Connecticut River Coordinator's Office
Northeast Region
 
Coordinator releasing portion of over 4,500 blueback herring netted and transferred to the Farmington River CT for restoration in 2010 with CTDEP. Additional 3,500 moved into the Westfield River and upstream of Holoyoke Dam in the first year of this initiative. Credit: USFWS
Coordinator releasing portion of over 4,500 blueback herring netted and transferred to the Farmington River CT for restoration in 2010 with CTDEP. Additional 3,500 moved into the Westfield River and upstream of Holyoke Dam in the first year of this initiative. Credit: USFWS

Contact Information

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Fish and Wildlife Management Assistance program is made up of 64 field offices nationwide, including the Connecticut River Coordinator’s Office. The Connecticut River Coordinator’s Office is one of a dozen Management Assistance Offices in the Northeast. These offices are all involved in native and migratory fish and wildlife conservation which includes activities like coordination of diverse interests, fishery management planning, aquatic nuisance species management, assessment and monitoring of the status of the resource, public outreach and fish passage.

The Connecticut River Coordinator’s Office was established in 1967 to coordinate the cooperative, interagency, multi-state migratory fish restoration program in the Connecticut River basin. The program is guided by the Connecticut River Atlantic Salmon Commission according to a Congressional mandate.

The first attempt to restore Atlantic Salmon to the Connecticut River was in the 1860s – some 50 years after salmon were first lost from the river. The same partners were involved back then but they had fewer resources at their disposal. Despite that fact, they re-established a run, but later abandoned the program because dams on tributaries blocked fish access to spawning and nursery habitat and fishways did not work well, the river was polluted, and harvest regulations were repealed in Connecticut.

In 1967 resource management agencies again attempted to restore salmon, working together first under a broad Statement of Intent which was later formalized into Public Law 98-138. The Connecticut River Coordinator's Office was created when U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agreed to fund the salary of someone who would coordinate the effort and the States agreed to help with the cost of program administration.

In 2012, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that it would no longer culture salmon for restoration efforts in the Connecticut River Basin due to low return rates and the science supporting salmon restoration. Although the Service will continue Atlantic Salmon monitoring as adult fish are expected to return through 2017, efforts will focus on other migratory fish in the basin, including American shad, American eel, river herring, and shortnose sturgeon, their habitats, and access to and from those habitats.

The Connecticut River Coordinator's Office addresses the mission of restoring migratory fish to the Connecticut River by providing effective coordination, information management, technical assistance and advocacy:

  • As Executive Assistant to the Connecticut River Atlantic Salmon Commission, the Coordinator serves as a liaison for the seven cooperating State and Federal resource management agencies, three major utility companies, dam owners, and a variety of other interested organizations and people. The role is designed to facilitate cooperative, basin-wide program administration, meetings and effective decision-making for a variety of migratory fish.

  • Scientific data and historic records are maintained and reported to cooperators and the public through reports, Web site and the Fish Returns Hotline.

  • Funding and expertise is provided to assist with habitat restoration and aquatic nuisance species management.

The efforts of the Coordinator's Office have contributed to (1) reintroduction of the once extirpated Atlantic salmon, (2) the continuing restoration of American shad and herring to much of their historic range, (3) the restoration of habitat accessibility through fishway construction and dam removal, (4) the fishing success of basin anglers who use the Fish Returns Hotline, and (5) the education of countless young stewards throughout the watershed.

 
 
Last updated: January 24, 2013
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