3
Threats to Atlantic Salmon in Maine

INTRODUCTION

The current state of Atlantic salmon in Maine appears to be the product of the cumulative effects of centuries of anthropogenic and environmental impacts. At present, the threats to Atlantic salmon in Maine are many and diverse. The challenge is not to identify them—that is relatively easy to do—the challenge is to make sense of all the threats and to rank them. The committee has attempted to do that in a risk-analysis model described in Chapter 4. In this chapter, we discuss the major factors that have adversely affected wild salmon in Maine since human contact.

Others have evaluated factors that adversely affect Atlantic salmon in eastern North America. For example, Cairns (2001) summarized a group effort to evaluate the possible factors contributing to the decline of salmon from 1984 to 1999. The document attempted to “catalogue all potential causes with any reasonable claim to credibility” and “systematically assess the plausibility of each hypothesized factor.” Sixty-three factors (“hypotheses for the decline”) were identified. They covered all stages of salmon life history and all aspects of their natural environments; they included human activities and structures, such as aquaculture, fishing, dams, and pollution. The conclusions were drawn from expert judgment, based on the literature and on a great deal of personal insight and experience. The plausibility analysis used a weighted scoring system and cov-



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Atlantic Salmon in Maine 3 Threats to Atlantic Salmon in Maine INTRODUCTION The current state of Atlantic salmon in Maine appears to be the product of the cumulative effects of centuries of anthropogenic and environmental impacts. At present, the threats to Atlantic salmon in Maine are many and diverse. The challenge is not to identify them—that is relatively easy to do—the challenge is to make sense of all the threats and to rank them. The committee has attempted to do that in a risk-analysis model described in Chapter 4. In this chapter, we discuss the major factors that have adversely affected wild salmon in Maine since human contact. Others have evaluated factors that adversely affect Atlantic salmon in eastern North America. For example, Cairns (2001) summarized a group effort to evaluate the possible factors contributing to the decline of salmon from 1984 to 1999. The document attempted to “catalogue all potential causes with any reasonable claim to credibility” and “systematically assess the plausibility of each hypothesized factor.” Sixty-three factors (“hypotheses for the decline”) were identified. They covered all stages of salmon life history and all aspects of their natural environments; they included human activities and structures, such as aquaculture, fishing, dams, and pollution. The conclusions were drawn from expert judgment, based on the literature and on a great deal of personal insight and experience. The plausibility analysis used a weighted scoring system and cov-

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Atlantic Salmon in Maine ered salmon originating from rivers in Quebec, the Canadian Maritime Provinces, and New England. Cairns’s (2001) assessment was done before a workshop was held to develop research strategies. The deliberations and conclusions of that workshop were summarized by O’Neil et al. (2000). A separate report covers the potential causes of low salmon returns to Newfoundland and Labrador (Dempson and Reddin 2000). The group of experts whose efforts were described by Cairns (2001) gave each factor a numerical score between 0 and 1 for its magnitude (proportion of habitat affected times degree to which the factor constrains survival or reproductive output) and its trend (positive numbers for increasing mortality or constraint on reproductive output and negative numbers for the reverse). Those two numbers were multiplied and the product was plotted. Five factors were ranked highest in the following order: (1) post-fishery marine mortality is higher than that assumed by fishery models (thus, the degree to which fishing reduces pre-fishery abundance is overstated); (2) smolt survival is reduced due to fish predation; (3) predation by birds and mammals is high at sea; (4) altered ocean conditions alter migration routes; and (5) bird and seal predation in rivers and estuaries affects smolts and adults. Limited spawning habitat ranked 57th and barriers to spawning migration ranked 60th out of the 63 factors. The low ranking does not mean that the factors are unimportant; it means only that their effects on salmon have not changed in a way that explains the recent declines in salmon populations. Two predictions arising from climate-change projections were listed but not scored. The highest-ranked factor and two of the next three highest ranked were in the marine environment. The second highest-ranked factor overall was in the estuarine environment. The highest ranked factor in freshwater was ranked seventh overall. This analysis was done for all of eastern North America. Although most of the factors apply in Maine, they are not necessarily of the same rank there. The primary causes cited by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service (50 CFR 17, 224) to support listing Atlantic salmon as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) are (1) “Documented returns of adult Atlantic salmon within the DPS [distinct population segment] range are low relative to conservation escapement goals,” and (2) “densities of young-of-the-year salmon and parr remain low relative to the potential carrying capacity. These depressed juvenile abundances, where not supplemented by stocking, are a direct result of low adult returns in recent years.” The services concluded that the threats contributing to the danger of extinction of Atlantic salmon in Maine posed by low adult return and depressed juvenile abundance are (1) predation or disease—potential for

