WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King today announced that two Maine organizations will receive a total of $22,381,297 in funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to improve fish migration in Maine rivers. The Atlantic Salmon Federation and the Maine Department of Marine Resources will use this funding to remove two dams that are no longer in use and install fish ladders at two additional dams in the Penobscot and St. Croix Rivers, allowing the endangered Atlantic salmon, along with other fish species and wildlife, to move along migrations routes with ease.
“Allowing unimpeded fish migration along Maine’s rivers will help to preserve species that have long held cultural and economic significance to our state. Rivers like the St. Croix and the Penobscot – which is home to the largest Atlantic salmon run in the United States — have proven to be invaluable to the health of Maine’s environment and our tribal communities,” said Senators Collins and King. “This funding, along with the hard work of both the Atlantic Salmon Federation and the Maine Department of Marine Resources, will help strengthen Maine’s long conservation legacy and preserve sea-run habitats. We remain committed to protecting these species and look forward to our continued work with Maine organizations that dedicate themselves to protecting the culture and economy of our state.”
The funding will be allocated as follows:
The removal of the dams will reconnect more than 9,700 suitable habitat units towards the delisting criteria of 30,000 units for the Penobscot Basin Salmon Habitat Recovery Unit. Additionally, the projects will provide access to 600 miles for all migratory fish species and 60,000 acres of habitat for alewife. This is a top priority for the State of Maine and the Passamaquoddy people to significantly improve fish populations in the region.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is an agency within the Department of Commerce that manages fishing and works to protect marine mammals and endangered American species. This funding is part of a nationwide project, totaling $105 million for 36 fish passage projects, as well as $61 million in future funding under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.