The Interagency Stream Connectivity Working Group was created in 2009 with direction from Governor John Baldacci to improve the coordination between state agencies regarding connectivity and river restoration. Growing interest and awareness of the importance of connectivity led to expanding this group to include federal agencies and non-governmental groups and now includes Maine Rivers as well as:
State Government: Maine Department of Transportation, Maine Department of Marine Resources, Maine State Planning Office, Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife; Maine Department of Conservation, Maine Department of Environmental Protection, Maine Office of Geographic Information Systems
Federal Government: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration-Fisheries, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Natural Resource Conservation Service
NGO representatives: American Rivers, Atlantic Salmon Federation, The Nature Conservancy; Project SHARE, Trout Unlimited
The Workgroup attempts to address the broad suite of connectivity issues, including those related to in-stream connectivity, upland-aquatic ecosystems, temperature, and fish and wildlife. Most work occurs at the committee level. One of the challenges that many members of the group acknowledge is funding—our rivers and streams would benefit from having staff dedicated to coordinate and implement efforts to improve connectivity efforts through the state, and the rivers of Maine would clearly benefit from funding designated to support restoration efforts. While these concerns may remain on the table for some time yet, it is clear that connecting the various state and federal agencies involved with river restoration, and including NGOs like Maine Rivers, will provide benefits.