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Atlantic Salmon in Maine disease outbreaks in wild and in hatchery brood stocks; (2) inadequacy of existing protective mechanisms—insufficient protection against threat posed by agricultural water withdrawals, disease, and aquaculture; and (3) other natural or artificial factors affecting its continued existence—existing aquacultural practices and low marine survival rates. This committee had somewhat different imperatives from those of the services because its charge leads it to take a broader focus than only the listed populations in the eight DPS rivers and the ESA’s specific mandates. It is important to distinguish between those threats leading to endangerment of Atlantic salmon in the DPS rivers and the measures needed for recovery (in terms of regulations) of salmon throughout Maine. Following its charge, the committee considered the threats and evaluated recovery and restoration options for salmon in Maine rivers in general, not only in the DPS rivers. In general, threats on the listed rivers are similar to those on all Maine rivers, although there are some differences. For example, the complex problems associated with the presence of dams are not considered significant threats on the DPS rivers, yet the committee regards dams as a serious problem for successful restoration of salmon on a statewide scale because the larger drainages have greater potential to support large salmon populations. As discussed above, the list of potential threats is broad, complicating the task of conservation planners. While a recovery plan called for under the ESA is being developed, conservation efforts are being carried forward under the Atlantic Salmon Conservation Plan for Seven Maine Rivers (Maine Atlantic Salmon Task Force 1997). The task force plan establishes conservation goals in terms of returning adults for seven of the DPS rivers (excluding Cove Brook), identifies threats, poses conservation measures, sets time tables and establishes responsibilities for implementation, and estimates implementation costs. The factors judged by this committee to be the most important threats to the continued survival of Atlantic salmon in Maine are described below. Most of the threats identified by the committee are also considered by the Maine Atlantic Salmon Task Force (1997). The primary limitation of the existing plan is the lack of priority-setting for conservation actions. Following the recommendation in the final listing rule, the committee recommends that recovery planners develop a priority setting process for recovery actions with the use of information acquired after the adoption of the 1997 conservation plan. The recovery plan should focus resources and efforts to abate the most consequential threats. Because of different environmental conditions and land uses in the various watersheds affected, these actions will need to be adapted for specific watershed application.

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Atlantic Salmon in Maine A HISTORY OF THREATS TO ATLANTIC SALMON IN MAINE Centuries of human activities and environmental change have in various ways influenced Atlantic salmon populations in Maine. Until the more recent population declines, the effects of these changes were different in the Kennebec, Penobscot, and Down East rivers. Tracing the patterns and trends of anthropogenic activities and environmental change in the region may provide insight into cumulative effects on Atlantic salmon and their habitat in Maine, helping to identify factors behind their pattern of persistent but regionally varied decline. Geologic History The advance and retreat of continental ice sheets during the Pleistocene epoch (10,000 to about 1.5 million years ago) had a dominant influence on the landforms, stream networks, and soils of Maine (Marvinney and Thompson 2000). Glaciers shaped mountains and valleys and the resulting stream and river networks; left sand and gravel deposits; and carved out hundreds of lakes, ponds, and depressions that are now wetlands. The dominant soil types are a direct result of glaciation; a cold, wet climate; and forest succession over the past 10,000 years. In general, soils are well drained, acidic, and relatively unfertile. The properties of the soils and watersheds generally yield high quality freshwater streams and rivers with good salmon habitat. Changes in Climate and Ocean Conditions For as long as information about the earth’s and New England’s climates has been available, the information tells a story of continual climate change. It is certain that climates will continue to change. The precise nature and magnitude of future changes is not predictable at present. However, as described in Chapter 2, there is evidence that Maine’s climate has been warmer over the past half century than it was over the previous century. In addition, salmon in Maine seem to be at or near the southwestern limit of their range in North America. Thus, any prolonged or large warming of Maine’s climate would probably make the survival of Atlantic salmon in Maine more difficult by warming the water in Maine’s streams and changing their historical flow patterns. As an example, Table 3-1 shows that the number of ice days on the Narraguagus River has decreased in the past three decades, and the snow melt has occurred earlier. In addition, changes in the hydrologic regime not directly related

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Atlantic Salmon in Maine TABLE 3-1 Snow-Water Equivalent (SWE) (Amherst, Maine), Channel Ice Effects, and Median February and May Stream Flow (Narraguagus River), 1970–2000 Year March 1 SWE (in.) March 15 SWE (in.) April 1 SWE (in.) Ice Effect (no. of days) Feb. 1 Median Q (ft3/sec) May 1Median Q (ft3/sec) 1970 5 5 4.5 60 300 600 1980 4 4.5 3.5 60 330 570 1990 3 3.5 2 55 350 520 2000 2.5 3 1.5 45 380 490   SOURCE: Dudley and Hodgkins 2002. to temperature could also complicate the rehabilitation of wild Atlantic salmon populations. The committee judges that some degree of climate warming or change in the hydrologic regime could be tolerated if most of the other problems affecting Maine’s salmon are reduced. In addition, some methods are available to mitigate such climate changes. They include making sure that streams are protected by riparian vegetation and that their watersheds are managed so that flow volumes and seasonality are maintained. However, if climate warming is large and prolonged, eventually Maine’s environment may not be within the natural range of Atlantic salmon. Climate change also involves ocean conditions. The oceans represent a large black box into which many salmon venture and few return. The oceans are known to be highly variable, beginning with variations in atmospheric forcing from wind and temperature (see Dickson et al. [1996] and Dickson [1997] for a focus on the northwestern Atlantic and Dickson and [Turrell] 2000 for a discussion of the North Atlantic Oscillation [NAO] and European salmon). These forcings are linked to changes in the earth’s climate system (Hurrell and van Loon 1997), which itself responds to feedback from the underlying ocean and to interactions between system components associated with the various ocean basins (Bigg 2000). Atmospheric forcing affects the large ocean current systems that transport heat and plankton, thereby affecting the physical and biological conditions experienced by fish (Colebrook 1991, Drinkwater 2000, Frank et al. 1996, Pickart et al. 1999, Reid and Planque 2000). The responses of fish populations to such changes are complicated, and the understanding of them is still small, especially in the high seas where biological data (in particular) are

