The Connecticut River restoration program (for salmon and all species) is managed by the Connecticut River Atlantic Salmon Commission, which has as members all four Connecticut River states, the US Fish & Wildlife Service, National Marine Fisheries Service, and the US Forest Service. The US Fish & Wildlife Service provides a Coordinator and maintains a website: http://www.fws.gov/r5crc/crc_stations.htm.
Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar), once abundant in the North Atlantic, migrated into New England rivers to spawn. Their numbers were decimated due to overfishing and loss of spawning habitat as a result of damming. With the improvement of water quality and reopening of river migratory passage, recent federal and state projects have been implemented to reintroduce Atlantic salmon to the Connecticut River system.
The counts of returning diadromous fish are obtained at the first dam on the river at Holyoke, MA. The dam is 33 feet high (hydroelectric project) and there are two multi-million dollar fishlifts operated by the City of Holyoke. The fish are counted visually by staff of the Massachusetts Division of Wildlife using a window in the side of the fishlift exit flume. There are four additional dams with fishways located on the Connecticut River upstream of the Holyoke Dam as well as others on upstream tributaries. More fishways and dam removals are planned as well as improvements to existing fishways. Therefore, the number of fish returning each year is a function of successful reproduction and survival in the river years earlier as well as survival rates in the ocean.