River herring, also known as alewives, swim in a stream on May 16, 2021, in Franklin, Maine. The fish were once headed for the endangered species list but have been making a comeback in some U.S. states. Credit: Robert F. Bukaty / AP

A fishway at the Woodland Dam on the St. Croix River in Baileyville will be modernized thanks to a $2 million grant from the National Fish Passage Program.

The fish lift project will replace a 1960s-era fishway that was deemed too small, poorly designed and a safety hazard, in addition to hampering the migration of fish.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service administers the National Fish Passage Program, which this year is receiving $35 million to help support 39 such projects in 22 states. It is supported by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law enacted in 2021 which will provide $200 million over five years to support fish passage efforts across the country.

Three dams located along the lower St. Croix River have prevented most anadromous (sea-run) fish, which spend most of their lives in the ocean but return to rivers and streams to spawn, from reaching traditional spawning grounds. The fish lift is expected to provide fish with access to more than 600 miles of rivers and streams in the watershed.

The National Fish Passage Program project at the Woodland Dam will include a state-of-the-art fish lift that will enable species such as American shad, American eel, alewives and blueback herring to advance farther upriver. Atlantic salmon and short-nosed sturgeon, both of which are on the federal endangered species list, also are expected to benefit.

Correction: The story has been updated to note the correct amount of money provided by the National Fish Passage Program.

Pete graduated from Bangor High School in 1980 and earned a B.S. in Journalism (Advertising) from the University of Maine in 1986. He grew up fishing at his family's camp on Sebago Lake but didn't take...