Androscoggin River Watershed Comprehensive Plan for Diadromous Fishes
In the next ten years, multiple hydropower projects in the lower Androscoggin River watershed will begin relicensing; several have already started. Licensing actions present a rare opportunity to develop a comprehensive watershed plan prioritizing diadromous fish restoration and conservation efforts. A comprehensive plan outlines a framework that balances restoration of diadromous fishes, the interests of diverse stakeholders, and the need for sustainable energy production. Additionally, Section 10(A) of the Federal Power Act requires consideration of non-power generation uses of a waterway, such that a new or successive license shall, “...be best adapted to a comprehensive plan for improving or developing a waterway or waterways...” This includes the protection, mitigation, and enhancement of fish, wildlife, and habitat. The Androscoggin River Watershed Comprehensive Plan for Diadromous Fishes (Androscoggin CP) builds off existing management actions in the Recovery Plan for the Gulf of Maine Distinct Population Segment of Atlantic Salmon (Salmo salar) and Draft Androscoggin Fisheries Management Plan to provide synergistic restoration benefits. The geographic scope of the Androscoggin CP is the Androscoggin River watershed with a restoration focus downstream from Lewiston Falls, the Little Androscoggin River, the Sabattus River, and the Little River. These areas align with critical habitat for Atlantic salmon and represent a practical portion of the historical diadromous fish habitat on which we intend to focus our efforts. The vision for the Androscoggin CP is to support development of terms and conditions in the hydropower licensing process, foster coordination among agencies and stakeholders, and support a collaborative restoration approach.