Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) today announced two multi-year grants from the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) totaling $1,403,864 will be awarded to the Maine Department of Marine Resources and the Penobscot tribe’s Atlantic Salmon Management and Outreach Project. The funding will support the recovery of the endangered Atlantic salmon.
“Climate change, overfishing, and habitat impediments and degradation have critically threatened the future of Maine’s Atlantic salmon population. These fish are important to preserve Maine’s biodiversity and the health of our streams and rivers, and they’re incredibly important to the Penobscot tribe, who have fished salmon for tens of thousands of years,” said Pingree. “As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, I’ve pushed for increased funding for NOAA because their work will ensure endangered fish populations in Maine can survive into the future. I’m looking forward to seeing the results of this funding, which will improve the health of Atlantic salmon.”
Details of the projects are below:
Maine Department of Marine Resources Walton’s Mill Dam Removal Project
This project proposes to remove the only dam on Temple Stream, a tributary of the Sandy River located in the Kennebec River watershed in Maine’s western mountains. Removing this dam will restore access to 52.3 river miles and more than 2,247 units of spawning and rearing habitat for the critically endangered Atlantic salmon. Removal of the dam will eliminate a key threat to Atlantic salmon in the freshwater environment and address other habitat-related factors that are inhibiting the recovery of the species.
Maine Department of Marine Resources
This project will develop a novel captive rearing program that allows adult Atlantic salmon reared in captivity to spawn naturally in the wild. The approach will be developed over a multi-year trial period and guided by an adaptive management framework matched with recovery goals. This project would stimulate recovery by allowing marine reared salmon to spawn in large numbers in high quality habitats, producing large numbers of wild origin naturally reared offspring, and increasing public awareness of adult Atlantic salmon in the wild. Integration of public outreach strategies will build a stronger constituency for salmon recovery.
Penobscot Tribe Atlantic Salmon Management and Outreach Project
The overall goal of the project is to continue to increase the potential for the successful recovery of Atlantic salmon populations within the geographic area of the Gulf of Maine Distinct Population Segment. This will be accomplished through a series of activities of the Penobscot Indian Nation's Department of Natural Resources fisheries program in cooperation with ongoing Atlantic salmon management and restoration initiatives by federal, state, and non-governmental organization entities. The proposed activities include: participation in the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission process for major dams in the drainage, aquatic connectivity projects, aquatic connectivity projects to provide increased access to resilient, diverse, cold-water habitats in the face of climate change, active diadromous fish management on Tribal trust lands, coordination of recovery actions identified in the Recovery Plan for Atlantic salmon (2019) with other agencies, extensive public outreach with the Tribal and non-tribal communities, and active participation in the Atlantic salmon Collaborative Management Strategy recovery framework.