The Rainbow Smelt (Osmerus mordax) is a small (6-8 inch) anadromous fish found in rivers and coastal areas of Eastern North America from Labrador south to coastal Maine.
In 2004 the U.S. Government declared the Rainbow Smelt to be a species of special concern as both their historical range and populations have been greatly reduced....most likely from habitat loss, acid rain, global warming and commercial overfishing.
The Downeast Salmon Federation recently opened the world's only preserve dedicated to preserving the Rainbow Smelt.
With over 20 conservation properties in the watershed of several Downeast Maine rivers, a salmon hatchery and an Aquatic Research Center, the Downeast Salmon Federation is a local leader in efforts to preserve the Wild Atlantic Salmon and all species in the coastal Maine rivers and estuaries.
The Redmond Brook Preserve is located in Harrington, Maine, along a small smelt spawning brook which feeds into a pristine salt marsh on the Harrington River. Dedicated to the late Charlie Parker, a local science teacher and passionate conservationist, the preserve will be open for townsfolk to continue traditional "spring smelting" and to provide fish for DSF's annual fund raising "Smelt Fry."
This summer an international team of volunteers from the Acadian Internship for Regional Stewardship and Conservation worked on cleanup and trail building in the new preserve.
Old culverts were hauled out of the saltmarsh.
An access trail was built along Redmond Brook.
The international team: standing L to R, Daniel Walsh from Kilkenny, Ireland and the University of Galway. Petra Ziadeh from Ramalla, Palestine and Al-Quds University. Dan Sepp from New Egypt, New Jersey and Northeastern University. Kneeling L to R, Rob Rich, DSF staff. Tesfaye Woldie Belete from Ethiopia and the Master in Environmental Science program at Wageningen University, the Netherlands. Arielle Dehn from Massachsetts and The University of Maine at Machias.
How lucky I am that the Redmond Brook Preserve abuts out summer home....such a good neighbor is priceless.
It was a joy to work with such wonderful young folks helping to preserve the natural world on Downeast Maine. With their help and the ongoing efforts of the Downeast Salmon Federation, Downeast Maine is a conservation and preservation success story.