Frost Gully Brook
From its gurgling headwaters just west of Interstate 295, Frost Gully Brook meanders through woodlands and neighborhoods on its way to a junction with the Harraseeket River. The stream holds resident brook trout, as well as salter brook trout, in its lower reaches. Three long-defunct dams once used for water supply blocked salters from moving very far up the system, while also restricting the migration of stream-bred trout. With much of the creek located on public land, anglers are free to appreciate the beauty of small-stream brookie fishing.
In 2015, Trout Unlimited began a program to try to identify coastal streams with populations of salter brook trout. Using hook and line, volunteers found salters — brook trout that move between freshwater streams and coastal estuaries — in Frost Gully Brook and many other streams. With robust groundwater influences, chilly Frost Gully Brook is a restoration priority because of the likelihood of high resilience to warming water temperatures.
In the summer of 2023, after years of planning, crews removed three dams from the Frost Gully Brook system. Two were on the main brook; a third was on a small tributary. With the entire stream now flowing free, crews are removing non-native plant species and restoring the riparian corridor with native varieties. Trout Unlimited is monitoring how the stream’s trout and other residents respond to the expanded habitat.
Volunteers are assisting with the Frost Gully Brook recovery effort. They played a key role in survey efforts that helped identify Frost Gully Brook as a restoration priority, and that effort reinvigorated the local Merrymeeting Bay TU chapter. During the dam removal operation, volunteers assisted with capturing and moving trout, shiners, and American eels to other sections of Frost Gully Brook. They are assisting with ongoing monitoring of the stream.