Connecticut River Coordinator's Office
Northeast Region
Photo of a volunteer stocking fry in the Sawmill River - Photo credit:  Draper White
Photo of a volunteer stocking fry in the Sawmill River. Credit: Draper White

The Connecticut River Atlantic Salmon Commission (Commission) administers the interjurisdictional, cooperative effort to restore Atlantic salmon to the Connecticut River basin. The importance of a formal body to coordinate and regulate the restoration of Atlantic salmon was recognized when Congress approved the Connecticut River Basin Atlantic Salmon Compact, Public Law 98-138, in 1983. This law, passed previously by the four states, created the Commission and demonstrated Congressional support for the interstate restoration of Atlantic salmon to the Connecticut River basin.

The Commission is comprised of ten Commissioners (Table 1). Each of the four basin states is represented by two members: a high-level government employee and a public sector representative appointed by the governor. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service are both represented by their Northeast Regional Directors.

Table 1. Connecticut River Atlantic Salmon Commission Membership.
Federal U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Director, Region 5
National Marine Fisheries Service
Director, Northeast Region
Connecticut Connecticut Dept. of Environmental Protection
Director, Fisheries Division
Public Sector Representative
Massachusetts Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife
Public Sector Representative
New Hampshire New Hampshire Fish and Game Department
Executive Director
Public Sector Representative
Vermont Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife
Public Sector Representative

Commissioners are advised on scientific and technical issues by a Technical Committee. The Technical Committee is comprised of senior staff biologists from each Commission member agency, the U.S. Forest Service, and the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries. To address numerous technical issues, the Technical Committee created several standing sub-committees with specific areas of responsibilities, including the Salmon Studies, Downstream Fish Passage, and Genetics Sub-committees. Because salmon restoration and shad rehabilitation and enhancement share common issues, the Shad Studies Sub-committee was formally established under the Commission to ensure full consideration of this important fishery resource. Experts and cooperators from the member agencies, the U.S. Geological Survey/Biological Resources Division, private industry, and conservation groups cooperate with the sub-committees and Technical Committee, as needed, and are invited to participate in meetings.

The Connecticut River Coordinator, an employee of the USFWS, is the Executive Assistant for the Technical Committee and the Commission. The Coordinator organizes meetings, provides Program assessment and planning documents, and maintains contact with interested parties. The Coordinator is also responsible for Program advocacy, data management, interagency technical assistance, and the overall coordination and facilitation of migratory fish restoration activities.

From 1967-1983 (prior to the Commission), the restoration of migratory fish, primarily Atlantic salmon and American shad, was guided by a Policy Committee and a Technical Committee for Fisheries Management of the Connecticut River Basin with structures and memberships that have been carried over to the Commission. These earlier committees remain loosely in place today and act in concert with the Commission through sub-committees to address migratory fish restoration issues not specified in the Commission's enabling legislation.

The Commission meets at least twice each year and the Technical Committee meets more frequently, as needed. Meetings are open to the public and the public is given the opportunity to provide input into the decision-making process. Additionally, local news media are notified of scheduled Commission meetings. Minutes of both Commission and Technical Committee meetings are available and distributed widely.

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Last updated: September 13, 2010
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