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Atlantic Salmon in Maine scarce. Still, the evidence for large-scale impacts that can be traced to population changes is strong (Hare et al. 1999, Mantua et al. 1997) even if the mechanisms remain elusive. Variation in the ocean environment has emerged as a primary explanation for the changing abundance of salmon, because data on return rates permit an accounting of losses between freshwater and the ocean (Cairns 2001). Return rates clearly have been declining in many areas, including in all of Maine’s rivers (Reddin et al. 2000). However, most return-rate data do not distinguish between losses occurring shortly after emigration to the sea and those occurring on the high seas. That makes it difficult to evaluate causes: those near land are easier to identify, and those at sea operate over a much longer period and may be harder to detect. Quantification is difficult in either case. The strong similarity of patterns along both sides of the Atlantic suggests a common cause of salmon losses in the ocean, probably modified by local processes. That idea is based on the improbability of different river and estuarine conditions co-varying to the degree needed to produce the coherent population responses observed if the dominant causes were continental or coastal in origin (see Friedland 1998). Among North American populations, salmon abundance patterns in Labrador and Newfoundland correlate with each other and not with patterns to the south, and those to the south (Quebec, Gulf of St. Lawrence, Nova Scotia, Bay of Fundy, and Maine) correlate with each other (Reddin et al. 2000). Although justifying and promoting the need to investigate ocean conditions, the authors are cautious about using the same arguments to deny other influences. Identifying the causes of salmon losses in the ocean is difficult, especially since the international closure of the high-seas fisheries has eliminated a major source of data on the movements of salmon that might be correlated with remotely sensed data and augmented with increased research measurements. Friedland et al. (1993) showed that warmer temperatures in spring favored post-smolt survival of salmon in the northeastern Atlantic. They subsequently defined a spring habitat index (area of habitat between 7 and 13 ºC) for two stock complexes (from Norway and Scotland) and showed a close correlation between the first principal component of that habitat and landings. The relationship is consistent with what is known about the migration of post-smolts in these stocks; therefore, its insight, although untested for its predictive ability, is promising. However, both data sets occupy a single cycle with a well-defined peak, and other modes of influence would not be surprising. In addition, marine biotic assemblages have changed, partly in response to human exploitation of them and perhaps partly as a result of natural environmental changes. These changes mean that salmon in the

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Atlantic Salmon in Maine ocean experience changing kinds and amount of food as well as changing kinds and degree of predation. NATURAL PREDATION AND COMPETITION Maine’s Atlantic salmon confront documented predation and competition from other species both in Maine’s rivers and in the estuarine environment. Natural predation and competition may also be factors in the natural mortality of migrating and overwintering salmon in the ocean environment, but that has not been well studied. Nonnative species that prey on salmon and compete with them are a potentially important anthropogenic threat to Atlantic salmon in Maine’s rivers and estuaries. Fish Predators and Competitors in Maine’s Rivers In addition to Atlantic salmon, Maine’s rivers support populations of many other fish species. Some are prey of salmon, but others are competitors and predators. The list of fishes in Table 3-2 is for the Sheepscot River (Meister 1982), but it is fairly representative of other Maine coastal rivers, with a few notable exceptions. Meister did not provide information on the relative abundances of those fishes, but it is clear from the table that the river supports a diverse fish assemblage, many of whose members are strongly piscivorous. In particular, the introduced brown trout, and largemouth and smallmouth bass and the native striped bass, chain pickerel, and lake trout are voracious fish eaters. Many of the other species also take fish, especially the larger individuals of the species. Other coastal rivers have similar assemblages. For example, the Machias River (Fletcher et al. 1982) lacks brown and lake trout and largemouth bass but supports rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss), bluefish (Pomatomus saltatrix), and Atlantic mackerel (Scomber scombrus), the latter two being in estuaries. In the Narraguagus and Pleasant rivers, non-anadromous Atlantic salmon also are listed among the fauna (Baum and Jordan 1982). Changes have probably occurred in these assemblages over the past 20 years, especially in regard to nonnative species. In addition to preying on young salmon, many of the species compete with them, and many eat their eggs. Salmon evolved in environments that had predators and competitors but not the introduced species and not under today’s conditions, when salmon populations are seriously depleted. Compounding the problems faced by young Atlantic salmon in Maine rivers is the stocking of streams with various competitive and predatory

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Atlantic Salmon in Maine TABLE 3-2 The Fishes of the Sheepscot River Sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) Shortnose sturgeon (Acipenser brevirostrum) Atlantic sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrhynchus) American eel (Anguilla rostrata) Blueback herring (Alosa aestivalis) Hickory shad (Alosa mediocris) Alewife (Alosa pseudoharengus) American shad (Alosa sapidissima) Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) Brown trout (Salmo trutta)a Brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) Lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) Rainbow smelt (Osmerus mordax) Chain pickerel (Esox niger) Golden shiner (Notemigonus crysoleucas) Common shiner (Notropis cornutus) Blacknose dace (Rhinichthys atratulus) Fallfish (Semotilus corporalis) White sucker (Catastomus commersoni) Brown bullhead (Ictalurus nebulosus) Atlantic tomcod (Microgadus tomcod) Banded killifish (Fundulus diaphanus) Mummichog (Fundulus heteroclitus) Brook stickleback (Culaea inconstans) Threespine stickleback (Gasterosteus oculeatus) Ninespine stickleback (Pungitius pungitius) White perch (Morone americana) Striped bass (Morone saxatilis) Pumpkinseed (Lepomis gibbosus) Smallmouth bass (Micropterus dolomieui)a Largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides)a Yellow perch (Perca flavescens) aNot native to Maine. SOURCE: Adapted from Meister 1982. species, native and nonnative, that has been and is occurring. Among the species stocked are such predators as striped bass, smallmouth bass, and various species of trout, including brown trout. At least three agencies in Maine are stocking fish (most of which are piscivorous): The Maine Atlantic Salmon Commission, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

