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Bristol Mills fish ladder opens

The fish ladder is designed to help alewives and other species travel upriver to spawn in lakes and ponds

BRISTOL, Maine — After ten years of meetings, plans, fundraising, and finally, construction, people in Bristol had something to cheer about on Sunday. 

With the gate opened, the Pemaquid River began to flow through the town’s new fish ladder, designed to help alewives and other species get more easily upriver to spawn in lakes and ponds.

Chad Hanna, the town first selectman was ready to get the water flowing.

"Just going to say this has been, to this point a great community effort. Just too many people to thank, too much hard work this afternoon. So, we're going to get right to it," Hanna said.

Biologists say they believe the new ladder will allow a lot more fish to get past the dam, and eventually, there may be enough to allow some to be harvested for lobster bait.

The first phase of the project cost about $500,000, all of it from donations and town taxpayers.

Credit: NCM

The second phase will start this fall when the exposed parts of the ladder will be capped with stone, and a footbridge built to safely cross over the dam.

The town is planning to build a park around the fish ladder once the stonework is complete.

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