Independent Film Tells Story of Maine’s First Watershed Fully Restored for Fish Passage

[HANCOCK COUNTY, ME, June 14, 2022] – This spring, alewife filled rivers, streams, and ponds of the Bagaduce River Watershed in numbers we haven’t seen in decades. This is thanks to a five-year-long collaboration among many organizations to reopen passage to this important fish species.

“Alewife are what we call a foundation species. Basically, everything eats alewife—such as otters, eagles, other fish in the ocean, and people, too. When these rivers are working the way they’re supposed to and alewife can successfully make their annual pilgrimage upstream to spawn, we all benefit,” says Maine Coast Heritage Trust Senior Project Manager Ciona Ulbrich.

Many partners, including the Center for Maine Coastal Fisheries (MCCF), the Penobscot Alewife Committee, Maine Coast Heritage Trust (MCHT), and other partners, including (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and The Nature Conservancy in Maine, worked on numerous projects resulting in the installation of five nature-like fishways in the Bagaduce River Watershed, making it possible for thousands more alewives to complete their life cycle while creating outdoor recreational and educational opportunities for people to enjoy at sites along the watershed.

The first successful full restoration of a Maine river for fish passage is now receiving national attention—and a 40-minute movie created by Tate Yoder, Media Specialist at Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries, is helping to get the word out. The film will appear in film festivals throughout the remainder of the year, including the Maine Outdoor Film Festival.

This movie, called, “A Watershed Moment: A Story about People, Fish, and the Water that Connects Them,” first premiered on May 21, World Fish Migration Day, before a crowd of over 70 at the Penobscot Community School. Now it’s making its way to other venues across the state, including the Stonington Opera House on Thursday, June 23 at 7:00 p.m. and the Blue Hill Library on Thursday, July 28 at 6:00 p.m. The events are free and open to the public, and Q&As featuring people involved in the project will follow the screenings.

With funding and other support from MCCF and MCHT, Yoder began documenting the project in 2020. As much as it is about fish, this film is about the different people and organizations that came to make this happen—and how critical each person and perspective was to the overall success.

“The key part of this film project was interweaving those perspectives and voices throughout the film. There are numerous interests in these restoration and collaborative management efforts, and finding overlaps and connections between those interests was critical,” says Yoder.

MCCF’s Collaborative Management Specialist Mike Thalhauser shares, “The grassroots work that has happened on the Bagaduce truly is restoration done the right way…. From the bottom up, with local communities and fishermen taking the lead and community partner organizations adding capacity and work where they fit in. This was really an all-hands effort that is an example for any kind of restoration work going on anywhere and MCCF was proud to play a role.”


About Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries
MCCF, located on Stonington’s working waterfront, is working to secure a diversified fishing future by connecting fishermen, scientists, regulators, and others through collaborative research, education, and management. Our innovative and collaborative approach allows us to make sure, that we can keep fishing alive for today and for tomorrow’s fishery stewards. To learn more, visit

About Maine Coast Heritage Trust
MCHT is a dynamic, multifaceted organization with initiatives ranging from preserving coastal access for communities to high impact ecological work focused on reconnecting waterways and improving coastal resiliency to climate change. A leader in Maine’s nationally renowned land conservation efforts since 1970, MCHT maintains a growing network of almost 150 coastal and island preserves free and open to everyone and leads the 80-member Maine Land Trust Network to ensure that land conservation provides benefits to all Maine communities. Get involved at

Mike Thalhauser, Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries, 207.367.2708,
Ciona Ulbrich, Maine Coast Heritage Trust, 207.801.4058,