The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife’s recent restoration of Big Reed Pond has been highlighted as a success story by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife.

The USFW recognized three sport fish projects from 14 Northeast states as part of its Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program, which celebrated its 75th anniversary last year.

Big Reed Pond (BRP) is a 90-acre pond located in T8 R10 WELS, an unorganized township 45 miles southwest of Ashland, Maine. The importance of BRP lies in its native population of Arctic char, a species found only in 14 waters in the lower 48 states, all of which are in Maine. In 1991, fisheries biologists found illegally introduced rainbow smelt competing with char in BRP and as a result the char population was quickly in peril.

In 2010, MDIF&W fisheries biologists applied 6.1 tons of liquid and powder rotenone to BRP and its tributaries after collecting native char and brook trout and transporting them to a private fish hatchery for safe keeping.

The native fish collected from BRP were artificially spawned and their offspring were used to first restock the pond in June 2011. IF&W continues to produce fish from the BRP genetic stock for restocking efforts. Today, biologists continue to monitor the pond and assess whether trout and char will successfully reproduce and support self-sustaining populations.

This project was made possible by The Nature Conservancy, The Bradford Camps, Mountain Springs Trout Farm, Presque Isle High School Aquaculture Facility, Maine Army Aviation Support, Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund, University of Maine, and several private donors.

To see a video of the BRP reclamation visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rh0VudWLeaw&feature=youtu.be or for more information visit our website mefishwildlife.com. Also look for the story of BRP in the 75th anniversary book being published by USFWS.

Logo courtesy Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife

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