Winter Speaker Series

2021 Zoom Speaker Series

Searching for Smelt:

Citizen Scientists & Maine's Sea Run Fishes...

Claire Enterline & Danielle Frechette

February 10, 2021 at 7:00 pm
Register Here for Zoom Presentation

Friends of Merrymeeting Bay’s (FOMB) second presentation of their 24th annual Winter Speaker Series, Searching for Smelt: Citizen Science & Maine’s Sea Run Fishes, features Claire Enterline and Danielle Frechette, research biologists with Maine’s Department of Marine Resources. This event, FOMB’s second ever virtual meeting presentation will be held via Zoom. The event takes place Wednesday February 10th at 7 pm.  Pre-register to receive a link to this Zoom meeting.

Just as serious cold bites Maine, and smelt camps finally hit the river ice, days are lengthening and it’s important to remember spring is just around the corner, and it’s not just mud season! Spring is when rainbow smelt swim up our coastal streams to lay their eggs. These silvery little fish are important ecologically, economically, and culturally but have been in decline since the mid to late twentieth century. Scientists and resource managers need more complete and up-to-date coast-wide information on smelt to sustainably manage them now and into the future. 

To help fill information gaps and reconnect citizens to this incredible natural resource, The Nature Conservancy (TNC), Gulf of Maine Research Institute (GMRI), Downeast Salmon Federation (DSF), and Maine Department of Marine Resources (DMR) are collaborating on a project to train and motivate interested volunteers across the state to pull on their muck boots and, help determine where rainbow smelt are spawning each year. Following up on surveys performed at streams state-wide in the 1950s, 70s, and 2000s, this current data collection effort is part of GMRI’s new Ecosystem Investigation Network, an online platform connecting and supporting a community of partner organizations and citizen scientists of all ages, investigating climate change impacts on species, communities, and habitats in the Gulf of Maine watershed. 

Join DMR biologists Claire Enterline and Danielle Frechette to learn more about these fascinating fish and how to join this exciting citizen science network!

Claire Enterline is Research Coordinator at DMR’s Maine Coastal Program. She provides technical leadership regarding sampling methodology, data analysis, and development of scientific papers, and also works with coastal managers at the local, state, regional, and federal level to translate scientific analysis into best management practices and management plans. From 2007-2015, Claire’s research focused on the abundance, population dynamics, habitat, and behavior of rainbow smelt. As part of this work, she was the lead author on the Regional Conservation Plan for Rainbow Smelt, and carried out the first smelt population assessments in Maine since the 1970s.

Danielle Frechette is a Marine Resource Scientist for DMR’s Division of Sea Run Fisheries and Habitat. She serves as the DMR liaison for a new citizen science effort tracking presence and absence of sea run fish in Maine’s coastal streams and rivers to inform restoration and management actions. Danielle is also lead biologist for the Salmon for Maine’s Rivers program, an exciting new endeavor designed to help jumpstart recovery for federally endangered Atlantic salmon in Maine. She is a salmon biologist by training and worked on endangered Coho salmon and threatened steelhead in California and Atlantic salmon in Quebec before landing at DMR in 2019.

FOMB normally hosts their Winter Speaker Series October-May, the second Wednesday of each month. Due to the Covid 19 pandemic, the current series is abridged and virtual, running January-May. The FOMB March 10th presentation, The Sonic Sea - Voices of the Deep” features an award-winning film on this issue followed by a presentation from Chris ClarkPh. D, senior scientist and researcher in the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior at Cornell University. This event takes place 7:00 pm with the Zoom access link available at a week or so prior to the presentation.  

Speaker Series presentations are free and open to the public. Visit to see speaker biographies, full event schedules, video recordings of past presentations, become a member, and learn more about how you can help protect beautiful Merrymeeting Bay.

For more information contact FOMB at 207-666-3372 or

Watercolors by
Sarah Stapler