Penobscot Nation grant to help reduce water pollution on tribal lands

Posted July 26, 2012, at 1:07 p.m.

INDIAN ISLAND, Maine — The Penobscot Indian Nation has received a $149,000 grant to prevent water pollution on tribal lands.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the award on Wednesday, saying the funds will be used to improve and protect water quality in the Penobscot River and Little Alder Stream, which is located in Franklin County.

“Clean water and protection of aquatic habitat is of great importance to the Penobscot Nation,” said Dan Kusnierz, the Penobscot Nation water resources program manager. “The tribe greatly appreciates this commitment from the EPA that will enable us to significantly reduce eroding soils and thereby protect the quality of waters on and adjacent to tribal lands.”

The funding will help the Penobscot Nation reduce the amount of sediments and runoff entering the Penobscot River by stabilizing portions of the riverbank that are eroding and building up vegetation on the banks to prevent further erosion, according to an EPA press release.

The tribe said the effort complements a series of dam removals and upgrades under way through the Penobscot River Restoration Trust aimed at reviving the Penobscot River watershed and restoring sea-run fish populations, including the federally endangered shortnose sturgeon and Atlantic salmon, to Maine’s interior.

The Little Alder Stream portion of the project is also aimed at cutting the amount of sediments flowing into the stream and its tributaries by setting “best management practices,” or rules, maintenance procedures and other regulations, on all-terrain vehicle trails that lead to a sensitive high-elevation lake with a native brook trout fishery near the stream.

“EPA is very pleased to provide much-needed funding to help the Penobscot Nation do some very important work that will have a real impact improving water quality and habitat within the Penobscot River,” said Curt Spalding, administrator of the EPA’s New England regional office.

The grant was one of 20 the EPA announced this week. The agency received 52 grant proposals for similar projects.

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