Event Title

Session C3: Running with Renewal: Reflections on Renewing the Sea-Run Fisheries of Maine's Largest River - The Penobscot - While Maintaining Energy Production

Location

Groningen, The Netherlands

Event Website

http://fishpassage.umass.edu/

Start Date

22-6-2015 4:00 PM

End Date

22-6-2015 4:15 PM

Description

Abstract:

Dams have impeded fish on Maine’s Penobscot River for centuries, blocking connections between inland waters and the sea; people and the river. Populations of sea-run fish, once measured in millions, plummeted to fractions of their historic counts. In 2004, an innovative agreement between the Penobscot Indian Nation, a hydropower company, conservation groups, and resource agencies resolved decades of conflict over fisheries and hydropower. The Penobscot River Restoration Project, a collaborative initiative to restore selfsustaining populations of sea-run fish, charted a whole-system approach endeavoring strategic removal of multiple barriers while rebalancing hydropower. The Penobscot River Restoration Trust, a nonprofit established to work with Project partners to fulfill restoration goals, acquired and decommissioned three large mainstream dams in order to remove the two lower-most (completed in 2012 and 2013) and build a nature-like channel around one further upstream (underway). Widely acclaimed as a model for cooperative conservation, the Project provides 11 species of native fishes with significantly improved access to critical habitat within nearly 1,000 miles (1609 km) of watershed. Targeted species include endangered Atlantic salmon, endangered short-nose and Atlantic sturgeons, American shad, river herring and American eel. Terrestrial and avian wildlife will also benefit from this “refueled” system. By reestablishing connections between inland waters and the sea, the Project promises renewed ecological functions, cultural interactions, and economic activities throughout the watershed and entire Gulf of Maine. Project effects are already being realized. In 2014, nearly 400,000 river herring passed the former Veazie dam; 800 shad were counted, a 100-fold increase from pre-Project counts. The Penobscot Nation will be hosting three years of national canoe racing. This presentation will inform watershed managers, resource specialist, and restoration interests by sharing creative steps taken to balance energy production with ecological and community values through a review of Project accomplishments and initial monitoring.

Comments

Presenting Author Bio: George P. Aponte Clarke is Deputy Director Penobscot River Restoration Trust. George holds an MS from University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment in Environmental Policy with a focus on technical and policy matters concerning water resources and watershed management. George has been working on the Penobscot River Restoration Project since 2003 where he performs a variety of project management and administrative tasks, most recently coordinating technical aspects of the Great Works and Veazie dam removals and Howland bypass construction. His more than twenty years of professional experience also include work as a policy analyst on stormwater and land use issues for the Natural Resources Defense Council, technical expert on watershed management issues for the Great Lakes Commission, and as a consulting field geologist. George spends his “play-time” with water as much as possible, in both its liquid and frozen (preferred) forms.

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Jun 22nd, 4:00 PM Jun 22nd, 4:15 PM

Session C3: Running with Renewal: Reflections on Renewing the Sea-Run Fisheries of Maine's Largest River - The Penobscot - While Maintaining Energy Production

Groningen, The Netherlands

Abstract:

Dams have impeded fish on Maine’s Penobscot River for centuries, blocking connections between inland waters and the sea; people and the river. Populations of sea-run fish, once measured in millions, plummeted to fractions of their historic counts. In 2004, an innovative agreement between the Penobscot Indian Nation, a hydropower company, conservation groups, and resource agencies resolved decades of conflict over fisheries and hydropower. The Penobscot River Restoration Project, a collaborative initiative to restore selfsustaining populations of sea-run fish, charted a whole-system approach endeavoring strategic removal of multiple barriers while rebalancing hydropower. The Penobscot River Restoration Trust, a nonprofit established to work with Project partners to fulfill restoration goals, acquired and decommissioned three large mainstream dams in order to remove the two lower-most (completed in 2012 and 2013) and build a nature-like channel around one further upstream (underway). Widely acclaimed as a model for cooperative conservation, the Project provides 11 species of native fishes with significantly improved access to critical habitat within nearly 1,000 miles (1609 km) of watershed. Targeted species include endangered Atlantic salmon, endangered short-nose and Atlantic sturgeons, American shad, river herring and American eel. Terrestrial and avian wildlife will also benefit from this “refueled” system. By reestablishing connections between inland waters and the sea, the Project promises renewed ecological functions, cultural interactions, and economic activities throughout the watershed and entire Gulf of Maine. Project effects are already being realized. In 2014, nearly 400,000 river herring passed the former Veazie dam; 800 shad were counted, a 100-fold increase from pre-Project counts. The Penobscot Nation will be hosting three years of national canoe racing. This presentation will inform watershed managers, resource specialist, and restoration interests by sharing creative steps taken to balance energy production with ecological and community values through a review of Project accomplishments and initial monitoring.

https://scholarworks.umass.edu/fishpassage_conference/2015/June22/76