TURNER/LIVERMORE/HARTFORD — A stream crossing survey to assess fish passage barriers in the Martin Stream watershed began in September. The watershed is located within the towns of Turner, Livermore and Hartford. The goal is to identify, map and prioritize barriers for future connectivity restoration.

Survey teams will consist of volunteers and technical leaders who will collect data in the immediate vicinity of the crossing. They will record the dimensions of culverts and dams and assess factors such as water depth, stream bottom material up and downstream and erosion at the culvert.

Potential barriers include culverts perched above the stream or blocked by sediment or debris. Previous surveys have found that about 40 percent of culverts at public or private stream crossings are barriers to fish and wildlife.

Most of the work will be done on public right-of-ways at road crossings and within stream boundaries; however, it may be necessary to access the stream from private land for a short distance both up and downstream of crossings to take measurements and get pictures of the crossings, especially if the stream is too deep to wade. Surveyors will attempt to ask permission to cross private land when necessary and will, of course, honor all “no trespassing” and private signs.

Collecting this information will help determine which crossings or dams should be modified or replaced to improve access for fish and wildlife, accommodate larger stream flows associated with more extreme precipitation events and reduce long-term roadway maintenance costs. This is a non-regulatory effort and information gathered will not be used for enforcement. Some high priority sites could be eligible for technical or financial assistance through public and private partnerships.

This work has been partially funded by a grant from the Eastern Brook Trout Joint Venture, a public-private partnership between federal, state and local government, and academic and private sectors working to conserve Eastern brook trout and their habitats. The grant provides additional funding to help restore passage at two sites in the town of Turner and also to remove a remnant log dam in the Sunday River. These projects will open up more than six miles of habitat to brook trout and other species.

Participants in this project include: Androscoggin Valley Soil and Water Conservation District (contact Susan Gammon), Oxford County Soil and Water Conservation District (Michele Windsor), Androscoggin River Watershed Council (Jeff Stern), United States Fish and Wildlife Service (Alex Abbott) and Maine Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and local volunteers.

Those who wish to volunteer to help team leaders survey stream crossings are welcome. Contact Androscoggin Valley Soil and Water Conservation District at 753-9400, ext. 400, or [email protected] to arrange a date through October.

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