MMBTU youth at work planting Atlantic Salmon Eggs

MMBTU youth board member and state Atlantic Salmon Restoration committee member, Henry Heyburn, plants Atlantic salmon eggs along the tributaries of the Sandy River.

I woke up the morning of February 11th dreary-eyed and wanting to sleep longer, like most days. But as I looked out my window at the beautiful Bigelow mountains, I remembered that I got to take a break from the monotony of being a high school junior doing school on Zoom and do something exciting today! I was signed up to help the Maine Department of Marine Resources plant Atlantic salmon eggs along the tributaries of the Sandy River. Although the thought of donning waders and hitting the water might sound threatening in mid-February, I was excited.

I met Jennifer Noll, the organizer of the day’s work, and several others from DMR and Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, in Farmington and we caravanned to our first location. It was a short drive and before I knew it, we crossed a culvert where a shallow creek went under the road and pulled into a small driveway. Although my enthusiasm vastly outweighed my experience in the field of salmon egg planting, I was ready to learn. We donned snowshoes and made the short trek to the small tributary of the Sandy River.

After breaking some ice to gain access to the prime gravely spawning spots, we got to it. The first step was sinking the 3-and-a-half-foot metal cones about 12 inches into the stream bed with the help of a backpack-mounted pressure hose that pushed aside the gravel.