Machias woman donates more than 10 acres to salmon federation to be sold for its capital campaign

Students exit Downeast Salmon Federation's East Machias Aquatic Research Center in this November 2013 file photo. A donation by a Machias woman will benefit a capital campaign to make improvements and renovations to the East Machias Aquatic Research Center, which contains a fish hatchery.
Tim Cox | BDN
Students exit Downeast Salmon Federation's East Machias Aquatic Research Center in this November 2013 file photo. A donation by a Machias woman will benefit a capital campaign to make improvements and renovations to the East Machias Aquatic Research Center, which contains a fish hatchery. Buy Photo
Posted Feb. 28, 2014, at 11:56 a.m.
Last modified Feb. 28, 2014, at 5:53 p.m.

EAST MACHIAS, Maine — A Machias businesswoman donated more than 10 acres to the Downeast Salmon Federation to be sold to support its capital campaign, the conservation organization announced.

The gift of 10.5 acres of waterfront property in Machiasport by Sandra Bryand was scheduled to be formally announced at the federation’s open house of its East Machias Aquatic Research Center on Friday night.

“This will be directed toward our capital campaign for investment in our facilities in East Machias,” federation executive director Dwayne Shaw said Thursday.

The federation operates the East Machias Aquatic Research Center next to the East Machias River. The center also includes a fish hatchery.

The capital campaign seeks to raise $225,000 that will be used to renovate the second floor of the center building into a water quality laboratory, library, and archive and community meeting space. About $95,000 has been raised so far.

Bryand’s donation is one of the largest individual gifts to the capital campaign, according to Shaw. The grass-roots effort has relied on gifts as small as $10, he said.

The property donated by Bryand will be listed for sale with Eastland Realty in Machias with an asking price of $89,000.

“Sandi’s done a lot for the community over the years,” said Shaw.

Bryand attended the federation’s annual smelt fish fry in Columbia Falls in the spring of 2013 and learned the organization accepts donations of land. She previously had offered to give the land to another conservation organization.

The federation does “amazing” work, Bryand said Thursday. “They’re trying desperately to bring this species back their natural habitat.”

The tidal rivers of Washington County used to support a thriving Atlantic salmon fishery. The first fish to be caught in the spring used to be presented to the president, she recalled.

“I’m at a point in my life where I’m trying to downsize,” said Bryand, who is no stranger to philanthropy. “It’s better to give things away than to hold onto it for no reason.”

Bryand operates a thrift store business that accepts donations of used goods. She said she donates 100 percent of the profits — “a few thousand dollars” annually — for college scholarships, food banks, animal rescue groups, schools, adult education and more.

Bryand donated $20,000 to Machias about 20 years ago to purchase thermal imaging equipment for the Fire Department; the equipment is used to locate the source of a fire and can help reduce damage to a home. In 2001, her contribution of $9,000 helped purchase a used van equipped with a wheelchair lift that was donated to Sunrise Opportunities to help provide transportation for clients.

“My ethic of giving was taught to me by my parents,” said Bryand, whose father, Edward, invented technology for the paper industry. Her parents were well-known for their philanthropic giving.

“I continued their work,” said Bryand.

The federation has received a couple of other unique donations that will be sold for the benefit of the capital campaign. Robert Matey of Gouldsboro donated a handmade 15-foot dory — a duck trap wherry — valued at more than $9,000, and Dr. Paul Herrmann of Castine donated a custom fishing reel valued at about $3,000.

People interested in donating to the capital campaign may send a check to: Downeast Salmon Federation, 187 Main St., P.O. Box 201, Columbia Falls, ME 04623. For information about purchasing the dory or fishing reel, call the federation at 483-4336.

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