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Atlantic Salmon in Maine Predators at Sea and in Estuaries Due to the protection now afforded certain predator groups (birds and seals), predation on Atlantic salmon in estuarine areas in Maine is probably higher than it was during the period of higher return rates in the 1970s. After a period of virtual elimination by people, cormorants became reestablished on the Maine coast in the 1920s. Since then, their numbers have increased, and attempts have been made to control the population. Cormorants were added to federal bird protection laws in 1972, and the number of breeding pairs in Maine increased more than 80% but may now be relatively stable (Krohn et al. 1995). Double-crested cormorants (Phalcrocorax auritus) are a significant predator on smolts at the time they are leaving the rivers (Baum 1997). Studies conducted in the 1960s and 1970s showed high rates of predation (e.g., 55 Carlin tags from salmon smolts in the stomach of a single bird [Baum 1997]). These rates are attributed partly to less-adept predator-avoidance skills on the part of hatchery-bred fish (Hockett 1994). Despite this conspicuous threat to smolts, the overall loss of hatchery-reared fish to cormorants in the Penobscot River was estimated at less than 7% by Blackwell (1996), and the rate seems to be much lower for wild smolts (for which there are few documented instances of consumption by cormorants [Baum 1997]). The loss might be higher in the smaller salmon rivers with shallow water and pools closer to the coastal rookeries, but the committee has seen no evidence that the overall return rate of salmon to those various rivers is significantly less than the return rate to the Penobscot. Similar facts and arguments can be developed for another conspicuous predator in the coastal marine environment: seals (mainly harbor seals, Phoca vitulina, and the larger gray seals, Halichoerus grypus). Seals are protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, and their populations in Maine have increased since the law was enacted. The frequency of seal bites on surviving salmon returning to the Penobscot River on spawning runs increased from less than 0.5% to greater than 3% from the early 1980s to the mid-1990s. (Data extend back earlier than 1980, but with much smaller sample sizes and perhaps less focus on this question. The 3% figure is lower than that shown by Baum [1997] and is meant to reflect questions raised by that author about possible observer bias in the data.) There are no data with which to estimate the number of salmon consumed. One would need to know the relative rates of encounters, unsuccessful pursuits, nonfatal “near-misses” (bite marks detected on the survivors), and successful pursuits. From such a model, one might propose that the rate of encounters in the smaller estuaries in Down East Maine is higher than that in the Penobscot due to more confined spaces, possibly denser concentrations of seals, and possibly lower concentra-

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Atlantic Salmon in Maine tions of alternative natural prey in the smaller systems. The possibility that seals have a significant impact on returning salmon cannot be dismissed. However, as with bird predation, the committee has seen no indication that salmon in the smaller rivers experience a higher predation rate than in the Penobscot. It remains unclear whether seals significantly affect the abundance of outmigrating smolts. Seals are opportunistic feeders, so they could be a serious threat under certain circumstances. A beach-seine study in the Narraguagus estuary showed that smolts composed less than 1% of the similarly sized small pelagic fish (J. Kocik, NMFS, unpublished material, 2001). Some of these fish are known prey of harbor seals, the most abundant pinniped species along the Maine coast. The abundance of other forage species might make it less likely that seal predation has a significant impact on smolts. Predation is a major factor determining the abundance of many animals in the sea. For salmon, this seems to occur both in a focused time and area (as in the case of an estuary at the time of outmigration) or as a gradual process over the 1–2 years of at-sea migration and growth. The transition from freshwater to saltwater imposes additional physiological challenges for anadromous fishes, and some of the mortality in the marine environment may be the result of additional stresses experienced during the riverine phase. It is not clear in the Kocik study how much of the estuarine mortality is due to predation, but no single source emerges as a likely candidate. When salmon populations are low, perhaps the impact is significant. The question is important for distinguishing between factors that might threaten the populations when they are small and those, if any, that might be responsible for the populations’ current condition. ABORIGINAL, COMMERCIAL, AND RECREATIONAL SALMON FISHERIES IN MAINE Atlantic salmon have long been valued for sport and for food. Native Americans used them for subsistence, at least to some degree, as did early European settlers. They have been commercially fished by the United States, Canada, and Greenland. Sport fishing for salmon has been important in Canada and New England since the mid-nineteenth century. Fishing was by hook and line and nets both in rivers and at sea (Baum 1997). Commercial fishing for salmon in Maine was eliminated in 1948. All directed fishing—including catch-and-release angling—for anadromous Atlantic salmon in Maine and its offshore waters was prohibited by 2000. Some Atlantic salmon were caught in the Greenland fishery, but that was eliminated or very nearly eliminated in 2002.

