The federal government is ending its conservation effort to restore Atlantic salmon in the Connecticut River basin because the nearly half-century old program is not working well enough to justify the continued cost – and a similar program in the Merrimack River may also be in jeopardy.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is beginning a three-year evaluation of a similar program in the Merrimack River basin in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, which could lead to the end of its participation in Atlantic salmon restoration programs there as well, said Fish and Wildlife Regional Assistant Director for Fisheries Bill Archambault.

In 2010, Fish and Wildlife stocked around 6 million tiny fry and 75,000-90,000 larger salmon smolts throughout the Connecticut River estuary at a cost of about $2 million.

This spring, about 50 adult salmon returned to the Connecticut to spawn in the tributaries where they were released, Archambault said.

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Nashua Telegraph