Congressman Mike Michaud and Congresswoman Chellie Pingree today welcomed news that two key Maine conservation projects would receive $1.3 million in grants from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service--$1 million for the removal of Veazie Dam on the Penobscot River and $300,000 to conserve 4,000feet of shoreline in Harpswell.
"I grew up and worked along the Penobscot River and have fought to protect it in the Maine Legislature and in Washington D.C.," said Michaud. "This grant provides critical support for the next step of the Penobscot River Restoration Project. Fishing, paddling, birding and huntingwill be strengthened and new opportunities for river-focused development will present themselves for cities and towns along the waterway."
"It's critical that we protect our natural resources for the health of Maine's economy, environment, and culture. This funding is great news for those efforts," said Pingree. "The removal of dams on the Penobscot River is key to bringing back several sea-run fish populations, and many jobs depend directly on thehealth of Casco Bay. I'm excited that Maine will receive not one, but two of these grants. It's a testament to the national importance of the state's resources and to all the groups and partners who've worked so hard to push these projects forward."
Removal of the Veazie Dam on the Penobscot River will restore about 225 acres of in-stream habitat and about 65 acres of streamside habitat, while enhancing the connectivity and functional value of 188,000 acres of wetland habitats for native sea-run fish, including endangered Atlantic salmon, endangered short-nose and Atlantic sturgeon, and eight other fish species. The project is a joint effort between the Penobscot Indian Nation, the Penobscot River Restoration Trust, six other non-governmental organizations, the State of Maine, the Department of the Interior, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and hydropower companies.
Conservation of White Island and Wilson's Cove in Harpswell will protect more than 80 acres of coastal wetlands and uplands, as well asalmost 4,000 feet of shoreline within the Casco Bay Estuary. The area provides significant habitat for waterfowl, wading birds and shellfish. The project is a partnership of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, the Harpswell Heritage Land Trust and the Maine Coast Heritage Land Trust.