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Atlantic Salmon in Maine Fishing in the Past: Pre-1800s Although the history of human use of salmon prior to European settlement is murky and poorly documented, salmon—particularly adult salmon—may have been targeted by humans since the first aboriginal occupations of Maine several thousand years ago. The history of the subsistence, cultural, and commercial importance of salmon to Native Americans in Maine appears to be relatively poorly documented and subject to dispute. The archaeological record shows a succession of aboriginal occupations of the Maine area following the Ice Age, starting with Paleoindians between 11 and 10 thousand years ago. Archaic Indians came second and, by the time of the Middle Archaic period (7500–6000 BP), Maine had a substantial Indian population that is thought to have hunted white-tailed deer and to have fished for a variety of species along rivers and stream and lake inlets or outlets. Bourque (1995) suggests that they fished seasonal runs of shad, alewives, salmon, and eels. Late Archaic (6000–3000 B.P.) human populations were larger than earlier and more dispersed. Late Archaic coastal archaeological sites have shell middens containing animal and fish remains. These remains have been protected from acid soils by mollusk shells that render middens slightly alkaline (Bourque 1995). Late Archaic peoples have been divided into three somewhat distinct cultures: Laurentian Tradition, Small Stemmed Point Tradition (SSPT), and the Moorehead Phase. Analysis of the contents of a refuse pit in Penobscot Bay has produced clam, sea urchin, cod, swordfish, deer, and duck remains. Cod and deer bones were found in the tidal falls on the Sheepscot River estuary. Cod and swordfish appear to have been important in the diets of people in the Moorehead Phase. The Susquehanna Tradition replaced the Moorehead Phase around 3800 B.P., occupying the same coastal sites but having a more shore-based diet consisting of deer, moose, shallow-water fish, shellfish, and seals. Around 2500 B.P., Maine Indians occupied most coastal shell middens and showed a renewed dependence on fish and marine mammals, such as gray and harbor seals; moose and deer; and shallow-water fishes such as flounder, sturgeon, and cod (Bourque 1995). Historical accounts of Maine Indians may reflect earlier contacts with Europeans, including effects of the devastating diseases introduced as early as the fifteenth century. There is some disagreement as to whether early descriptions by Champlain and others represent traditional cultures (Bourque 1995) or whether archaeological reconstruction is the more reliable source for assessing aboriginal use of salmon in New England during pre- and post-contact periods (Carlson 1993). Common folklore and some historical accounts suggest that Atlantic salmon were abundant at the time of European colonization and that

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Atlantic Salmon in Maine Maine. Established in 1999, the MASC is charged with restoration and management of Atlantic salmon throughout its original range in Maine and is involved with all aspects of Atlantic salmon management in coastal and eastern Maine, the MASC has the sole authority to introduce Atlantic salmon to inland waters. Other than commercial aquaculture facilities, the commission has the sole authority to limit or prohibit the taking of Atlantic salmon, may issue licenses for the taking of Atlantic salmon, and may adopt rules establishing the time, place, and manner of Atlantic salmon fishing in all waters of the state. The MASC manages the Atlantic Salmon Conservation Plan (ASCP) for Seven Maine Rivers. The commission conducts routine monitoring of the abundance and status of salmon in most of Maine’s Atlantic salmon Roads Agriculture Land Use Recreational Boating Monitoring and Research Planning and Coordination 2 2 2 4 5 3         X X       X X         X           X X         X         X   X   X X X     X   X         X                   X X

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Atlantic Salmon in Maine watersheds. In addition, the commission supplies brood stock to federal hatcheries, conducts electrofishing surveys to evaluate juvenile fish production in salmon rivers and measures the success of fry stocking programs. The MASC also helps coordinate and support nongovernmental groups of volunteers that have an interest in the restoration and management of Atlantic salmon. For example, in 2001, the MASC provided local watershed councils organizational support and funds to address specific restoration and habitat protection projects. Ten other state government agencies play prominent roles in regulating fisheries, forestry, agriculture, dams, aquaculture, roads, land use, and recreational boating. (For a full list of state agencies and a description of their responsibilities, see Appendix B.) Prominent among the state agencies are the following: The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (DIFW) establishes and enforces rules and regulations that govern fishing, propagation and stocking of fish, the registration of watercraft and all terrain vehicles, and the issuing of licenses (e.g., hunting, fishing, trapping, guide) and permits. The DIFW also enforces the rules adopted by the MASC. The Department of Marine Resources (DMR) regulates marine aquaculture operations, marine fisheries, recreational boating and operates programs for research and monitoring of living marine and resources. For salmon aquaculture, DMR issues permits for aquaculture sites, enforces the Aquaculture Lease Law, administers the Finfish Aquaculture Monitoring Program (FAMP), and monitors for toxic contaminants under and in net-pens. For fisheries, the DMR issues fishing licenses, enforces saltwater fishing laws and regulations, and operates research and habitat conservation programs. The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) governs a wide range of human activities, including hydropower and dams, natural resource protection, shoreline zoning, site development, erosion and sedimentation control, wastewater discharge, and others. With respect to hydropower projects, the DEP, in cooperation with the Land Use Regulatory Commission (LURC), issues permits for the construction, reconstruction, or the structural alteration of a hydropower project; and enforces state laws concerning unapproved hydropower projects. With respect to salmon aquaculture, the DEP tests water for effluent quality from aquaculture sites, and issues permits as part of the Maine Pollution Discharge Elimination System (MPDES). In addition, the DEP issues permits for activities on land adjacent to any freshwater wetland, great pond, river, stream, or brook that could wash harmful material into these resources. LURC regulates land use in the state’s townships, plantations, and

