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New ME Program Aims to Support Salmon Restoration

UNDERCURRENT NEWS

New Maine program aims to help fund recovery of wild salmon

By Undercurrent News Oct. 25, 2018

Maine's Department of Marine Resources (DMR) has announced a new program aimed at helping to fund the recovery of wild caught Atlantic salmon in the US state while also reducing the regulatory burdens associated with road and bridge construction projects.

The Atlantic Salmon Restoration and Conservation Program (ASRCP) will provide public and private parties working on road and bridge construction projects the flexibility to pay a fee in lieu of the mitigation efforts required by federal law to offset the unavoidable environmental impacts of the construction activity, DMR explains in a press release.

The idea takes advantage of the existing In-Lieu Fee (ILF) program created in 2008 by the Army Corps of Engineers. It requires that funds paid by companies doing such work be used to support other restoration work that results in, at a minimum, no net loss of habitat or habitat function.

"We plan to use the funds to not simply maintain habitat but to restore or enhance salmon habitat in Maine," said Sean Ledwin, director of DMR's Sea-Run Fisheries Division. "This will streamline the individual permitting processes for eligible construction projects, saving time and money."

The types of projects that are eligible for ILF assistance include stream-crossing structure removals, replacements, installations and maintenance. Fees will be calculated based on the amount of potential Atlantic salmon habitat impacted and the costs to restore salmon habitat, and all ILF payments received by the Department of Marine Resources will be made available as grant awards.