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Migratory Fish Benefits Derived from Passage Restoration: What Have We Learned, Where Are We Headed?
Restoration of migratory fish populations is a goal of most dam removals and other types of fish passage projects, often driven by an array of federal, state and local agencies, non-governmental organizations, and other partners and supporting funding sources. The Northeast has now experienced more than two decades of successful, and primarily run-of-the-river dam removals for restoring diadromous fish runs and other ecological services, as well as contributing other increasing community resiliency. While restored fish runs are a priority targeted goal and expected outcome of fish passage restoration, few monitoring surveys and evaluation studies have been completed to document fishery benefits derived from fish passage restoration in New England, and elsewhere. We pose the question: Can restoration practitioners predict how successful a dam removal or other passage restoration project will be in restoring migratory fish populations, based on passage efficiencies and effectiveness? This session presents experiences of monitoring passage restoration projects in the Northeast, identifying and discussing both progress and challenges that have occurred, and takes into account the scale of river systems and watershed size and conditions that influence fish runs, passage success, species abundance, survival and growth, and population recovery. Further, we present that with science-based passage restoration monitoring and resulting data, predictive models can be applied in identifying fish population recovery and benefits to aid river restoration practitioners and advocates in targeting future dam removals, and to help strengthen public support and funding for dam removals and other passage restoration in the Northeast, and beyond.
Coastal Ecological Restoration – General