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Atlantic Salmon in Maine unorganized areas, and cooperates with the DEP to regulate hydropower projects. The Maine Public Utilities Commission (MPUC) enforces all state laws that apply to public utilities, such as hydropower dams. The MPUC shares these responsibilities with the DEP and the LURC, the two agencies that issue permits for the construction, reconstruction, or the structural alteration of a hydropower project; and enforces state laws concerning unapproved hydropower projects. The Department of Transportation (DOT) designs, builds, and maintains many of the roads, highways, and bridges in the state and is the main oversight agency for projects involving roads, railroads, and associated facilities. The DOT restores habitat by addressing non-point-source pollution associated with transportation facilities located in salmon watersheds. In addition, the State Planning Office is charged with coordinating the development of the State’s economy and energy resources with the conservation of its natural resources (including Atlantic salmon and its habitat); providing technical assistance to the governor, legislature, and local and regional planning groups. Federal Government There are at least 11 federal government agencies that regulate, or otherwise influence, the human activities related to the survival of Atlantic salmon in Maine. (These agencies, and the activities in Maine that they influence, are shown in Table 3-6; and brief descriptions of each agency’s roles and responsibilities related to these activities are given in Appendix B.) Two of the most relevant federal agencies are the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). As explained above, these two agencies, which share responsibility for administration of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), listed Atlantic salmon as an endangered distinct population segment in November, 2000. The FWS implements ESA programs and regulations for terrestrial and freshwater species, while NMFS implements programs and regulations for marine and anadromous species. The FWS operates programs to protect and restore fish and wildlife resources and their habitats, including the National Fish Hatchery System, which in Maine consists of two fish hatcheries (Craig Brook and Green Lake). NMFS also operates programs for the protection, conservation, and

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Atlantic Salmon in Maine TABLE 3-6 Federal Agencies Human Activities that Impact Atlantic Salmon Dams Salmon Aquaculture Fisheries Forestry Federal Governmental Agencies 4 7 3 2 Fish & Wildlife Service X X X X National Marine Fisheries Service   X X   Environmental Protection Agency X X     Food & Drug Administration   X     Department of Agriculture (APHIS, NRCS, USFS)   X   X Army Corps of Engineers X X     Federal Energy Regulatory Commission X       Coast Guard   X X   Federal Highway Administration   SOURCE: Compiled from agency information, including Web sites. recovery of species protected under the ESA. In addition, NMFS implements the 1988 marine fishery management plan for Atlantic salmon, which applies in federal marine waters. This management plan established explicit U.S. management authority over all Atlantic salmon of U.S. origin to complement state management programs in coastal and inland waters and established federal management authority over salmon of U.S. origin on the high seas. The plan prohibits commercial fishing for Atlantic salmon, directed or incidental, in federal waters (3–200 miles) and prohibits the possession of Atlantic salmon taken from federal waters. In 2001, the Northeast Fisheries Science Center of the National Marine Fisheries Service opened a field station in Orono, Maine, not far from the University of Maine campus and the Maine Atlantic Salmon Commission. This office serves as home base for several federal researchers and managers who work on anadromous fish in Maine, primarily Atlantic salmon. The move brought researchers closer to their research subjects, but perhaps more important, it brought federal officials closer to local stakeholders, political leaders, agencies, councils, media, and researchers. Nine other federal government agencies significantly influence fisheries, forestry, agriculture, dams, aquaculture, roads, land use, and recreational boating in the state of Maine. A brief description of some of the other prominent federal agencies follows:

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Atlantic Salmon in Maine Roads Agriculture Land Use Recreational Boating Monitoring and Research Planning and Coordination 3 3 3 1 6 0 X   X   X           X     X X   X     X     X     X     X   X   X               X         X     X   The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) works with the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, its primary state partner related to Atlantic salmon. EPA has funded a $1.9 million cooperative agreement with the Gulf of Maine Council in its efforts to protect and sustain regionally significant Gulf of Maine coastal and marine habitats. EPA indirectly and directly affects Atlantic salmon farming and agriculture operations by, for example, approving and regulating the use of pesticides around and monitoring the effluent quality from aquaculture facilities. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) regulates activities in navigable waterways, including dredging and filling of waterways, and issues permits for dams and dikes placed in interstate waterways. USACE also enforces regulations that require the installation of suitable culverts and bridges, designed to withstand and prevent restriction of high flows and maintain existing low flows, for roads that cross bodies of water. The USDA has several programs that affect Atlantic salmon in Maine. Its Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service serves aquaculture, especially those aspects involving disease, pest prevention, and wildlife damage management, and has become involved in facilitating the importation and exportation of aquaculture products. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service operates a voluntary program for indi-

