Taking Giant LEAPS for Salmon
Building on the success of International Year of the Salmon (2019), we are continuing research and outreach efforts through 2022.
Beginning in 2019, the International Year of the Salmon, and continuing through 2022, we are asking you to join us and our conservation partner in taking LEAPS for Atlantic salmon. LEAPS stands for:
Learn about salmon, their homes and neighbors
Explore your streams and rivers
Act now by working with local organizations to make your river salmon-friendly
Protect salmon by making sure your actions keep rivers healthy
Share what you’ve learned with family and friends. Encourage them to get involved!
NOAA Fisheries LEAPS for Atlantic Salmon
1. We celebrate the international importance of salmon.
International delegates at Veazie Park, Maine
Because our Atlantic salmon cross international borders as they travel into the marine environment, NOAA Fisheries works with other countries through the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization (NASCO) to help conserve and manage Atlantic salmon populations.
2. We examine stomach contents.
Stomach contents examined.
Our Atlantic Salmon Ecosystem Research Team studies wild salmon diet to help us understand more about their food web and the ecosystems that support these fish in the marine environment, and how what they eat may be impacting their survival.
3. We track smolt survival.
Telemetry transmitter being implanted in a salmon smolt.
To help understand what prevents smolt, or young salmon, from migrating to the ocean and growing to adults, our Atlantic Salmon Ecosystem Research Team studies how these fish travel through their natal rivers into nearby estuaries and out to the ocean.
4. We uphold the Endangered Species Act.
Milford fish lift.
We collaborate with our federal partners to protect endangered Atlantic salmon by helping to identify sensible solutions to reduce threats in their native habitat.
5. We provide funding to support local restoration.
Project SHARE culvert replacement.
Because Atlantic salmon and other sea-run fish depend on access to healthy upstream habitat to thrive, we offer grant opportunities to local groups involved in habitat improvement projects.
6. We work to improve fish migration.
Nature-like fish bypass at Blackman’s Stream.
Because barriers, such as dams, prevent Atlantic salmon from reaching upstream habitats, we work with federal agencies, industry, states, non-governmental organizations, and tribes to identify and implement solutions to reopen rivers to sea-run fish.
7. We study other sea-run fish.
Fish in the Milford fish lift.
Atlantic salmon share their habitat with other sea-run fish, a.k.a. diadromous fish. We study these fish too, because the health of these other populations can provide insight into the health and accessibility of these rivers for salmon.
8. We evaluate future threats.
Satellite tagging of adult Atlantic salmon off the coast of Greenland.
To plan for Atlantic salmon recovery into the future, we must also consider what will impact their habitat in the future. This includes studying the impacts of climate related factors on local rivers, estuaries, and the ocean.
9. We work with local partners.
Egg planting in March, led by Maine Department of Marine Resources.
Other governments and organizations have a vested interest in the health of Atlantic salmon and the rivers they use. To reach common goals of salmon recovery and healthy rivers, we collaborate with federal, state, and tribal organizations to manage salmon and their many threats.
10. We educate students on Atlantic salmon and their environments.
NOAA Fisheries helping net alewives with local students.
Because we need everyone’s help to build healthy habitat for Atlantic salmon now and into the future, we teach about the importance of Atlantic salmon conservation through events, classroom visits, and the creation of salmon curriculum.
Together, partner organizations LEAP for Atlantic salmon
Recovery efforts for Atlantic salmon are complex and require wide-spread responses to big problems, such as improving fish passage in spawning rivers and enhancing salmon survival. However, working together with partner organizations, we collectively can make a big difference. Take a look below to see how some organizations are helping to enhance Atlantic salmon conservation.
1. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service helps grow wild Atlantic salmon populations.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service runs two salmon fish hatcheries in Maine that supply eggs and salmon young to replenish salmon in rivers throughout Maine.
2. Project SHARE works to make rivers salmon friendly.
Project SHARE removes culverts and uses volunteers to support in-stream restoration efforts that improve fish passage and salmon habitat.
3. The University of Maine expands our knowledge about these fish and their ecosystem.
The University of Maine and other academic institutions explore research questions that will lead to improved management solutions by studying fish passage around dams and the impacts that these dams have on sea-run fish migrations.
4. Hirundo Wildlife Preserve and Maine Logging and Forestry Museum encourage people to connect with sea-run fish.
Organizations such as Hirundo Wildlife Preserve and the Maine Logging and Forestry Museum provide locations where members of the community can view sea-run fish returning to rivers, seeing first hand the positive impacts of restoration efforts.
5. The Atlantic Salmon Federation supports open rivers and spreads the word about Atlantic salmon.
Atlantic Salmon Federation advocates for dam removal projects and supports the Fish Friends program, bringing salmon eggs into classrooms across the state.
6. The Downeast Salmon Federation strengthens community involvement.
Downeast Salmon Federation works with communities to become involved in Atlantic salmon conservation efforts by providing volunteer opportunities in their hatchery that puts wild Atlantic salmon in rivers in Maine.
7. The Nature Conservancy supports restoration efforts.
The Nature Conservancy educates, supports, and aids in restoration efforts, including the Penobscot River Restoration Project, which removed several dams on the Penobscot and created safe fish passage around the lower most dams on the river.
8. Washington Academy develops leaders for conservation.
Washington Academy encourages high school students to become engaged in Atlantic salmon restoration and to serve as international ambassadors for salmon conservation.
9. The Department of Marine Resources researches and manages Atlantic salmon.
The Department of Marine Resources in Maine is engaged in salmon research and management and leads several efforts including egg incubation, parr studies, as well as, thermal and water quality studies.
10. The Penobscot Indian Nation protects and enhances fisheries resources and their cultural significance.
The Penobscot Indian Nation Fisheries Program manages and develops fisheries resources in a sustainable manner that protects and enhances the cultural integrity of the Tribe. This includes completing aquatic connectivity projects, reconnecting miles of stream habitat that will support Atlantic salmon and other sea-run fish of cultural significance.
You can LEAP for Atlantic Salmon
1. Make sure the salmon you eat is farmed responsibly.
2. Know which salmon you’re allowed to catch.
3. Volunteer for organizations that restore salmon habitat.
4. Support organizations that promote salmon recovery.
5. Reduce future marine debris by using less plastic.
6. Reduce pesticide use in your lawns and gardens.
7. Help clean up your local rivers and streams.
8. Support actions that open rivers to sea-run fish.
9. Support clean water initiatives in your area.
10. Spread the word about endangered Atlantic salmon in your community by hosting an event!