Good News for the Penobscot River

Good News for the Penobscot River

The Bush administration has allocated $10 million to the Penobscot River Restoration Project to remove dams on Maine's Penobscot River that prevent Atlantic

The Bush administration has allocated $10 million to the Penobscot River Restoration Project to remove dams on Maine's Penobscot River that prevent Atlantic salmon migration. Specifically, the funds will be used to remove the Veazie and Great Works dams, and install a fish passage at the Howland dam, all of which will allow salmon to reach the important spawning habitat of the Piscataquis and Pleasant rivers. There will be little if any loss to hydropower generation as a result of the dam removals.

The importance of the Penobscot River ecosystem cannot be overstated: 90 percent of Atlantic salmon returning to New England rivers migrate into the Penobscot, and the dam removals will also benefit other migratory fish species. Work to restore Atlantic salmon runs to the Penobscot has been a decades-long effort and one with positive, if meager, results.

Fisheries scientists counted 1,000 returning salmon to the Penobscot in 2006, and as a result they opened an experimental month-long catch-and-release fishing season last fall--the first time in seven years that anglers were allowed to fish for salmon on the Penobscot. Total fish caught numbered in the low single digits…but, hey, there's always next year.

For more information visit tu.org or penobscotriver.org