The Downeast Salmon Federation has received a major grant from the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities to ensure and improve the water quality of eastern Maine’s most important rivers, according to the Ellsworth American.

“Downeast Maine’s economy, culture and way of life depend on our natural resources,” Dwayne Shaw, DSF’s executive director, said in announcing the grant. “Keeping our rivers healthy or, where necessary, restoring them to health is critical to our commercial and sport fisheries, our drinking water and local swimming holes.”

The grant provides $50,000 annually for the next three years to support a full-time director of DSF’s land trust, the Downeast Rivers Land Trust. The director will lead an effort to conserve 35 miles of river frontage on three of the five major rivers in Washington County including the Narraguagus, Pleasant and East Machias Rivers. The banks of the two other rivers, the Machias and the Dennys, have already largely been conserved.

“Our aim is to protect 500 to 1,000 feet of river bank along both sides of the rivers,” Shaw said. “This buffer protects the river from sedimentation and helps filter out agricultural fertilizers and pesticides. The trees provide shade, keeping the water cool for cold water fish like the Atlantic salmon and sea-run brook trout. And the buffers help ensure public access, so that people can get to the river to hunt and fish, camp, swim and put in their canoes.”

For more information, visit the Downeast Salmon Federation website.

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Samuel Hill is the former associate editor for National Fisherman. He is a graduate of the University of Southern Maine where he got his start in journalism at the campus’ newspaper, the Free Press. He has also written for the Bangor Daily News, the Outline, Motherboard and other publications about technology and culture.

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