Construction begins on East Machias Aquatic Research Center

Trusses being set in place for a new roof on the former Bangor Hydro building in East Machias 7/4/06.

Trusses being set in place for a new roof on the former Bangor Hydro building in East Machias 7/4/06.

Construction has begun on the Downeast Salmon Federation’s (DSF) East Machias Aquatic Research Center (EMARC) on the bank of the river in downtown East Machias. Most will know the large green concrete building on the bank of the river behind Archibald’s store. This building, which was formerly owned by Bangor Hydro Electric and has sat empty for almost ten years, was given to the DSF and is now being renovated to house a state of the art fresh water aquatic research center. The renovation of the building is a project of the DSF in partnership with Washington Academy and The University of Maine at Machias. The facility will include a fresh water flow through research and fisheries enhancement hatchery, a museum and visitors center, a wet laboratory/ classroom, a certified water quality laboratory, a GIS and technical resources center, office space for staff and visiting researchers, and a climate controled river and fisheries archival storage facility.

To date the DSF has raised over $300,000 and received another $100,000 in donated equipment and materials. With funding and materials in place Phase I of construction has begun, including a new roof, a water intake system and hatchery facilities to rear East Machias River specific Atlantic salmon to stock into the river. The new roof which can be seen from Rt1 driving through town should be completed this week. Provided that water levels come down in August the water intake system will be installed, which will allow the plumbing of the hatchery and potential rearing of salmon as early as January 2007. The DSF has also just received a grant from the Maine Historical Advisory Board for $ 5,000 for the construction of a climate controlled, fireproof vault for the storage of salmon and river related historical documentation to be housed at EMARC as part of the visitors center/museum.

Rep. Eddie Dugay, DSF Ex. Dir. Dwayne Shaw, Don Sprangers (DSF), Governor Baldacci, Gerry Zegers (DSF) and Tom Finlay 7/8/06.

Rep. Eddie Dugay, DSF Ex. Dir. Dwayne Shaw, Don Sprangers (DSF), Governor Baldacci, Gerry Zegers (DSF) and Tom Finlay 7/8/06.

The DSF and its partners are very excited about this project and its many benefits for Washington County. With the new research facility there is the potential to begin to solve some of the problems facing wild salmon. The students of Washington County will have access to this top notch educational facility, and there will be a first rate tourist destination in East Machias. These benefits will combine to provide economic growth and opportunities for Washington County.

The DSF has raised substantial grant money for this project, but this project has also been made possible by the almost 500 members of our organization and other generous donors. We have received donations ranging from $5 to $15,000 and would welcome additional support. Anyone interested in learning more about this exciting project should contact the DSF at 483-4336 or info@mainesalmonrivers.org

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