Downeast Salmon Federation Purchases Smelt Brook Property in Sullivan


Removing this dam and reconnecting Smelt Brook to the bay supports the work done on fish passage on neighboring Flander’s Stream.

DSF has acquired a 6.7-acre parcel on Ocean House Road in Sullivan that surrounds the head of tide of Smelt Brook—which has been blocked by a stone dam for over fifty years. This is a multi-faceted land conservation and habitat restoration project in Sullivan, Maine, which will reconnect Smelt Brook to Smelt Cove and open up habitat for sea-run fish like Brook Trout and Rainbow Smelt. Other aims of the project are to restore ecosystem productivity by providing space for the salt marsh to re-establish, and provide an outdoor classroom for the nearby high school. Historically Flander’s Bay boasted commercial smelt and tomcod harvests as well as recreational native sea-run fisheries.

Removing this dam and reconnecting Smelt Brook to the bay supports the work done in recent years to improve fish passage on neighboring Flander’s Stream and bring smelt back to Smelt Brook. DSF plans on working with students from Sumner High School—an upstream neighbor on Smelt Brook. These students can help monitor the stream before and after restoration, participate in re-vegetating the salt marsh wetland, visit during various fish runs throughout the year, and help design a future use for the property. DSF is also engaging local artists to help repurpose the granite blocks from the dam to create benches for an outdoor education area.

Restoring habitat to support healthy populations of sea-run fish and fully functioning estuaries is a team effort. So far DSF has raised over $150,000 and has approximately $50,000 left to raise for the project.