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Atlantic Salmon in Maine viduals who want to develop and improve wildlife habitat primarily on private land by providing both technical assistance and up to 75% cost-share assistance to establish and improve fish and wildlife habitat. The Natural Resources Conservation Service also assists local authorities to rehabilitate or remove aging dams by providing 65% of the total cost of a rehabilitation project. Other relevant programs of the USDA include the Small Watershed Program, the Forestry Incentives Program, and the Stewardship Incentive Program. The Forest Service also manages the White Mountain National Forest, which includes part of the drainages of the Androscoggin and Saco rivers. Those rivers have some potential for salmon rehabilitation. (For more information on these and other activities of the USDA, see Appendix B.) The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) authorizes construction of existing hydropower facilities. FERC issues licenses for a period of up to 50 years and is expected to equally consider developmental and environmental values, including hydroelectric development and fish and wildlife resources (including their spawning grounds and habitat). Small hydro plants that are 5 megawatts or less that use an existing dam, or that utilize a natural water feature for headwater, and existing projects that propose to increase capacity are exempt from FERC licensing. The U.S. Coast Guard enforces fisheries laws at sea, such as the Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Conservation and Management Act, in conjunction with the NMFS. As part of its mission to manage waterways, the Coast Guard participates in aquaculture leasing permit processes and ensures that offshore structures are not hazards to navigation. Regional Intergovernmental Organizations The New England Fishery Management Council, with jurisdiction extending from Maine to southern New England, develops management plans that are approved and implemented by the Secretary of Commerce and are implemented by the NMFS. The council developed the Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic salmon, which was implemented by NMFS on March 17, 1988, and explicitly established U.S. management authority over all Atlantic salmon of U.S. origin. The plan prohibits any commercial fishery for Atlantic salmon, directed or incidental, in federal waters (3–200 miles) and prohibits the possession of Atlantic salmon from federal waters. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission was formed in 1942 by 15 Atlantic coast states (Maine through Florida, including Pennsylvania) to assist in managing and conserving the states’ shared coastal fishery resources. While the Commission’s Interstate Fisheries Management

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Atlantic Salmon in Maine Program aims to promote the cooperative management of marine, estuarine, and anadromous fisheries in state waters of the East Coast through interstate fishery management plans, it currently does not have a fishery management plan for Atlantic salmon. International The principal international organization governing Atlantic salmon is the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization (NASCO).8 NASCO, established in 1984, aims to contribute to the conservation, restoration, enhancement and rational management of salmon stocks. NASCO was organized by the Convention for the Conservation of Salmon in the North Atlantic Ocean. The North American Commission of NASCO requires each of its members, which include Canada and the United States, to implement measures to minimize the bycatch of Atlantic salmon that originate in the rivers of other members. NASCO has developed guidelines on containment of farm salmon, which governs farm site selection, equipment used, and procedures, for each member country to follow. The St. Croix International Waterway Commission (SCIWC) is an international body established by the Maine and New Brunswick legislatures to manage the St. Croix boundary river corridor (SCIWC 2003). The SCIWC operates the St. Croix’s native Atlantic salmon program for research, management, and restoration in this watershed. The Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment is an international body that promotes and facilitates cross-border cooperation among government, academic, and private groups. The council’s action plan for the protection and conservation of coastal and marine habitats in the Gulf of Maine guides state, provincial, and federal policy and budgeting decisions affecting the Gulf’s coastal and marine environments. Nongovernmental Organizations and Institutions There are several NGOs that are actively engaged in efforts to restore and conserve Atlantic salmon in Maine. These organizations include river and angling conservation groups, Native American, and industry organizations. The Maine Atlantic Salmon Commission lists nearly 50 of these groups and organizations (MASC 2003). (MASC’s list of the NGOs is reproduced in Appendix B). These groups and organizations rely heavily 8   The North Atlantic Fisheries Organization governs fisheries in the North Atlantic that exploit species other than Atlantic salmon.

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Atlantic Salmon in Maine on volunteers and external funding to execute their Atlantic salmon conservation. A few selected examples of these efforts follow.9 Members of the Narraguagus River Watershed Council donated funds and labor to stabilize erosion sites in the Cherryfield reach of the river. Their project was supplemented with funds from the MASC and Maine Department of Environmental Protection. On the Machias River, the River Watershed Council secured landowner permission and coordinated the efforts of volunteers to plant a riparian buffer along a 300-foot section of Dan Hill Brook in Whitneyville. In the Ducktrap River Watershed, the Coastal Mountains Land Trust completed three land-conservation projects in 2000. A conservation easement donated by MBNA (a private company) protects 1,467 feet of frontage on the river and 8 acres of steep forested riparian land. A 3.5-acre property with 640 feet of frontage on Black Brook, a primary tributary to the river, was purchased. A second property on Black Brook was placed under a donated conservation easement that protects 66.3 acres and 1,460 feet of frontage. As a result, more than 70% of the riparian buffer of the Ducktrap River is in permanent conservation management and ownership. Funds for accomplishing these permanent conservation protections for Atlantic salmon habitat have been provided by a broad group of local donors, several private foundations, and state and federal agencies. Private companies are taking measures to restore and conserve Atlantic salmon. International Paper, a forest products company, provides support to River Watershed Councils and state agencies to identify water quality problems and takes corrective measures when problems are identified. In addition, the company has implemented the Riparian Management Guidelines, originally developed by Champion International, now part of International Paper, for its lands in Down East Maine. According to the company, these measures exceed state regulations. These and many other examples of nongovernmental efforts provide convincing evidence that many people in Maine value the survival of Atlantic salmon. However, the values of those people do not fully match those reflected in actions driven by formal government and market forces. Markets Market conditions in general are expected to influence a number of the human activities related to the survival of salmon. For example, if 9   These examples are drawn from the MASC’s 2000 annual progress report on the Atlantic Salmon Conservation Plan for Seven Maine Rivers (MASC 2000).

