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Keeping Maine’s Forests Pilot Project Update. Fisheries Habitat Restoration Pleasant River Watershed. A Critical Aquatic Resource. 90% of the intact eastern brook trout habitat in the US is in Maine.

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keeping maine s forests pilot project update

Keeping Maine’s Forests Pilot Project Update

Fisheries Habitat Restoration

Pleasant River Watershed

a critical aquatic resource
A Critical Aquatic Resource
  • 90% of the intact eastern brook trout habitat in the US is in Maine.
  • 30% of the remote ponds in Maine are in the Moosehead-Katahdin region (aka 100-Mile Wilderness).
  • Very high concentration of some of the best wild and native trout habitat located in this region.
  • Also Penobscot River Watershed – focus on fisheries habitat restoration.
background
Background
  • March 2011 KMF fisheries forum sponsored by Maine Forest Products Council
  • Fisheries habitat: success story to build on.
  • Private landowners interested and engaged.
  • Track record of cooperative efforts with NGOs, state and federal agencies with private landowners: Project SHARE in Downeast Maine.
pilot project goal
Pilot Project Goal
  • Meet the goals of Keeping Maine’s Forests including fiber production and maintaining important wildlife habitat in the greater Moosehead-Katahdin Region by creating a partnership dedicated to maintaining and restoring native fish habitat.
  • Initial Partners: AMC, TNC, NRCS, USFWS, IF&W, Huber, also TU, FSM
the issue
The Issue
  • Log drives ended in early 1970’s needed other means of log transport.
  • 100’s of miles of roads were built starting in early 1970’s to truck logs out of the woods.
  • Currently have an ageing road network with 100’s of culvert problems.
  • Lower and mid Penobscot has 770 severe culvert fish barriers identified.
biological issue with problem culverts
Biological Issue with Problem Culverts:
  • Restrict fish movement minimizing timely access to:
    • Spawning habitat
    • Cold water refuge
    • Food resources.
  • Create marshy backwaters
    • Increase water temperature
    • Reduce stream flow
    • Promotes conditions for warm water and invasive fish species.
  • Prevents natural stream process from occurring including:
    • Large wood and substrate movement
focus area determination part i fish habitat
Focus Area DeterminationPart I: Fish Habitat

Total ATS rearing units rank + ((BKT stream rank +BKT Pond acreage rank)/2)

OR

  • Worked with state and federal biologists to determine a restoration focus area in the Penobscot
  • Focus area determination
    • Used biological fish variables
    • Biological Opinion
    • Best of the best (could be better)

Habitat + Habitat = ATS and BKT Habitat

slide8

Top Ten HUC 12’s (Orange)

  • 71 known Severe Barriers in 6 HUC’s
  • 4 HUC’s Need Culverts Surveyed
slide10

Katahdin Iron Works

Brownville Junction

how it worked
How it worked
  • NRCS and USFWS biologists and engineers completed design and plans for culvert removals summer 2011. No cost to the landowner.
  • USFWS secured necessary permits. No cost to the landowner.
  • Landowner obtained services of local contractor to complete the work.
  • USFWS paid contractor directly for all costs associated with the work on the ground.
slide13

Site #1

Blocked Culvert

slide14

Site #2

Low Flow Fish Barrier

slide15

Site #3

Restored Natural Process

success
Success!
  • The three culvert removal projects combined have reconnected close to two miles of stream habitat in the Pleasant River watershed. 
  • Much improved habitat for wild and native brook trout.
  • Further bolsters region as a world-class trout fishery.
  • Core project partners: AMC, Huber, USFWS, NRCS, and TNC.
moving forward
Moving Forward
  • Road stream crossing training in Nov. (requested by private landowners)
  • Additional projects slated for 2012
  • Some culvert removal and restoration projects.
  • Other projects include culvert or bridge replacement.
  • Likely work with adjacent landowners that have expressed interest in the project.
  • AMC to act as project sponsor to enable NRCS funding options for other landowners.