Connecticut River Coordinator's Office
Northeast Region
Photo of fly fishing for Atlantic salmon - Photo credit:  MAFW / Bill Byrne
Photo of fly fishing for Atlantic salmon - Credit:: MAFW / Bill Byrne

This document is a revision of a previous Strategic Plan for the Restoration of Atlantic Salmon to the Connecticut River Basin (Plan), dated 1982. The goals set forth in the previous Plan are reaffirmed in this revision. This Plan, while promoting the concept of a phased approach to restoration, is more focused than the previous Plan in defining areas within the basin important to the restoration of the species. It is broad in scope and flexible, and was developed to direct and coordinate Restoration Program (Program) activities throughout the coming years. It provides a framework that supports actions intended to increase the abundance of Atlantic salmon in the basin, and defines expectations and benchmarks for Program evaluation, a valuable feature for resource managers, industry planners, and the public.

The Plan, in Section I, identifies the Program mission: to protect, conserve, restore and enhance the Atlantic salmon population in the Connecticut River basin for public benefit, including recreational fishing. A description of Program administration and the role of the Connecticut River Atlantic Salmon Commission in guiding salmon restoration activities is provided in Appendix A. Appendix B of the Plan provides general descriptive information on the basin and includes specific information on available salmon habitat, depicting the 38 major tributaries on a map. Numerous fish species are found in the river and its tributaries, and a list of those known to occur in the basin is also provided in Appendix B. The complex life history of Atlantic salmon and their ocean migration routes are shown in Appendix C. A summary of the Program and discussion of future directions is provided in Section II. The history of the salmon Restoration Program in the basin, including past and present efforts relevant to restoration of the species, is presented in Appendix D. This appendix also provides specific historic data on the number and stage of fish stocked and the number of adult returns.

The Restoration Program has progressed from the early years, or Phase I, which developed suitable broodstock for release of salmon at various life stages throughout the basin to establish adult returns to the river. Program activities planned for upcoming years, the second phase of the Program, require development and implementation of strategies presented in Section III and detailed in Appendix E. While a number of these strategies have already been implemented, it is expected that these, and others not yet implemented, will be adapted as necessary to accomplish Program objectives. It is intended that the details of action items for implementing objectives will be stated in future Action Plans.

Many facets of the Plan will remain dynamic. The steps for implementing strategies and initiating actions will be reviewed and updated as needed to accomplish Program objectives. While a number of strategies and actions address fish production, others highlight the need for innovation that will be fostered through continued evaluation and research. The projected increase in abundance of Atlantic salmon discussed in Appendix F will depend on these strategies and actions. Habitat protection and enhancement, provision for access to available habitat (Appendix G), research, and evaluation, in addition to fish production, will be essential to achieving Program goals and objectives. The continued effort to restore Atlantic salmon in the basin will provide numerous public benefits (described in Section II) but it will also require focused efforts, agency commitment, and a sharing of responsibilities in the management of basin resources. Thus, the Plan was first presented to the public as a draft and subsequently finalized with their input (Appendices H & I).

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Last updated: September 14, 2010
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