Central New England Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office
Northeast Region
151 Broad St
Nashua, NH 03063
(603) 598-9337

Strategic Plan for the Restoration of Anadromous Fish to the Merrimack River


This document represents a revised Anadromous Fish Restoration Strategic Plan (1990). The cooperating fisheries agencies have expanded the restoration program planning effort in several important ways. First, this Strategic Plan addresses the river herring (alewife and blueback herring), and the American shad, in addition to the Atlantic salmon. Second, this plan proposes a holistic approach to anadromous fish restoration. This "watershed approach" recognizes the dynamic physical, biological, political and economical connectedness of the Merrimack River basin from its headwaters in the White Mountains to its confluence with the Gulf of Maine.

Measuring success will require a candid portrayal of expectations and agreement on whether the program results are ecologically, scientifically, economically, and politically acceptable.

The Strategic Plan embodies the goal of restoring the Atlantic salmon to a self-sustaining level estimated at 1,900 multi-sea-winter females reaching the spawning grounds. Restoration of American shad and river herring is also directed at developing and maintaining self-sustaining populations to their historical habitat. Full restoration levels for American shad and river herring are unknown at this time because of insufficient life-history and habitat data. Cyclical fluctuations in marine survival, ineffective upstream and downstream fish passage, and a host of additional factors make it impossible to predict accurately what population levels can be achieved through this restoration program. The cooperating agencies have developed three interim objectives that are considered achievable within the next decade.

  1. An adult Atlantic salmon population that will exceed the sea run brood stock holding capacity of the Nashua National Fish Hatchery (300) and provide some level of reproduction in the wild.
  2. An annual average of 35,000 adult American shad passing the Essex fish-lift in Lawrence.
  3. An annual average of 300,000 adult river herring passing the Essex fish-lift in Lawrence.

Download the Report

This file is in .pdf file format, which you'll need Adobe Acrobat Reader to open. Click here to download a free version of this software.

Download the Strategic Plan for the Restoration of Anadromous Fish to the Merrimack River (7.36MB)

Back to Aquatic Resource Links

Last updated: February 22, 2016
Central New England Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office
Eastern New England Fishery Resources Complex
Northeast Fish and Aquatic Conservation Home
Northeast Region Home

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Home Page | Department of the Interior  | USA.gov  | About the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service  | Accessibility  | Privacy  | Notices  | Disclaimer  | FOIA