U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King and Congressman Bruce Poliquin applauded Wednesday’s announcement that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is awarding a $6 million grant to a Maine partnership led by the Nature Conservancy.

Getty Images

The grant will help private forestland owners reduce the impacts that flooding has on road networks and restore more than 250 miles of fish habitat in northern and eastern Maine.

Senators Collins and King and Congressman Poliquin wrote a joint letter of support for the initiative, called the Maine Aquatic Connectivity Restoration Project, in September.

“By restoring and reconnecting waterways and improving roads and bridges, this project will help improve fish habitats and enhance the forest economy in northern and eastern Maine,” said Senator Collins.

“This project represents the very best of Maine – environmental stewardship combined with economic growth and driven by innovative collaboration – all of which once again shows that, in Maine, preserving our environment and building our economy can go hand-in-hand,” Senator King said

“Our State’s fisheries and coastal habitats are treasures and key parts of Maine’s identity, providing for thousands of jobs through tourism, harvesting and other critical industries,” said Congressman Poliquin.

The 5-year Maine Aquatic Connectivity Restoration Project aims to replace several hundred culverts and fix fractured aquatic connectivity to over a dozen priority watersheds with the goal of restoring 250 miles of brooks, streams and rivers in northern and eastern Maine. This partnership is led by the Nature Conservancy and includes more than two dozen entities that include private forestland owners, tribal communities, federal agencies, conservation groups and local operators.

The grant comes through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP), which is administered by the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.