The Appalacian Trail Conservancy's Marian Orlousky looks out from inside the 90-foot culvert that was removed in the summer of 2023 to improve aquatic connectivity on the Henderson Brook near the Appalachian Trail. Credit: Courtesy of Chris Gallaway / Horizonline Pictures

A project to remove a 90-foot culvert and replace it with a bridge to open spawning grounds for wild Atlantic salmon and brook trout is complete, according to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy on Monday.

The project was a collaboration between Appalachian Trail Conservancy and Appalachian Mountain Club, plus local, state and national partners.

The only remaining populations of wild Atlantic salmon are found in Maine.

Part of Henderson Brook, which flows into Pleasant River, was already being used by the salmon.

This change expands how far upstream Atlantic salmon and brook trout can swim to spawn, expanding their grounds for reproduction.

The salmon were using nearly four miles of the stream already, according to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service research. By removing a 90-foot-long galvanized steel culvert from under the Katahdin Iron Works Road next to the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, the groups opened up another 3.4 miles of Henderson Brook.

The culvert was replaced with a clear-span bridge and the road was reopened in October.

This is the final bridge over Henderson Brook that replaces the 90-foot culvert that prevented Atlantic salmon and brook trout from getting farther upstream to spawn. Credit: Courtesy of Leah Beck

Grant funding came from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in partnership with the Atlantic Salmon Federation of Maine. Other funding came from Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s Outdoor Fund, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Fish Passage Program and Eastern Brook Trout Joint Venture, Michele and Dan Coleman (trail names “Loon” and “Griswold”), KBF Canada, National Park Trust, Davis Conservation Fund, National Park Service, The Volgenau Foundation, as well as many donations from ATC members and supporters, ATC said in a press release.


Julie Harris is senior outdoors editor at Bangor Daily News. She has served in many roles since joining BDN in 1979, including several editing positions. She lives in Litchfield with her husband and three...