The Atlantic Salmon Federation (ASF) is pleased to receive $174,000 for the conservation organizations Maine Headwaters Project from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries Center. The funds are being used to build two fishways on tributary streams as well as replacing two impassable road crossing culverts with fish-friendly bridges. Together, these projects are providing access to 5,400 lake acres and 69 river miles for Atlantic salmon and river herring such as alewives and blueback herring.

ASF is also proud to be a partner in an additional NOAA Fisheries grant towards restoration of the Penobscot River in the amount of $365,000. This will fund further removal of the Veazie Dam and environmental monitoring of the river. The Penobscot River Restoration Trust has raised $60 million to purchase and remove the Veazie and Great Works dams on the lower section of the Penobscot River and circumvent a third dam, the Howland. This project greatly improves access to more than 1,000 miles of habitat for wild Atlantic salmon and other sea-run fish. NOAA has already invested roughly $21 million towards this multi-year project to open up the main stem of the Penobscot River.

These NOAA grants are part of more than $6 million in funding for habitat restoration projects in Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, and Virginia to restore more than 11,000 acres of habitat, and open more than 200 stream miles for fish passage. Increasingly, federal and state resource agencies in Maine have placed a higher priority on sh passage and today the majority of ASFs projects have a team approach involving multiple agencies and partners like NOAA Fisheries.

In the United States, Atlantic salmon have been reduced from an estimated historic population of 500,000 adults to fewer than 1,500 in recent years. ASF is working diligently to increase Maines wild salmon population.

With this generous grant, we will be able to further open up access to critical habitat in Maines salmon watersheds, said Andrew Goode, Vice President of ASFs U.S. programs.

In the past decade, ASFs Maine Headwaters Project has opened up access to 291 miles of streams for salmon and other migratory fish and has restored full access to 15,000 acres of pond and lake spawning habitat for alewives. This NOAA grant has helped to leverage more than $600,000 in public and private funding, raised by ASF, to complete these most recent fish passage projects, said Goode.

Some of ASFs most recent Maine Headwaters Projects include:

  • 2013 Coleman Pond Fishway, Ducktrap River
  • 2013 Pokey Dam Fishway, East Machias River
  • 2013 Davis Pond Fishway, Penobscot River Watershed
  • 2012-13 East Branch Culvert Replacements Phase 1&2, Penobscot River watershed
  • 2012 Pushaw Lake Fishway, Penobscot River watershed
  • 2012 Mattamiscontis Fishway, Penobscot River watershed

ASFs approach is to work collaboratively with willing dam owners and land stewards to craft a solution that ts their needs, while allowing for restoration of Atlantic salmon and other migratory sh, said Goode. This work often starts with community outreach and education, followed by conceptual and nal engineering designs, permitting, construction and post-project monitoring. On average these projects take 2-3 years to complete at a cost of $50,000 to $350,000.

Logo courtesy Atlantic Salmon Federation

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