FARMINGTON — The Atlantic Salmon Federation is about to begin a comprehensive, six-month study of ways to provide fish passage at the Walton’s Mill Dam on Temple Stream.

Atlantic salmon are a critically endangered species and the Walton’s Mill Dam prevents adult salmon from accessing a large amount of spawning and rearing habitat.

“Temple Stream has the largest contiguous amount of habitat for endangered Atlantic salmon in Maine that is currently inaccessible to adult salmon because of the lack of fish passage at Walton’s Mill Dam,” said John Burrows, director of New England Programs for ASF. “Temple Stream has produced abundant juvenile salmon through the state’s innovative egg-planting program, but it is critical that we get returning adult salmon into this habitat so that they can spawn naturally.”

The fish passage alternatives study will kick off with a public information meeting from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, June 7, in the downstairs room of the Farmington Community Center, 127 Middle St. Burrows, along with Joseph McLean from the engineering firm Wright-Pierce, will provide an overview of the upcoming work at the Walton’s Mill Dam and answer questions from people in attendance. The community is also encouraged to reach out to Burrows with questions and ideas throughout the study process.

“In recent years, the town of Farmington has built two major erosion control and drainage improvement projects that are sensitive to the critical salmon habitat in the Sandy River,” Farmington Town Manager Richard Davis said. “The town recognizes the importance of this resource. We look forward to the Walton’s Mill Dam fish passage feasibility study and resulting recommendations for improvements to this resource. The town appreciates the assistance being provided by the Atlantic Salmon Federation and its project partners in leading the study.” 

In addition to the dam work, there will be a parallel process, looking at alternative ways to improve the existing park and other town land adjacent to the Walton’s Mill Dam.

The process will begin with a public design and information session at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 28, at the Farmington Community Center. The local community is encouraged to attend and participate. Additional public sessions for the landscape design work will be held later this year.

At the end of the process, the town will be provided with a conceptual master plan for the land.

Atlantic salmon

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