NRCM is proud to be a founding member of the Penobscot River Restoration Project and current member of the Penobscot River Restoration Trust. The Trust is working to restore magnificent runs of salmon, shad, and other sea-run fish to the Penobscot River, the largest river in Maine. The Trust removed two dams that have blocked fish migrations for more than a century—the Great Works Dam and the Veazie Dam, and constructed an innovative, river-like bypass around the third dam on the river at Howland. Fish are using this bypass to access nearly 1,000 miles of historic habitat.
Reopening the river to the sea will greatly increase numbers of sea-run fish. This will help the Penobscot Indian Nation pursue its treaty rights to sustenance fishing and boost populations of many wildlife species, such as eagles, osprey, mink, and otter. Restoring historic sea-run fish is also critical to bringing back halibut, cod, and other groundfish to the Gulf of Maine because groundfish eat sea-run fish. Reinvigorated populations of sea-run fish, along with smarter groundfish management, could restore a thriving fishing industry that Maine has nearly lost.
NRCM is very proud of the Penobscot River Restoration Trust’s success. We are grateful to its hard-working staff and its other member organizations: the Penobscot Indian Nation, American Rivers, the Atlantic Salmon Federation, Maine Audubon, Trout Unlimited, and The Nature Conservancy.
The Penobscot River has worked hard for Maine people for hundreds of years. Now we need to take care of the river. NRCM’s membership in the Penobscot River Restoration Trust is one more example of our commitment to protecting and restoring Maine’s environment, now and for future generations.