Connecticut River Coordinator's Office
Northeast Region
 
Photo of an Atlantic salmon held in human hands. Credit: USFWS
Photo of an Atlantic salmon held in human hands. Credit: USFWS

The Connecticut River stock of Atlantic salmon disappeared from the Connecticut River just after the turn of the 19th century. The loss was recognized by the public and there was a subsequent attempt to restore the population in the 1860s. The project was abandoned after a couple of decades. In 1967 the basin's natural resource management agencies tried again to restore salmon to the basin.

The second attempt to restore Atlantic salmon to the Connecticut River basin was supported by State and Federal legislation. This mandate created the Connecticut River Atlantic Salmon Commission. Member agencies agreed to work together and ceded authority for the management of salmon to this multi-agency, interstate Commission. The Commission guided a cooperative salmon restoration effort which includesd habitat protection, fisheries management, research, regulation, hatchery production and stocking.

The long-term efforts of this cooperative partnership resulted in an annual return of adult Atlantic salmon to a river from which the native interjurisdictional stock had been extirpated. The restoration efforts throughout the watershed helped local economies as observed on the Farmington River as well as social benefits for thousands of school children who have had the hands-on opportunity to raise salmon in the classroom and release their fish in the streams that flow through their communities.

Due to low adult returns and the science supporting salmon restoration, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decided to discontinue culturing salmon for restoration in the Connecticut River Basin in 2012. The Service continues to monitor, assess, and research Atlantic Salmon and improve habitat for the species. The salmon in the classroom project will also continue.

Photo of wild Atlantic salmon spawning on a Connecticut River tributary - Photo credit:  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Photo of wild Atlantic salmon spawning on a Connecticut River tributary. Credit: USFWS

International Salmon Management

The Connecticut River Coordinator’s Office works with the Connecticut River Atlantic Salmon Commission member agencies to provide summary Connecticut River Atlantic Salmon Restoration program data to the U.S. Atlantic Salmon Assessment Committee for inclusion in the Annual Report. This information is used by the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES) to address concerns identified by the group responsible for the international management of Atlantic salmon on the high seas, the This link opens in a new windowNorth Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization (NASCO).

Partnership

A unique feature of the Connecticut River Atlantic Salmon Restoration Program is that it engaged and focused the activities of four State and two Federal agencies on restoring this river and its aquatic resources for almost 40 years. Probably no other single resource issue could have accomplished this. Perhaps more importantly, the agencies are not just partners. They cooperatively collaborate to get the job done. State and Federal staff exchange equipment, services, expertise, and sometimes even funds, thereby accomplishing goals that no single agency could have managed independently. Resources have used effectively and efficiently to address objectives throughout the four state basin.

 
Last updated: January 30, 2013
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