Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Maine
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Maine Project


Understanding downstream migratory survival of Atlantic salmon smolts in the Penobscot River Maine; effects of dams and restoration

January 2004 - September 2020


Personnel

Participating Agencies

  • NFWF
  • Brookfield Power
  • NOAA
  • ARRA
  • NOAA FISHERIES
Atlantic salmon smolt migration

The downstream migration of Atlantic salmon juveniles is a critical stage in their life cycle. During this stage, individuals undergo a series of morphological, physiological and behavioral changes that prepare them for the migration and for life at sea. Survival of juveniles in the Penobscot River has been studied since 2005, using acoustic and radio telemetry. Several areas of high concern, have been recognized - namely dams and the estuary. The system-wide survival of smolts in the Penobscot River has been consistently low throughout the years, but the influence of stocking timing, flow and delays are being revealed. Together with NOAA, USFWS, Penobscot Nation, we are working to understand how the range of conditions in the river can influence the odds of restoration success. These data are being used to inform both stocking strategies and stimulate innovative restoration techniques.

Research Publications Publication Date
Holbrook, C., M. Kinnison and J. Zydlewski. 2011 Survival of migrating Atlantic salmon smolts through the Penobscot River, Maine, USA: A pre-restoration assessment. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 140(5): 1255-1268. | Download 2011-09-30
Stich, D.S., Bailey, M., Holbrook, C., Kinnison, and Zydlewski J. (2015). Catchment-wide survival of wild- and hatchery-reared Atlantic Salmon smolts in a changing system. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences. 2:1–14, dx.doi.org/10.1139/cjfas-2014-0573 | Download 2015-08-31
Stich, D.S., Bailey, M.M. and Zydlewski J. (2014) Survival of Atlantic salmon Salmo salar smolts through a hydropower complex in the lower Penobscot River, Maine USA. Journal of Fish Biology. 85:1074-1096 | Download 2014-09-30
Stich, D.S., Kinnison, M., Kocik, J. and Zydlewski J. (2015) Initiation of migration and movement rates of Atlantic Salmon smolt migration in fresh water. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences. 72(9): 1339-1351. | Download 2015-05-31
Stich, D.S., Zydlewski, G.B., and Zydlewski J. (2015) Physiological preparedness and performance of Atlantic salmon Salmo salar smolts in relation to behavioural salinity preferences and thresholds. Journal of Fish Biology. doi:10.1111/jfb.12853 | Download 2015-12-31
Stich, D.S., Zydlewski, G.B., Kocik, J. and Zydlewski, J. (2015) Linking behavior, physiology, and survival of Atlantic Salmon smolts during estuary migration. Marine and Coastal Fisheries. 7(1) 68-86. | Download 2015-04-30
Zydlewski J., Stich, D.S., and Sigourney, D. (2016) Hard choices in assessing survival past dams; a comparison of single and paired release strategies. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences. (999) 1-13. DOI:10.1139/cjfas-2015-0480 | Download 2016-07-31
Presentations Presentation Date
Bailey, M., Zydlewski,J.,and Hawkes, J. (2009) Evaluation of passage success of Atlantic salmon smolts through the Penobscot River and Estuary, Maine 2009-01-01
Bailey, M. and Zydlewski, J. (2010) Multi-state models of downstream migrating Atlantic salmon smolts in the Penobscot River. 140th Annual Meeting of the American Fisheries Society. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. September 13-16. 2010-09-13
Bailey, M. and Zydlewski, J. (2011) Downstream .Success and Survival for Out-migrating Atlantic Salmon Smolts in the Penobscot River. 67th Northeast Fish and Wildlife Conference, Manchester, New Hampshire, April 17 2011-04-17
Holbrook, C., J. Zydlewski, and M. Kinnison (2008) Effects of hydroelectric dams on survival and behavior of migrating Atlantic salmon smolts in the Penobscot River, Maine. Atlantic Salmon Research Forum. Orono, ME. January 8. PRESENTED. 2008-01-01
Holbrook, C., Zydlewski, J., Kinnison, M. (2007) Assessments of migrating Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) smolts in the Penobscot River using acoustic telemetry. 137th Annual Meeting of the American Fisheries Society. San Francisco, CA. September 2-6. 2007-09-01
Holbrook, C., Zydlewski, J., Kinnison, M. (2007) Riverine passage success for pre-spawn adult Atlantic salmon in the Penobscot River. 137th Annual Meeting of the American Fisheries Society. San Francisco, CA. September 2-6. 2007-09-01
