Thursday, 15 June 2017 18:26

Penobscot River Restoration Project celebrates anniversary Featured

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VEAZIE - "This was the largest river restoration project in this country," said Andrew Goode, of the Atlantic Salmon Federation.

One year ago, the Howland Dam bypass officially opened, marking the completion of the 16 year long, $65 million Penobscot River Restoration Project.

"It's pretty exciting for me to have this one year anniversary and to see the success it's having on our fisheries, as well as the wildlife," said Joshua Royte, of The National Conservancy.

"There's no net loss of energy on this river, but there's three fewer dams," Goode said.

The project removed two dams and bypassed another, connecting 2,000 miles of river to the sea, and giving fish access to waters that dams had blocked off.

"Over time, this will be the biggest run of River Herring on the east coast," Goode said. "It will be the biggest run of Atlantic Salmon. We're seeing sturgeon come up and recolonize habitats, they haven't been able to in over two hundred years. Even though it's early since the project was completed, we're seeing the river rebound pretty quickly."

The project is inspiring similar efforts worldwide.

"There are people interested in doing what they call 'a Penobscot.' For instance, rivers in India and China and South America and Africa, so these are countries that don't have a lot of hydro power right now, and the fact that they can look to the Penobscot and say we might be able to do develop hydro power, yet still maintain an incredible fishery," said Royte.

The project not only impacts the fish and wildlife, but the surrounding communities as well.

"I think people are reconnecting to the rivers, I think connecting to the rivers brings a lot of hope for people, I think it brings a lot of relaxation and de-stressing," said Royte.

All of this is the doing of the Penobscot River Restoration Trust, a combination of dam owners, conservation groups, tribal and federal agencies.

Kayla Fish

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Kayla joined the ABC 7 & FOX 22 news team in May of 2017. She got into journalism because she loves talking with people, and she's incredibly grateful to share the stories of Mainers throughout the region.

She got her start in broadcasting way back in middle school as a member of a morning announcements TV broadcast club, and her love for the news industry took off from there.

Kayla graduated from Penn State University in 2017 with degrees in broadcast journalism and Spanish. During her time as a student at Penn State, Kayla was an executive producer and reporter for the "Centre County Report", an Emmy award-winning student-run newscast. She studied abroad in Ronda, Spain and traveled to Panama with an international reporting class. Kayla kept busy in college, spending four years working as a student manager in the dining hall.

Kayla grew up in the village of Shawnee-on-Delaware, located in the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania, so transitioning into life in Vacationland was a piece of cake! A self-described winter fanatic, she loves all things snow related, including hitting the slopes on her snowboard. She also likes hiking, kayaking or doing anything outdoors. She loves meeting new people so if you see her around, be sure to stop and say hi!