Columbia Falls, Maine


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The East Machias Aquatic Research Center (EMARC)
The East Machias Aquatic Research Center

 
The East Machias Aquatic Research Center is a project of the Downeast Salmon Federation (DSF). The DSF is in the process of developing a research and community outreach facility on the East Machias River which will include a fish hatchery, a flow-through fresh water experimental facility, a state certified water quality testing
laboratory, a Technical Resources Center, and a small Historic Museum - Education Center.
The DSF acquired the donated building in East Machias from Bangor Hydro in 1998. The 5,050 sq.ft. warehouse sits on 1.25 acres of land with 350 feet of river frontage on a historic site in Downtown East Machias.

The EMARC Water Quality Laboratory

 
The EMARC Water Quality Laboratory will be located centrally to all the Downeast rivers. Each year watershed council members and employees of the State and Federal agencies collect numerous samples on the five Downeast rivers. A Water Quality Monitoring Plan has been established by ME DEP and local partners to coordinate the efforts of all parties involved and to utilize this testing facility in the future for all watersheds in Eastern Maine. Water samples will be delivered to the laboratory and analyzed in a timely manner since the laboratory is located close to the source of the samples. Data will be recorded on site for analysis and made available immediately to the agencies and private parties via the Internet.
This water quality testing facility will be state of the art and state certified. To help defray costs, the laboratory will also operate on a "for fee" basis to the general public and industry. To broaden the research base in Downeast Maine, the laboratory will be
available for student internships, class projects, or individual research projects for students attending the University of Maine Machias (UMM), and Washington County Technical College (WCTC), and area high schools.

The Technical Resources Center

The Technical Resources Center is designed to provide state of the art data acquisition of past and present projects for all the watershed councils, agencies, and the general public. The Center will also function for training field technicians in the proper use
and calibration of testing equipment, in the use of GIS mapping systems, and other research methodologies. Data of fish stockings, mortality, and migrations, as well as water quality, will be collated for comparative analysis in cooperation with State and Federal agencies and delivered to town governments within the region.
The Technical Resources Center will be an archive of information available to watershed councils, schools, the public and visiting research scientists. This facility will be the work station for planning and recording research projects. Visiting scientists to the
EMARC will use the resource center as an office where they will have access to computers and office equipment while conducting field or laboratory research.

The EMARC Wet Lab/Fish Hatchery

The EMARC Wet Lab/Fish Hatchery will function to enhance salmon stocks on the Downeast rivers and to address concerns of declining populations of other anadromous fish species, such as shad. To date, current Atlantic salmon fry stocking programs fall short of saturating existing salmon habitat. With the work of watershed council members and industry, Atlantic salmon habitats will be capable of greater carrying capacities (productivity). Therefore there will be an increasing demand for a more aggressive salmon stocking program. The East Machias River Fish Hatchery will continue the management of a river specific Atlantic salmon species on each of these rivers in cooperation with the responsible agencies. In addition to the salmon stocking program, the DSF will work to enhance and manage fish populations of other migratory fish species, such as alewives, smelt, shad and American eels.

The Freshwater Flow-Through Experimental Laboratory

The Freshwater Flow-Through Experimental Laboratory will provide a facility for original research opportunities involving Maine freshwater and anadromous species. For example, there is an identified need to examine water quality factors such as pollutants, temperature, pH, and turbidity for their effects on salmon stocks or other species. UMM and other area students will be encouraged to use this facility for internships and class projects. State and Federal agencies and visiting scientists will be encouraged to use the facility to meet their own specific needs.

The EMARC Downeast Rivers Historic Museum - Education Center

The EMARC Downeast Rivers Historic Museum - Education Center will be open to the public so that the past, present, and future of the rivers can be better understood by the public. The Downeast rivers have a rich history of log drives, ship building, power plants, and salmon fishing. Today none of these activities exist on any of the Downeast rivers. The work of many to preserve and restore the salmon stocks will be documented along side the rich history of the boom day era. Area Historic Societies have indicated that they have much to share and are in need of display space. The future of these rivers depends upon educating the public to be good stewards of our land and water resources. The Downeast Rivers Historic Museum will be a central focal point toward reaching this goal.
This facility will also function as a large group meeting hall. Watershed coalition meetings will be hosted here in comfort, in a setting paralleling the mission of these
organizations.