Upstream movements of Atlantic Salmon in the Lower Penobscot River, Maine following two dam removals and fish passage modifications

Marine and Coastal Fisheries: Dynamics, Management, and Ecosystem Science
By: , and 

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Abstract

The Penobscot River Restoration Project (PRRP), to be completed in 2016, involved an extensive plan of dam removal, increases in hydroelectric capacity, and fish passage modifications to increase habitat access for diadromous species. As part of the PRRP, Great Works and Veazie dams were removed, making Milford Dam the first impediment to federally endangered Atlantic Salmon Salmo salar. Upstream habitat access for Atlantic Salmon is dependent upon successful and timely passage at Milford Dam because nearly all suitable spawning habitat is located upstream. In 2014 and 2015, a total of 73 adult salmon were radio-tagged to track their upstream movements through the Penobscot River to assess potential delays at (1) the dam remnants, (2) the confluence of the Stillwater Branch and the main stem of the Penobscot River below the impassable Orono Dam, and (3) the Milford Dam fish lift (installed in 2014). Movement rates through the dam remnants and the Stillwater confluence were comparable to open river reaches. Passage efficiency of the fish lift was high in both years (95% and 100%). However, fish experienced long delays at Milford Dam, with approximately one-third of fish taking more than a week to pass in each year, well below the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission passage standard of 95% within 48 h. Telemetry indicates most fish locate the fishway entrance within 5 h of arrival and were observed at the entrance at all hours of the day. These data indicate that overall transit times through the lower river were comparable to reported movement rates prior to changes to the Penobscot River due to the substantial delays seen at Milford Dam. The results of this study show that while adult Atlantic Salmon locate the new fish lift entrance quickly, passage of these fish was significantly delayed under 2014–2015 operations.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Upstream movements of Atlantic Salmon in the Lower Penobscot River, Maine following two dam removals and fish passage modifications
Series title Marine and Coastal Fisheries: Dynamics, Management, and Ecosystem Science
DOI 10.1080/19425120.2016.1185063
Volume 8
Issue 1
Year Published 2016
Language English
Publisher Taylor & Francis
Contributing office(s) Coop Res Unit Leetown
Description 14 p.
First page 448
Last page 461
Country United States
State Maine
Other Geospatial Penobscot River