of Narraguagus River

The Can Do Crew

In December 2011 Atlantic Salmon Journal asked me to report on activities of the Downeast Salmon Federation in eastern Maine, a grassroots organization that has overseen the restoration hopes for salmon and other sea-run fish since 1982, when local anglers banded together in order to pool resources and regain some political clout, which had been […]

sardine comic book cover

Long May They Run

Just a few months into 2010, the Year of the Sardine, news came that the Stinson Seafood plant in Prospect Harbor—the last sardine cannery in the United States—was closing. The sardine song became a requiem; the herring hymn an elegy that carried across the continent, across the Atlantic, and up Penobscot Bay, where I heard […]

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 […]