2022 Trout Unlimited Conservation Professional Award

Augusta – Paul Christman, a Marine Scientist with the Maine Department of Marine Resources (DMR) Bureau of Searun Fisheries and Habitat has received the 2022 Trout Unlimited (TU) Conservation Professional Award.

The award, presented during TU’s July Annual Meeting in Portland, recognizes Christman’s efforts to restore endangered Atlantic salmon on Maine rivers including the Kennebec, the Sheepscot, and the Androscoggin.

A nomination letter co-signed by TU members praised Christman’s hard work and tenacity to restore Atlantic salmon in the Sandy River, a tributary of the Kennebec which includes vital habitat considered key to the prospects for recovery.

“The fact that we still have Atlantic salmon in the Kennebec River is largely a result of Paul’s vision, tenacity, and hard work over the last 20 years,” stated the nomination.

“Paul has been the leader of the innovative egg planting operations on the Sandy River for many years,” stated the nomination. “This involves the planting of Atlantic salmon eggs in river bottom sediments in winter months, and Paul and a determined team of volunteers have made this happen year after year on a shoestring budget. These eggs produce fish that grow up in the wild rather than in the artificial environment of fish hatcheries. Consequently, the Kennebec River has a higher percent return of wild-reared salmon than the Penobscot, where returns are dominated by hatchery-reared smolts.”

Prior to joining DMR in 2012, Christman worked as a Fisheries Biologist with the Maine Atlantic Salmon Commission where he planned, implemented, and directed Atlantic salmon research and stock assessment projects encompassing central and southern Maine coastal streams. He collected population and habitat assessment data, conducted data analysis, prepared technical reports, and collaborated with State and Federal agencies.

At DMR he administers and coordinates research, assessment, data management, and reporting activities as a Team Leader in the Bureau of Searun Fisheries and Habitat. In that role, Paul oversees an integrated research and assessment project for all life stages of Atlantic salmon in cooperation with NOAA and US Fish and Wildlife Service scientists and interacts with a variety of state and federal and tribal agencies on species recovery.

“This award recognizes Paul’s longstanding commitment to searun fisheries restoration, and his unwavering dedication to improving access to vital habitat,” said Maine Department of Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher. “At DMR, his work to foster collaborations at the local, state, regional and federal level has also paved the way for many important and productive partnerships.”
“Paul is deserving of this tremendous honor,” said Bureau Director Sean Ledwin. “His leadership in the Searun Fisheries and Habitat Bureau has been invaluable. He has been a vital part of DMRs efforts to improve the prospects of recovery for the iconic Atlantic salmon.”

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