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Atlantic Salmon in Maine market prices for electricity rise substantially in response to increased demand, there will be greater pressure to construct new hydropower facilities and re-license existing facilities in Maine. Additionally, world market conditions for seafood, forest products, and blueberries will determine, in part, the level of salmon aquaculture, forestry, and blueberry farming in the state. Declining demand in these markets would likely weaken efforts to expand these sectors, which could benefit salmon conservation. On the other hand, declining demand might also reduce the willingness of these producers to invest in salmon conservation efforts, since soft markets would weaken their financial position. Maine will likely experience increased demand for land, forest resources, and marine and freshwater areas containing valuable salmon habitat. As in other coastal states, Maine will probably experience increased residential development of land along the coast and rivers that contain valuable salmon habitat. This will increase the pressure to expand Maine’s road network, an activity that requires bridge construction or culverts over salmon streams. The available information on these (and their ancillary) markets, which are powerful drivers of the human activities that affect the survival of salmon, is not sufficient to determine whether the way they are regulated is consistent with salmon recovery. It is unclear at this time whether additional controls on market forces are needed to prevent these threats to salmon from growing stronger over time. Comanagement The committee has not been able to document the historical development of this complex ecology of governance or the nature and extent of the relationship between that development and the overall decline of wild Atlantic salmon in Maine. It has been unable to determine if the differential pattern of decline that it identified in the DPS rivers as opposed to the other Maine salmon rivers is related to differences in governance processes between the Down East and other areas. Finally, it has been unable to evaluate the extent to which government agencies and other institutions described in this chapter are capable of learning and adapting to new information and changing circumstances. There is a need for much information to address these matters successfully. However, the committee suggests that experience from elsewhere can usefully be applied in Maine. Much of that experience and the specific kinds of information that would be needed for Maine have been discussed in Burger et al. (2001) and NRC (2002e). Issues related to conflict among interest groups and lack of support for conservation initiatives have also been implicated in resource decline and failed attempts at rehabilitation elsewhere. In

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Atlantic Salmon in Maine order to address this problem, some recommend a shift toward comanagement. Comanagement is a generic term used to describe the various ways in which resource users can meaningfully share management-related powers with state agencies. Within comanagement initiatives, government agencies can delegate some or all of their management rights to local authorities, which then comanage with local interested groups (Jentoft and McCay 1995). Both decision-making power and accountability for the consequences of those decisions are shared. Power sharing is often spread among several levels of government as well as nongovernment constituencies. Comanagement is often recommended for contexts where the ecology of governance is very complex and where the challenges are great and the room for error small, as appears to be the situation with wild Atlantic salmon in Maine. More specifically, comanagement is one strategy for dealing with situations with a heterogeneous group of users with “uneven powers, conflicting interests, unequal bargaining powers and different stakeholder values and rationalities,” contexts where deliberation can be cumbersome and where it is difficult to achieve consensus (Hara 2003, Jentoft 2000). Effective comanagement has the potential to develop a heightened sense of acceptance and compliance toward management rules, because rules that reflect the experiences and solutions proposed by users and result from dialogue rather than unilateral imposition by distant agents mean that those affected are less able to rationalize rule violation by treating management regimes as “theirs” versus “ours” (Pinkerton and Weinstein 1995). Compliance also requires, however, that the rules appear to be working. Scientific uncertainty can make it difficult to set and achieve management goals (Holling 1978, Walters 1986), and science is only as good as the data to which it has access. Some evidence suggests that various forms of comanagement can enhance science-based decision making. Thus, scientists are more likely to secure good data and rapid feedback on the ecological effects of management initiatives when resource users are committed to the management process and active participants within it (Felt et al. 1997, Walters et al. 1993). Where comanagement regimes are grounded in local community management traditions and local knowledge, they can benefit from “rules of thumb” developed from past experience and enforced through established social and cultural means (Berkes 1999). Depending on the context, there can be significant challenges associated with moving toward successful comanagement. For example, it requires a legal framework for both autonomous and shared decision making, as in the case of the “Boldt decision,” which required comanagement of salmonid fishes by American Indian treaty tribes and state government agencies (Pinkerton 1994). Like other management regimes, comanage-

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Atlantic Salmon in Maine ment must include mechanisms for limiting access, resolving conflicting uses, ensuring habitat protection, and ensuring adequate enforcement. It must also promote legitimacy among resource users, as well as compliance and a willingness to exchange information with biologists monitoring the resource (Pinkerton 1994). Where comanagement is deemed to be desirable and needed and where it is possible and feasible to move in this direction, other requirements for successful comanagement also include the presence of appropriate local and government institutions, trust between actors, legal protection of local rights, and economic incentives for local communities to conserve the resource (Berkes 1997). As indicated by the ecology of governance for Atlantic salmon in Maine, there has been a history of delegation of responsibility and resources to lower levels of government and to NGOs related to salmon and their environments. The current management frameworks need to be investigated to see what has worked and what has not worked and whether it would be feasible and appropriate to increase the level of comanagement related to salmon and their habitats.