STREAM CONECTIVITY PROJECT –FROST GULLY
Working with information provided by the Coastal Stream Survey Project, a collaborative effort by TroutUnlimited, Maine Audubon, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and the Sea Run Brook TroutCoalition of Newburyport MA, the Merrymeeting Bay Chapter of TU has identified 3 locations where healthy sea run brook trout (salters) are most probably present in our region.
Of these locations the group ultimately has settled on a stream connectivity project on a promising 3.2-mile brook, Frost Gully Brook, located in Freeport, Maine, a town comprised of mixed residential, retail, but predominantly forested habitat. The stream appears to hold salters in its lower, tidal reaches; however, 3 dams restrict migration to and possible spawning in its upper, fresh water reaches.
Working closely with Jeff Reardon, TU Brook Trout Specialist, chapter members and volunteers have surveyed the stream, located and assessed the manmade barriers, gathered seasonal water temperature data, conducted community outreach and begun to raise funds for removal of the first dam which blocks sea run brook trout, up-river migration.
MMBTU continues to develop resources for the initiation and management of the project’s first phase, originally scheduled for the spring / summer of 2020. Our plans are on hold due to the COVID 19 virus
Burr and Fire pond damn removal walk
27 October 2019
The group assembled at the Burr Cemetery just off Rt 136 in Freeport. Jeff Reardon gave the group an overview of the damn removal project, the tributaries of the ponds and the hydrology of the area that supports the cold water and Brook Trout population of the area. We then proceeded down the Freeport Land trust trails to the subject ponds. Along the way we viewed the small tributaries that feed Fire pond and Frost Gulley Brook. Jeff made a point of discussing the drainage and headwaters that feed Frost Gulley Brook as we made our way to the Burr Pond. This impoundment was made by damming Frost Gulley just to the west of Interstate 295.
This past Summer the sluice valve was opened on the damn and the pond has been drained down to allow the brook to find its original path to the outlet of the damn. Jeff discussed the timeline for the damn removal process and the probable method the contractor would use to breach the damn and allow the brook to be free flowing under Interstate 295.
We discussed future chapter projects involving the planting and maintaining native trees and plants to afford shade to the water as well as block out invasive species from taking hold. This project would span several years as establishing this planting is labor intensive to combat dear foraging and the pervasive nature of invasive plants.
We then made a short walk to Fire Pond and Damn and spoke at length of the trout population that inhabits this small but cold impoundment. The damn breaching method and timeline was laid out to be coincident or after the breaching of Burr Pond. Jeff made a foray up stream to look for signs of spawning fish or redds in the tributary and reported marginal activity.
The group then made their way back via trails to the parking area to beat the oncoming rain.
TU National Conservation Goals
MMBTU plans to assist US Fish & Wild Life with insertion of temperature monitors in some of our area streams. Ecosheds.org
We are currently looking at Montsweag Brook in Woolwich & Wiscasset as a chapter project for restoration of cold water fishing habitat partnering with Chewonki & the Wiscasset Conservation.
Salter Survey, MMBTU is partnering with Maine Audubon to survey streams that flow into the salt water for sea running brook trout along the Maine coast. Join Emily Bastin and our own Randy Clark and crew for a survey downeast or one of many local streams. Timing is usually late April early May.