RANGELEY – Brook trout in two Western Maine streams will get extreme home makeovers this week and next, courtesy of volunteers and state conservation groups.

Instead of recliners, mood art and linoleum, the fish will get boulders, logs and stream channel modifications.

Restoration work began Monday on the upper Sandy River above Madrid in Sandy River Plantation adjacent to Route 4, and is expected to be finished sometime next week, state fisheries biologist Forrest Bonney said early Thursday evening from his New Sharon home.

“We’ve been putting in boulders and logs, and digging pools for adult brook trout, and narrowing the stream to concentrate the flow,” Bonney said.

“A lot of streams, if they’ve been degraded by log drives and such, are very wide, and, the shallow water gets heated by sunlight,” he added.

Narrowing channels deepens the water, giving brookies what they need to survive and thrive – less stress, better habitat and colder temperatures.

Work on the second restoration project, South Bog Stream in Rangeley Plantation, is scheduled to begin Monday, Aug. 21, and be completed by Friday, Aug. 25.

The stream, Bonney said, is the principal brook trout spawning tributary to Rangeley Lake. Construction equipment will be used to strategically place logs and boulders in the stream to create more adult brook trout habitat.

If successful, the project could help eliminate the need for brook trout stocking in Rangeley Lake, Bonney said.

“Brook trout spawned in South Bog Stream many years ago, so we hope to get more reproduction there. Using radio tags, we know that brook trout move all the way up there in the fall,” he said of the mile-long spawning run.

The two projects are just a few of those funded through Trout Unlimited’s Embrace-A-Stream grant program, which provides funding for habitat restoration.

“With the assistance of volunteers, this program provides hundreds of thousands of dollars in real funds and volunteer assistance to restore stream habitat every year,” Bonney said.


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