To some, a fish ladder sounds like some sort of TikTok or YouTube challenge to get your goldfish to climb up a ladder. To me, after my sixth grade unit on the Presumpscot River, a fish ladder sounds like a reasonable way for a fish to get around without being disrupted. Originally, before I knew much about fish ladders, I probably thought, hey, what’s the point in putting in more work when you could just tear the dam down? Well, that would be nice, except for the fact that some dams are an important source of power to their town, and that tearing a dam down would actually take a lot more time and effort. Some dams on the Presumpscot will probably be torn down soon.

An alewife swims through a wooden chute at the top of the Damariscotta Mills fish ladder, to the delight of spectators gathered June 5, 2005, in Nobleboro. This year there is no Alewife Festival, but a 5K walk/run and an Adam Ezra concert have been scheduled to celebrate the upstream journey of the sea-run fish. Robert F. Bukaty/Associated Press, File

Now that it’s the time of year that alewives go on their upstream journey to spawn, in Damariscotta Mills, fish ladders are even more important than before. There are countless fish that have to get up the river; this is where fish ladders come in handy. Fish can make it to the other side of the dam without getting hurt. Before the fish ladder in Damariscotta Mills, the fish’s way to the freshwater was blocked for almost a century. The fish ladder in Damariscotta Mills is the main attraction in the area. Unlike most other fish ladders, this one is made of stone, making it an even more popular attraction. Even though there will not be an Alewife Festival this year because there is a replacement footbridge being put in, there are still some events to mark the excitement of the alewives’ journeys. There will still be a silent auction, a 5K walk/run May 27 and an Adam Ezra concert May 28.

This concept connects to the tragedy of the commons. A lot of people probably don’t know what this is, I certainly didn’t at the beginning of this school year. Well, tragedy of the commons is what happens when people keep thinking about themselves and take and take a limited supply of something. If everyone is doing that same thing, then that limited supply will start to disappear. This could’ve happened if we didn’t have fish ladders. Fish would start to die because they needed to be somewhere else but couldn’t get there.

Think about it, if there is a dying fish population and a growing human population, more and more fishermen will be taking fish and then eventually, after a long time, fish would go extinct and the food chain would be affected. It’s just a cycle that goes on and on.

In conclusion, fish ladders are the best way to keep fish that live in rivers like the Presumpscot alive. Fish are creatures that the world has grown used to having, so we need to keep them well by watching what we throw away and helping our communities to put in fish ladders. When we live on a beautiful planet like Earth with such beautiful animals like fish, we know how important it is to take care of what we have. If we paid attention to making changes that will improve the world, we might just see some more beauty in it. We are all part of the community, no matter how young or how old, so we should be doing our part, no matter how big or how small.

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