Saco Salmon Restoration Alliance & Hatchery
P.O. Box 115, Saco, ME 04072
We are a publicly funded all-volunteer non-profit organization. Despite the obstacles of COVID-19, our volunteers have continued to contribute between 2000 and 3000 hours yearly to keep our salmon hatchery in operation.
In December, we received a $10,776 grant from the Bass Pro Shops Cabela’s Outdoor fund to specifically upgrade hatchery equipment. This has enabled us to fund the new water quality lab test equipment, upgrade the security system to a more user-friendly system, and fund other equipment that needed upgrading or replacing.
The total hatchery volunteer hours for 2021 was 2,852.38. Thank you to all who participated in our organization’s activities!
Staff and students at the UNE MSC spawned salmon on January 4th and again on January 18, 2022. Green eggs were transferred to our hatchery for incubation.
The Fish Friends program will be active this year and we have twenty-three area schools participating which is about twelve more schools than last year. Pam Aslinger will be managing the program with the help of Dorothy Marecaux and David Adams. We are hoping to give hatchery tours to the students this Spring, but this has not been confirmed.
We will have three interns volunteering from UNE this semester and each student will be required to complete 120 hours devoted to the hatchery. They all will receive three UNE credits for their volunteer work. We will also have a couple of UNE citizenship volunteers required to volunteer for 15 hours each.
The last spawning took place at the UNE MSC February 13th, but this did not produce any eggs.
On February 26th, John Blunt took a crew to the field and planted 1800 wild Atlantic salmon eggs from the first spawning in Swan Pond Creek with the Redd-O-Matics
The electricity “standard offer” for businesses has increased over 77% since the beginning of January 2022. For example, last February we used 11,745 KW of electricity for 31 days of billing and the cost was $1408.08. February 2022, we used 8399 KW of electricity for 32 days and the cost was $2308.29. Despite our continuous pursuit to lower our energy usage, the cost of electricity has gone up.
On March 2nd, to save electricity, we moved the remaining eggs from the incubator trays to an aquarium. We shut down one pump and two chillers. We also added a programmable thermostat to the baseboard heaters in the conference room and the lab.
The eggs remaining in the aquarium will not be enough to supply the Fish Friends schools with wild Atlantic salmon eggs. Eggs for the Fish Friends program will be supplied by Green Lake Fish hatchery. One hundred eyed-up eggs will be distributed on March 8th to each of the twenty-three area schools on our Fish Friends program this year.
109 salmon broodstock were transferred from the hatchery to the UNE MSC on April 1st with thanks to the eight volunteers who helped with the project. The UNE MSC is currently caring for 185 of our broodstock.
The salmon remaining in the hatchery are as follows; Tank four now has 203 broodstock. Sixteen three-year-old salmon are in tank seven and thirty-eight two-year-old E-fished parr are now in tanks six. Tank five is empty & cleaned.
Our three UNE Interns, Nick Esposito, Elle Harris, and Giovanni Aulizio have finished with their volunteer help at the hatchery and are preparing for final exams. Nick Esposito, our Senior Intern, gave a talk at a symposium at UNE on May 6th regarding our hatchery and its work with salmon. He included a poster and displayed a Redd-O-Matic and its use for planting eggs in the streams. Thank you, Nick!
We will be looking for extra help to keep the hatchery in operation from now through the middle of September.
NOTE: We are requesting that anyone who catches a wild Atlantic salmon, please report the following information to Garry Kasten by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please let me know the person who caught it, the date, size of the fish and location where you caught the fish. Thank you!
Fish Kill Report – West side of Cataract Falls - May 31, 2022
I received a call from Destiny L. while I was at the salmon hatchery on May 31st, about a fish kill on the West side of Cataract Falls in Biddeford, Maine. I personally inspected the site at high tide on June 1st and observed a small flow of water at the falls which was not enough to support passage of any fish upstream. According to a local angler who witnessed the event May 30th, this left hundreds of Alewife, at least one sea run bass, at least two wild Atlantic Salmon and an undermined number of striped bass suddenly stranded on the rocks to die as the tide went out. The water was so low that anglers were walking along the rocks on the Biddeford side of the channel collecting lures. I suggested that this issue was caused by the inflatable bladder on the West channel of Cataract falls. This was not correct. This may have been caused by resetting the gate control which resulted in a decreased flow of water over the West side of Cataract falls.
Note: Another gate adjustment was made sometime after June 1st which increased the water flowing over the West channel of Cataract Falls and it now is flowing normally.
David Heidrick at Brookfield White Pine Hydro in Lewiston, Maine sent me an email on June 10, 2022, regarding my newsletter post in which it appeared to me was caused by the inflatable bladder. It was a “gate change” that caused the issue. Therefore, I have modified the newsletter to reflect this change.
