Report: Veazie Dam Ceremony, Celebration and Breaching
Friday, July 26th, 2013
Maine Audubon is proud to be part of the Penobscot River Restoration Trust and this unprecedented project for the people and wildlife of Maine. Our long history of work to conserve Maine’s wildlife and wildlife habitat includes extensive efforts to keep the state’s major rivers open for travel – for fish, wildlife, and people. In the Bangor area particularly, Maine Audubon’s Penobscot Valley Chapter has long advocated to protect the ecology of the Penobscot River and watershed and has played a key role in helping build support for this project.
We support the Penobscot Project because it provides an incredible national example of large-scale watershed-based collaboration and conservation. Maine Audubon is also especially committed to the Penobscot Project because it provides new and exciting opportunities to foster a better understanding of the broad benefits of river restoration to birds as well as to sea-run fish and other wildlife. Birds such as the Barrow’s goldeneye, belted kingfisher, osprey, and bald eagle are likely to benefit directly from an increased fish population in the river, and wintering and juvenile common loons that eat marine fish may also benefit.
In the spring of 2011, IF&W biologist Charlie Todd documented the largest eagle aggregation in Maine in recent times and the highest breeding density of ospreys anywhere in Maine along the Sebasticook River. Mr. Todd attributed this to the large alewife run that was restored following the removal of the Edwards Dam in 1999. The potential benefits are even larger on the Penobscot once we remove the Veazie Dam and complete the fishways upriver and on tributaries, such as the Pushaw Lake Fishway.
Ecological benefits will be broad:
New wetland habitat along the riverbanks
Possible expansion of rare mussels as they catch a ride upstream on returning Atlantic salmon and alewives
More kingfishers, river otters, osprey, and bald eagles feeding on burgeoning fish populations
More waterfowl feeding in the open riffles during winter
Opportunities for people to observe and enjoy this wildlife while strolling along the riverbank, picnicking at a riverside park, fishing, or paddling will be greatly expanded. A similar revival on the Kennebec has occurred since the removal of the Edwards Dam, including millions of river herring and a recognized run of American shad, an important and valuable sport fish.
We would like to thank all those who have made this day possible.
View this special report from Maine Audubon board member, Bob Duchesne:
MPBN’s Maine Watch – “Fish Passages”
Monday, April 29th, 2013
As the last of our spring Stream-Smart workshops wrapped up this week two directors from Keeping Maine's Forests, Tom Rumpf of The Nature Conservancy, and Patrick Strauch of the Maine Forest Products Council discussed efforts to replace existing culverts with those more amenable to fish passage on MPBN's Maine Watch.
The Stream Smart program is designed for professionals who are responsible for road - stream crossings and helps promote better designs for stream crossings that protect roads, safety and habitat.
The results of Maine Audubon and The Nature Conservancy, Maine’s survey of stream crossings on Northern Maine roads are in and they’re very concerning.
With nearly 1,000 stream crossings reviewed, the survey found that about 40% of stream crossings in some watersheds are barriers to fish and wildlife movement at all times of year, and about 90% are barriers for at least part of the year. In addition, many of these crossings are vulnerable to washouts during increasingly high rainfall events resulting from a warming climate.
The two-person survey crew worked for 17 weeks and recorded data from 586 sites in the Upper Kennebec and 413 sites in the Meduxnekeag watersheds. Four high school students from New York City assisted the crew during the month of July—a great chance to help these students explore the field of conservation first hand. The next step in this important project will be mapping and prioritizing which sites should be repaired first in order to restore the most extensive and best quality aquatic habitat, and we will be sharing that data with interested landowners and municipalities so they can seek funding and make plans for needed repairs.
We thank the Jessie B. Cox Charitable Trust for funding and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for technical support.
- Sally Stockwell
New resource shows high-value habitat connectors
Thursday, September 27th, 2012
Wood turtle, photo by Tom Hodgman
In Maine, we are lucky to have many large and small patches of valuable habitat for wildlife. Conserving these habitat pieces is vital to ensuring that wildlife populations in the state remain healthy–but so is protecting the connections between them.
Beginning with Habitat’s Map #3–Habitat Blocks and Habitat Connections–has new information about where the best habitat connections are in each town. Maine Audubon’s newly published fact sheet Conserving Maine’s Wildlife Habitat Connections accompanies the map and is now available to download.
Recent and Ongoing … Road Ecology and Maine Wildlife
Thursday, April 12th, 2012
This has been a busy month for stream and road ecology. Here are a few programs we worked on and one which could use your help.
Alex Abbott, U.S. Fish & Wildlife presenter at our 4th fully booked workshop on stream crossings demonstrating the differences in culvert design and the downstream impact.
Wildlife Biologist and GIS Manager Barbara Charry appeared on MPBN’s Maine Watch with Jennifer Rooks .
Barbara discusses the proposal for an east – west highway across Maine between Calais and Coburn Gore. Of particular concern to Maine Audubon are the impacts to wildlife and wildlife habitat caused by a new highway and high levels of traffic.
The show aired on MPBN Television at 8:00 pm, Thursday April 5, 2012. The show rebroadcasts on Friday evenings at 9:00 pm and Sunday afternoons at 5:00 pm. An audio version of the program airs on MPBN Radio at 12:30 pm on Friday afternoons.
Barbara Charry is a Wildlife Biologist and GIS Manager at Maine Audubon. Over the last 12 years, the focus her work has been the impacts of sprawling development on Maine’s wildlife, particularly roads.
She became a state leader in this work in 2001 when Maine Audubon became a founding partner of Maine’s nationally acclaimed Beginning with Habitat program, an innovative public/private partnership that provides practical tools for Maine communities to incorporate wildlife and habitat conservation into local land use planning.
Under Barbara’s leadership, Maine Audubon convened the first-ever state-wide conference on road ecology in Maine. She has written several guides for land use decision makers and community members on the impacts of development on wildlife including a community conservation guide, “Conserving Wildlife On and Around Maine Roads”.