Hopes for a Fish Revival as a Dam Is Demolished

Posted by Gaby T, August 9, 2013

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EDDINGTON, Me. — There is a bend in the Penobscot River here, embanked by an Indian burial ground, through which millions of fish used to make a strenuous journey upstream to spawn before returning to the sea. There were elegant Atlantic salmon, prehistoric-looking sturgeon and, most numerous of all, lowly river herring, a nutrient-rich forage fish prized by ground fish, bears and birds.

But over the centuries, dams on the river and pollution from paper mills have helped wither the sea runs. Atlantic salmon here are endangered now. Over time, the number of river herring running up the river dropped from as many as 20 million, according to some historical estimates, to an all-time low of 54 — that is 54 individual fish — counted at the Veazie Dam here in 2012.

So it was a relief for scores of conservationists, government officials and anglers when two pieces of construction equipment methodically began dismantling the Veazie Dam this week. It is a decade-long, $60 million effort that, in combination with two other major river restoration projects on the Penobscot, will give 11 species of fish, including river herring and Atlantic salmon, better access to 1,000 miles of spawning habitat for the first time in two centuries.

via July 25 News: Hopes for a Fish Revival as a Dam Is Demolished | New York Times

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