Fish In Machias River Getting Shot Of Calcium 

A federally funded project is trying to counter the affect acid rain has had on maine’s rivers and streams and the fish that live in those rivers.A group of high school and college students working in Township 37 are part of Project Share, a non-profit conservation group, made up of state and federal agencies, that specializes in habitat improvement.Their latest project is an attempt to make the offshoots of the Machias river more liveable for the fish that call this river home. “This is all salmon river here,” says Mark Whiting of the Department of Environmental Protection, “especially since the downstream culvert was replaced, so fish now have access up here and by golly they’re using it.”100 years of acid rain has taken a toll on rivers in Maine, washing away some of the materials the fish need to be healthy, most notably calcium carbonate. “And we believe the fish are ill because of that. They’re not as big as they used to be, not as strong, not as healthy. And so this an experiment to see if we make it better by putting a calcium carbonate product, in this case clam shells, in the river,” says Whiting.It’s the first time this has been tried in Maine, but it’s been successful in Europe. The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife was on hand to determine the types of fish that are here and how big they are.The Project Share crew of students hope to one day work in this field. “This is great. you get to be outside, you see bald eagles, you see moose, you know this is Maine,” says worker Jackie Vachon.Stephen Koeing, the Executive Director of Project Share, says they hope to be finished here soon. “As far as the Machias river, by the end of this year we’ll have done virtually every road crossing that’s a perennial fish bearing stream by the end of this year,” he says.The next stop is the top of the Narraguagas river.