WASHINGTON, DC — 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. Funding was awarded through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The Nature Conservancy was awarded $570,000 to complete final designs to remove Guilford Dam and restore the adjacent floodplain, which will reconnect Atlantic salmon habitat to the Piscataquis River Basin. 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 conserve and restore habitats and marine ecosystems for endangered Atlantic salmon in Maine’s waterways,” Collins and King said in a joint statement. “In addition to making substantial ecological improvements, these projects will also produce significant benefits for private landowners and local communities, improve public safety, enhance opportunities for recreational and commercial fishing, and create jobs in rural areas of the ‘status’.
Funding was also distributed as follows:
Project SHARE received $444,237 to replace undersized culverts at 13 sites, connecting Atlantic salmon habitat across multiple watersheds. The SHARE project will also conduct fish passage feasibility studies at Great Works Dam and the Marion Falls Fishway, as well as freshwater habitat restoration work in the Narraguagus River Basin.
The Atlantic Salmon Federation was awarded $401,514 to implement five projects to restore access to spawning and nursery habitat for Atlantic salmon 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 Cherryfield Ice Check Dam on the Narraguagus River and Lake Gardner Dam on the East Machias River. These studies will support future habitat restoration in these areas. The funding will also support fish passage improvements at Lake Gardner Dam.