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Office of the Secretary
April 21, 2008
Joan Moody
(202) 208-6416

Secretary of the Interior Kempthorne Presents Cooperative Conservation Award for Earth Day to Maine's Penobscot River Restoration Partnership

WASHINGTON, D.C.— At a ceremony in the nation's capital today, Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne recognized the outstanding contributions of the Penobscot River Restoration Trust to recover endangered wild Atlantic salmon in the United States. The Maine partnership is one of 21 recipients nationwide of the Department of the Interior's Cooperative Conservation Award.

The 21 awards recognized the work of more than 700 groups and individuals who achieved excellence in conservation through collaboration and partnerships.

"These outstanding partnerships and cooperative efforts represent a fundamental way in which our Department provides stewardship for America with integrity and excellence," Secretary Kempthorne said. "They embody a broad spectrum of conservation work from restoring wetlands, rangelands and mine lands to protecting wildlife, conserving water and fighting invasive species to teaching conservation values to the next generation."

The award to the Penobscot River Restoration Trust recognizes the partnership for "one of the most ecologically significant and innovative river restoration efforts in the nation. It represents the last best chance to save wild Atlantic salmon from extinction in the United States, as well as restoring 100 percent of the historic habitat in Maine's largest river for endangered shortnose sturgeon and severely depleted Atlantic sturgeon populations, along with eight other species of migratory fish."

The award citation notes that "in an unprecedented collaboration, hydropower company PPL Corporation, the Penobscot Indian Nation, six conservation groups, and Federal and State resource agencies are cooperating to restore 11 species of sea run fish to the Penobscot River while maintaining electrical generating capacity." (The list of awardees appears at the end of this release.)

The Penobscot River Restoration project is a collaboration of diverse private, public and nonprofit entities that, together, are improving access to nearly 1,000 miles of river for sea-run fish. The nonprofit Penobscot River Restoration Trust implements the core aspects of the restoration effort, including purchase and removal of the two lowermost dams on the Penobscot River, Veazie and Great Works, and purchase and decommissioning of a third dam, Howland Dam, where a proposed nature-like fish bypass is being planned.

The Department of the Interior's Cooperative Conservation Award recognizes conservation achievements resulting from the cooperation and participation of individual landowners, citizen groups, private sector, nongovernmental organizations, and Federal, State, local, and/or tribal governments.

"This is a fitting start to a week of Earth Day activities," the Secretary told the crowd at the main Interior auditorium. "If anyone were to ask me why America is the world leader in conservation of natural resources, I would simply point to the people in this auditorium. You are the spirit and you are the hands of cooperative conservation."

Penobscot River Restoration (Maine)
Nominated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
American Rivers
Andrew Fahlund
Atlantic Salmon Federation
Andrew Goode
Maine Audubon
Sally Stockwell
Maine Dept. of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife
Roland D. Martin
Maine Dept. of Marine Resources
Pat Keliher
George Lapointe
Maine State Planning Office
Todd Burrowes
Martha Freeman
National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
Thomas Kelsch
Natural Resources Council of Maine
Lisa Pohlmann
The Nature Conservancy, Maine Chapter
Tom Rumpf
NOAA Fisheries Service
John Catena
Matt Collins
Christopher Doley
Pat Montanio
Penobscot Indian Nation
John Banks
Kirk Francis
Penobscot River Restoration Trust
George Aponte Clarke
Cheryl Daigle
Laura Rose Day
PPL Corporation
Dick Fennelly
Scott Hall
Dennis J. Murphy
Trout Unlimited
Elizabeth Maclin
Jeff Reardon
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Marvin Moriarty
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Gulf of Maine Coastal Program
Stewart I. Fefer
Alexander R. Hoar
Lori H. Nordstrom
Ben Rizzo

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