Why We Do Restoration
Conserving the most important habitat in rivers and streams, removing barriers to fish passage and eradicating invasive species are examples of restoration activities that can dramatically improve the long-term viability and productivity of wild Atlantic salmon populations and their environment. ASF is involved in restoration projects throughout Maine, Quebec, and Atlantic Canada. We always work closely with Indigenous organizations, local communities, government agencies, volunteers, and NGOs to tackle the most pressing problems.
Since 2000, we have removed over 40 barriers to fish passage, opening hundreds of miles of freshwater habitat. Wild Atlantic salmon and other migratory fish are making a historic comeback in rejuvenated ecosystems. These results prove that reconnecting headwater streams and rivers to the ocean offers the best chance for restoring Maine’s 12 species of sea-run fish to abundance.
Through the Maine Headwaters Project, ASF works statewide in the Penobscot, Kennebec, and Downeast regions where nearly 90 per cent of the historic habitat accessible to sea-run fish has been obstructed by dams and culverts. See the map of completed and current projects below.
Walton’s Mills Dam
The only dam on Temple stream, a cold-water tributary to the Sandy River in the Kennebec watershed was fully removed in 2022. Now, Atlantic salmon, American eel, and Eastern brook trout are re-connected with over 52 miles of high-quality spawning and rearing habitat.
Branch Pond Outlet Dam
Construction of a technical fishway at the Branch Pond Outlet Dam on the Sheepscot River is underway for 2023. The project will provide access to the 325-acre pond for several species of migratory fish, including the southernmost genetically unique population of Atlantic salmon in North America.
Baskahegan Lake Dam
In the upper Penobscot watershed, construction of technical fishway at the Baskahegan Lake Dam is underway in 2023. The structure will restore migratory fish access to 137 stream miles and nearly 9,000 lake acres, making it the largest, single river rehabilitation project along the Atlantic coast. The project will deliver crucial ecosystem enhancements for Atlantic salmon by restoring river herring, a co-evolved fish species and important buffer for salmon survival.
In the face of a warming climate, the enrichment of cold water refugia has become a top priority for ASF. With its partners, ASF has launched a $1 million program to enhance 11 sites on the Miramichi River from 2020 to 2023. The work will improve climate resiliency in critical juvenile and adult salmon habitat.
Nova Scotia and P.E.I.
Restoration activities are being spearheaded by groups such as our regional council, the Nova Scotia Salmon Association, and other affiliated watershed organizations. ASF is involved in these restoration activities as a partner and supporter, providing advice and guidance where needed.
Updates coming soon.
Newfoundland and Labrador
Updates coming soon.