Collins, King announce more than $1.5M for Atlantic Salmon habitat restoration projects

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine and Angus King, I-Maine announced that four conservation organizations will receive a total of $1,569,333 to restore habitats for coastal and marine species in Maine, help support our nation’s fisheries, contribute to the recovery of threatened and endangered species, and build resilient coastal ecosystems and communities. The funding was awarded through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The Nature Conservancy received $570,000 to complete the final designs to remove the Guilford Dam and restore the adjacent floodplain, which will reconnect habitat for Atlantic salmon in the Piscataquis River watershed. The Nature Conservancy will also restore access to high-quality habitat by improving fish passage at three high-priority road crossings over streams.

“We welcome this funding, which will help to conserve and restore marine habitats and ecosystems for endangered Atlantic Salmon in waterways across Maine,” said Collins and King in a joint statement. “In addition to making substantial ecological improvements, these projects will also produce significant benefits to private landowners and local communities, improve public safety, enhance opportunities for recreational and commercial fisheries, and create jobs in rural areas of the state.”

The funding was also allocated as follows:

Project SHARE received $444,237 to replace undersized culverts at 13 sites, connecting habitat for Atlantic salmon across multiple watersheds. Project SHARE will also conduct fish passage feasibility studies at the Great Works Dam and Marion Falls fishway, as well as perform freshwater habitat restoration work in the Narraguagus River watershed.

The Atlantic Salmon Federation received $401,514 to implement five projects to restore access to Atlantic salmon spawning and rearing habitats in the Kennebec River watershed. They will also conduct a fish passage feasibility study at the Chesterville Wildlife Management Area Dam on Little Norridgewock Stream.

The Downeast Salmon Federation received $153,582 to support fish passage feasibility studies at the Cherryfield Ice Control Dam on the Narraguagus River and the Gardner Lake Dam on the East Machias River. These studies will support future habitat restoration in these areas. Funding will also support fish passage improvements at the Gardner Lake Dam.

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