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Visiting Scientist to Maine Field Station

Dr. Benno Kugel, Limnologist 

On May 21, NOAA Fisheries staff are hosting a visiting scientist from Bavaria, Germany at our Maine field office. Dr. Benno Kugel is a limnologist, a person who studies biological, chemical, physical, geological, and other properties of inland waters. He plans to share his own experiences in watershed restoration and learn more about our collaborative work with the Passamaquoddy Tribe on the St Croix River. 

For years, NOAA Fisheries staff have been working together with the Passamaquoddy people, the Canadian Government, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Natural Resources Council of Maine, the Atlantic Salmon Federation, and others to improve access to spawning and nursery habitat on the St. Croix River.  The hope is that by restoring access, we can do more to increase river herring and other migratory fish runs on the river.

Last year, NOAA Fisheries and the Passamaquoddy Tribal leaders teamed up to celebrate the reopening of the Grand Falls Dam fish ladder on the St Croix River.  The ladder was closed for nearly two decades, limiting river herring to just 2 percent of their historic spawning grounds on the river.  With the removal of a wooden obstruction at the dam, herring are now able to reach more than 50 percent of upstream lake habitat.

The St. Croix River, which forms the border between Maine and New Brunswick, has the potential to become one of the largest alewife runs in the United States.  A restored river run would benefit the Passamaquoddy people, Maine‚Äôs commercial fishing industry and fish and wildlife throughout the Gulf of Maine. 

Dr.  Kugel works for the Bavarian Ministry of Environment and Health.  He oversees the Department of Monitoring and Assessment and is Coordinator of the European Union-Water Frame Work Directive. His expertise is in stream and flood plain restoration and ecological assessment using biological indicators like fish and macro invertebrates. During his Maine visit, he also plans to lecture at the University of Maine on Wednesday, May 21st at 12:00 pm at 107 Norman Smith Hall.