SULLIVAN – For over 50 years, the Smelt Brook Dam has separated a fresh water stream from the nearby Frenchman Bay. This week the Downeast Salmon Federation will be removing the dam in order to restore the salt marsh ecosystem and help smelt return to the area.
“Salt marshes along with mangrove swamps are the two most productive ecosystems in the world,” said project manager Shri Verrill.
The environment will be suitable for smelt, brook trout, American eel and tomcod. The smaller fish help feed larger animals and fish like salmon.
“Ultimately the goal is to restore the healthy population of the Atlantic salmon,” said Verrill.
Students from nearby Sumner High School have helped with the project, learning about salt marsh ecology and tidal restoration. The Downeast Salmon Federation plans on using this project to continue that relationship.
“The idea is that it’s going to be there with the intention of making a special place for Sumner students,” said Verrill.
The removal will be completed by the end of the month. The next phase of the project will be to create an outdoor classroom for future students to learn about the coastal ecosystem.