A broad coalition of landowners, state agencies and organisations have come together and is strongly motivated to enhance fisheries and improve Maine's network of forest roads.
At its core, the Fisheries Improvement Network (FIN) is about information sharing. FIN's latest collaborative effort is the production of a 10-minute video to bring FIN's message about the need for improved fish passage and upgraded stream crossings to a wider audience.
Helping with the video were FIN members from Maine's Sustainable Forestry Initiative Implementation Committee, (known as SIC), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Maine Forest Service, Plum Creek Timber, the Nature Conservancy, Wagner Forest Management and others.
The idea for FIN began with the SIC. With more than 30 organizations – governmental and nongovernmental – working on fish passage issues in Maine, the SIC saw a need for landowners to be informed in an organized way about the many initiatives related that are underway in Maine, particularly involving stream crossings and connectivity.
This topic is very relevant to landowners since most of the best inland fisheries habitat in the state intersects with Maine's working forest.
At the first FIN meeting in 2012, landowners presented a framework detailing how they would like to work to improve fish passage and stream connectivity at stream crossings. Essential to this framework was the desire to keep the process voluntary, allow landowners to proceed at their own pace and to provide landowners with information from the agencies to help allocate resources to areas where they would have the greatest habitat value.
The meetings are opportunities for landowners and managers to find out what is happening in the fisheries habitat arena and to share their own innovations and activities related to habitat improvement. Topics discussed at previous meetings have included:
- How landowners can access habitat data to make better decisions about crossing upgrade
- Stream barrier inventories
- Innovations in stream crossing design
- The Atlantic salmon recovery plan
- Funding, technical assistance and training opportunities open to landowners.
To see the video, visit www.sfimaine.org. To find a project near you or get more information about FIN, contact Pat Sirois, email@example.com or 207-622-9288.