The ceremonial ribbon was cut early this afternoon. The East Machias Aquatic Research Center will serve as a fish hatchery to stock native fish in lakes and rivers and it will also be a learning center for students and the general public.
Downeast Salmon Federation renovated the building after it was donated by Bangor Hydro. The federation’s Executive Director Dwayne Shaw said the building needed a lot of work.
“It was in very rough shape at the time and we’ve completely renovated. It was right here in the heart of this beautiful community, right on the banks of the river, right next to the rail trail and it’s the perfect location for our work,” Shaw said.
According to Shaw, the center will allow the Downeast Salmon Federation to use new methods and technology to increase the salmon and other native fish populations.
“We think we’re at the cutting edge of restoration of our fisheries. Particularly our migratory river fisheries and our endangered Atlantic Salmon,” Shaw said.
Even though the center is open, it is not complete. The final phase of the restoration project will include adding an archive storage space and classrooms so students from area schools can come learn about the environment.
Shaw said it took a lot of money from several donors to make this happen and he said the USDA Rural Development provided a $100,000 grant.
“That made all of the difference in the world for us. This is a community project and the rural development program supports communities as they strive toward improvements in the communities,” Shaw said.
“We just felt this would be a huge asset to not only support the community but also clean rivers in Maine,” USDA Rural Developer State Director Virginia Manuel said.
With the center open and more fish in the water, the chance of hooking that big one just got better.
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