Penobscot project leader wins conservation award

Posted Nov. 14, 2013, at 10:54 a.m.

ST. ANDREWS, New Brunswick — The Atlantic Salmon Federation announced on Thursday that Laura Rose Day of Hallowell, Maine, is the 2013 recipient of the prestigious Lee Wulf Atlantic Salmon Conservation Award.

Rose Day was recognized because of her work as the executive director of the Penobscot River Restoration Project.

The Penobscot project is the largest river sea-run fisheries restoration project ever undertaken in the eastern U.S., according to an ASF press release. The project called for decommissioning three dams on the Penobscot, the removal of two of those dams, and improved fish passage at another. As a result of the project, access will be improved on more than 1,000 miles of habitat for 11 species of sea-run fish.

“Laura has been involved in every aspect of the project from direct negotiations with the dam owners to purchase of the dams to helping raise $60 million in public and private funds,” said Christopher H. Buckley Jr., chairman of the ASF’s U.S. board of directors in the press release. “She has been instrumental in directing an unprecedented collaboration among the Penobscot Indian Nation, seven conservation groups, hydropower companies and state and federal agencies to restore the river’s ecosystem, while maintaining energy production. She kept everyone working together through both the challenges and the celebrations.”

Rose Day was trained in environmental and energy law and moved to Maine in 1998 to become the watershed program director at the Natural Resources Council of Maine.

She was instrumental in the final phases of the removal of Edwards Dam on the Kennebec River and helped found Maine Rivers. She eventually became the executive director of the Penobscot River Restoration Trust.

“The lower Penobscot flows freely today due to the passionate, persistent efforts of countless anglers, philanthropists, public servants, elected officials and other citizens who appreciate the importance of the Penobscot River to Atlantic salmon recover,” Rose Day said in the release. “I am fortunate to play a role at this important moment in the restoration of this great Atlantic salmon river, the Penobscot.”

The Great Works dam was removed in 2012 and the Veazie Dam’s removal, which began earlier this year, is nearly complete. As a result, the lower Penobscot River is flowing freely for the first time in nearly 200 years. The Howland Dam will be decommissioned and bypassed by 2015.

Lee Wulf was an angler, artist, author and filmmaker who dedicated 60 years of his life to conserving wild Atlantic salmon and advocating for live release angling.

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