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Collins, King Announce Nearly $1.2 Million for Atlantic Salmon Habitat Restoration in Maine

Washington, D.C. – Today, Senators Susan Collins and Angus King announced that four Maine organizations will receive a combined total of $1,196,000 from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Marine Fisheries Service to help restore habitats for endangered Atlantic salmon in Maine.  Maine is home to the only remaining populations of wild Atlantic salmon, a species listed as endangered since 2000 due to threats from dams, pollution, and historic overfishing.

“The health of our natural habitats is critical to the survival of species like the Atlantic salmon,” said Senators Collins and King. “These investments will support the protection and restoration of our existing, native Maine salmon habitats. The funding will also support efforts to reverse the habitat degradation that has contributed to the declining Atlantic salmon population in Maine’s watersheds."

The funding is allocated as follows:

  1. Atlantic Salmon Federation - $50,000 to implement five projects aimed at restoring access to Atlantic salmon spawning and rearing habitats in the Kennebec River watershed; and to conduct a fish passage feasibility study at the Chesterville Wildlife Management Area Dam.
  2. Project SHARE - $264,000 to replace undersized culverts at 13 sites across the Dennys, Machias, Pleasant, Union, and Narraguagus River watersheds; to restore freshwater habitats in the Narraguagus River watershed; and to conduct fish passage feasibility studies at the Great Works Dam and at Marion Falls fishway.
  3. Downeast Salmon Federation - $277,000 to support fish passage improvements at the Gardner Lake Dam; to conduct fish passage feasibility studies at the Cherryfield Ice Control Dam on the Narraguagus River, and the Gardner Lake Dam on the East Machias River; and to support future habitat restoration in those watersheds.
  4. The Nature Conservancy - $605,000 to complete the final designs to remove Guilford Dam and restore the adjacent floodplain; and to improve fish passage at three high-priority road crossings over streams in the Piscataquis River watershed.

Habitat degradation is one of the largest obstacles to recovering endangered species like Atlantic salmon. Efforts funded through these partnerships will target priority habitat restoration actions determined by NOAA Fisheries to be necessary for Atlantic salmon recovery.

Senators Collins and King have been consistently supporting Atlantic salmon habitats in Maine. They previously secured $1.5 million for Atlantic Salmon Habitat restoration projects and more than $7.5 million in federal funding to restore fish access to migratory and spawning habitats within the traditional Passamaquoddy homeland. They also secured more than $22 million to remove dams and install fish ladders 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.


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