Penobscot River Rebound: Tribal Trust Lands and the Return of Sea-Run Fishes

A World Fish Migration Day Celebration hosted by Penobscot Nation and the Native American Fish & Wildlife Society.

Alewives running up the Blackman Stream.

NAFWS and the Penobscot Nation celebrated World Fish Migration Day on May 21, 2022 creating a video to highlight the Tribe’s work to restore connectivity in the Mattamiscontis Stream Watershed.

Mattamiscontis means Place of Many Alewives in the Penobscot language, but for several generations fish passage to the Mattamiscontis Stream Watershed has been blocked. The removal of the Great Works and Veazie Dams from the Penobscot River significantly improved passage but migrating fish still must negotiate two dams on the main stem of the river. Since 2012, the Penobscot Nation has restored passageways at 23 sites across the watershed and as the efficiency of dam passage improves, the watershed is ready to receive the fish.

Dan McCaw (left) and Jason Mitchell (right) at Blackman Stream.

Due to COVID, the Penobscot Nation Department of Natural Resources and the Native American Fish & Wildlife Society cohosted a virtual World Fish Migration Day event with a video highlighting the Tribes efforts to improve passage for migrating fishes. The Native American Fish & Wildlife Society’s Public Information Officer April Richards joined Penobscot Fisheries Program Manager Dan McCaw touring restoration sites and spoke with Tribal members.

John Neptune and Alexis Ireland using a cast net to catch alewives used for fertilizer.

The video includes interviews with Water Resources and Nonpoint Source Field Coordinator Jason Mitchell, Recreation Coordinator and coordinator of the Wabanaki Youth Science (WaYS) Program John Neptune. We also had the opportunity to speak with two alumni of the WaYS program, Damon Galipeau who is now a wildlife technician for the Tribe and Alexis Ireland who is a graduate student.

Watch the video below to learn about the Tribe’s restoration efforts and the cultural and social connections that bind the Penobscot Nation to the Penobscot River and all it creatures.

Watch the Video


Contact: April Richards
Public Information Officer
Native American Fish & Wildlife Society
[email protected], 720-630-3973

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