I have quoted Mr. Heidrick’s email as follows.
“You may be interested to know that, at Brookfield facilities, we implement fish stranding and relocation measures whenever and wherever it is both reasonable and safe to do so.” “Regarding our operations, on May 30, 2022, at approximately 2:30pm, a gate change was made at the West Channel Dam to maintain compliance with our FERC licensed head pond elevation at the Cataract Project in response to reduced inflows into the Project from upstream.” Note: Low tide 6:10 PM 1.4 ft 5/30/22.
Mr. Heidrick also mentioned “As Mr. LeBlanc previously communicated, the alewife will school on their own or be chased by predators, such as bass, into ledge pools in the tailrace. For sites like Cataract, that experience tailwater variation due to tidal influences, these fish can become stranded when the tide goes out.”
“As an entity which has invested heavily in fish passage infrastructure, we share the concerns of the SSRAH related to fish mortality events. We will continue to go above and beyond what is required of us to support migratory fish species.” End of quotes from Mr. Heidrick’s email.
Information regarding minimum water flow requirements over the West and East channel of Cataract Falls:
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 65 FERC 62,073
FEDERAL ENERGY REGULATORY COMMISSION
Central Maine Power Company Project No. 2528-018
ORDER APPROVING REVISED MINIMUM FLOW MONITORING PLAN, Issued October 22, 1993
On March 8, 1993, the Central Main Power Company, licensee
for the Cataract Project, FERC No. 2528, filed for the
Commission's approval of a revised minimum flow monitoring plan.
The original plan was approved under Order Approving and
Modifying Minimum Flow Monitoring Plan issued May 9, 1990.1
In the filing, the licensee indicated that the original plan
was revised to include (in addition to the flow requirements per
the license article 401)2 a minimum flow requirement in the
Water Quality Certification Permit issued by the Maine Department
of Environmental Protection (MDEP) on August 12, 1992. This
requirement provides a minimum flow of 250 cfs from the East and
West Channel Dams in accordance with the Water Release Agreement,
signed on October 25, 1991, by the licensee, the city of
Biddeford, and the City of Saco. MDEP approved the revised
minimum flow monitoring plan on February 26, 1993.
Implementation of the licensee's revised minimum flow
monitoring plan is adequate for protection and enhancement of
fish and wildlife resources in the Saco River.
The Director orders:
(A) The revised minimum flow monitoring plan filed on
March 8, 1993, for the Cataract Project, FERC No. 2528, is approved.
July – August 2022
We have not received any comments from Brookfield or the FERC regarding the deviation of the flow requirements for Cataract Falls East & West dams issued 10/22/93 by FERC No 2528.
Our support staff has been maintaining the hatchery for the summer and until the UNE student interns start their work on September 1st.
September – November 2022
We were fortunate to have two University of New England interns supervising the hatchery work. Morgan Segrest and Alex Chopivsky did an excellent job maintaining the hatchery and both required 120 hours of volunteer work for their three Internship credits from UNE. Morgan and Alex also trained at least ten Citizenship volunteers to help at the hatchery. Each citizenship volunteer had to complete fifteen volunteer hours at the hatchery. The interns and citizenship volunteers will have completed their volunteer work before the Christmas Break from UNE by the middle of December 2022. Our regular staff will take over the hatchery work until the students return in the middle of January 2023.
Status of the UNE MSC wild Atlantic salmon broodstock. Dr. Mike Galloway reporting.
Number of broodstock currently at the UNE MSC = 148.
Number of male salmon stocked in the Saco River on November 6, 2022, = 55.
Number of female salmon moved on 11/6/22 from the salmon hatchery to the UNE MSC = 69.
There were at least eight volunteers helping transfer female broodstock from the hatchery to the UNE MSC.
We are taking care of 257 salmon at the hatchery
The Fish Friends program will be in operation this year with at least eleven area schools participating this year. Pam Aslinger will be mentoring this program with help from Directors David Adams and Dorothy Marecaux. We plan to host tours at the hatchery for the eleven area schools next Spring.
We currently have 224 salmon in the hatchery being raised for broodstock and there are 148 broodstock at the UNE MSC. We are hoping to receive more salmon eggs from the UNE MSC between December 2022 and February 2023 so that we can continue to plant eggs in area streams and provide eggs for the Fish Friends program.
The total hatchery volunteer hours for 2022 = 2113.9.
Happy New Year!
This newsletter was prepared by:
Garry Kasten, Treasurer & Volunteer Coordinator
Saco Salmon Restoration Alliance and Hatchery
PO Box 115, Saco, ME 04072
Thank you all for your generous support.