Stich, D., and Zydlewski, J. (2011). Atlantic salmon smolt behavior and survival 2010 and 2011. Penobscot River Restoration Trust, November 15, 2011. 2011-11-15
Stich, D., and Zydlewski, J. (2011). Atlantic salmon smolt movements and survival in the Penobscot River. The Nature Conservancy, September 15, 2011. INVITED 2011-09-15
Stich, D., Bailey,M., Holbrook, C., Kinnison, M., Kocik,J., Zydlewski,G., and Zydlewski, J. (2013) Path choice and survival of Atlantic salmon smolts in the Penobscot River, ME. Poster presentation to DSSRN, January 10. 2013-01-10
Stich, D., Bailey, M., Holbrook, C., Kinnison, M., Zydlewski, G., Zydlewski, J. (2012) Atlantic salmon smolt movements and survival in the Penobscot River. 2012 Forum, Atlantic Salmon and their Ecosystems, Bangor Maine January 10-11. 2012-01-10
Stich, D., Zydlewski, J., Bailey, M., Kinnison, M., Kocik, J., and Zydlewski G. (2013) Atlantic salmon smolt survival through dams in the Penobscot River. Maine Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit Annual Meeting, University of Maine, Orono, Maine. INVITED. March 21. 2013-03-21
Stich, D. S., M. Bailey, C. M. Holbrook, M. Kinnison, J. Kocik, G. Zydlewski, and J. Zydlewski (2012) Atlantic salmon smolt migration and survival prior to dam removal. Oral presentation at the 142nd Annual Meeting of the American Fisheries Society, Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN. 2012-08-21
Zydewski, J (2009) Recovery of the Penobscot River. Veazie Salmon Club. November 19. PRESENTED, INVITED 2009-11-19
Molina-Moctezuma, A., and Zydlewski, J. (2016) Behavioral characterization of downstream-migrating Atlantic salmon smolts in the estuary of the Penobscot River, Maine. Maine146th Annual Meeting of the American Fisheries Society. Kansas City, MO. August 23. 2016-08-23
Molina-Moctezuma, A., and Zydlewski, J. (2017) A decision making tool for evaluating biological and statistical thresholds for survival analysis. 147th Annual Meeting of the American Fisheries Society. Tampa, FL. August 20. 2017-08-20
Molina-Moctezuma, A., and Zydlewski, J. (2017)Assessing Atlantic salmon downstream migration in a changing system (Penobscot River, Maine) Annual meeting of the Maine Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, University of Maine, Orono. March 22. 2017-03-22
Molina-Moctezuma, A., Stich, D., and Zydlewski, J. (2016)Post-restoration assessment of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) survival during their downstream migration in the Penobscot River, Maine. 2016 Atlantic Salmon Ecosystems Forum. January 6-7. University of Maine, Orono, Maine. 2016-01-06
Molina-Moctezuma, A., Stich, D., and Zydlewski, J. (2016)Post-restoration assessment of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) survival during their downstream migration in the Penobscot River, Maine. Annual meeting of the Maine Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, University of Maine, Orono. March 23. 2016-03-23
Stich, D., Zydlewski, J., Bailey, M., Kinnison, M., Kocik, J., and Zydlewski G. (2013) Atlantic salmon smolt survival through dams in the Penobscot River. Maine Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit Annual Meeting, University of Maine, Orono, Maine. INVITED. March 21. 2013-03-21
Stich, D., Sheehan, T., and Zydlewski, J. Effects of Dam Passage Performance Standards on American Shad Population Demographics and Abundance. SUNY Faculty Research Day. November 13. INVITED. 2015-11-13
Stich, D., Sheehan, T., and Zydlewski, J. (2015) Performance standards modeling for alosines in the Northeast U.S. 145th Annual Meeting of the American Fisheries Society. Portland Oregon. August 16-20 INVITED. 2015-08-16
Stich, D., and Zydlewski, J. (2015) Modeling effects of dam passage performance standards on American shad populations. 1st Annual University of Maine Freshwater Science Symposium, University of Maine, Orono. January 29. 2015-01-29
Stich, D., Bailey, M. and Zydlewski, J. (2014) Expecting the Unexpected: Combined Effects of Dam Removal and Re-allocation of Hydropower on Atlantic Salmon Smolt Migrations. 144th Annual Meeting of the American Fisheries Society. Québec City, Canada. August 17-21. 2014-08-17
Theses and Dissertations Publication Date
Holbrook, C. 2007. MS Thesis: Behavior and survival of Migrating Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) in the Penobscot River and Estuary Maine: Acoustic Telemetry Studies of Smolts and Adults. 2007-03-31
Stich, D.S. 2014. Phenology and effects of dams on the success of Atlantic salmon migrations in the Penobscot River, Maine. Ph.D. dissertation, Wildlife Ecology, University of Maine, Orono, 257 pp. 2014-12-31