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CONTACT:
Liza Poinier, N.H. Fish and Game: (603) 271-3211
Martin Murray, PSNH: (603) 634-2228
Joe McKeon, U.S. Fish & Wildlife: (603) 595-3586
Julie Klett, New Hampshire Audubon: (603) 224-9909
Helen Dalbeck, Amoskeag Fishways: (603) 626-FISH
April 8, 2005

Amoskeag Fishways Partnership:
Celebrating 10 Years of the Magic of the Merrimack

CONCORD, N.H. -- If the Merrimack River is the life force of Manchester, the Amoskeag Fishways, an award-winning environmental education center, has been its beating heart since 1995. The partners of the Amoskeag Fishways Partnership -- Public Service of New Hampshire, N.H. Fish and Game, New Hampshire Audubon, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service -- today celebrated 10 years of success in providing environmental education and promoting wise stewardship of our water resources, "bringing to life the magic of the Merrimack" for the people of New Hampshire.

The mission of the Amoskeag Fishways Partnership is to increase science and environmental education opportunities at the Amoskeag Fishways visitor and education center in Manchester, and to enhance public awareness about the state's natural resources. The four partner organizations work cooperatively to create innovative, year-round educational programs and exhibits at the Fishways for people of all ages. The facility, which features exhibits, a fish ladder, viewing window and classroom space, has been visited by a half-million people since it opened its doors. Fishways staff and volunteers also reach out into the community, presenting programs on urban wildlife to school groups and others. More than 6,000 school programs have been delivered to date.

"The Amoskeag Fishways has been a remarkable partnership that serves as a model of the extraordinary alliance that can be built between public and private organizations in New Hampshire," noted Gary Long, PSNH president and chief operating officer. "The Amoskeag Fishways partnership is evolving into a long and wonderful journey that shows what can be done with the power of collaboration."

Each of the partners commented on the accomplishments of the Fishways:

Public Service of New Hampshire - Gary Long, President and Chief Operating Officer:
" Each of the partners involved in the Amoskeag Fishways partnership has demonstrated the highest level of commitment to the wildlife of the Merrimack River by bringing their experience, resources and expertise to the project. PSNH brings an extraordinary owned and operated site and a commitment to the best use of that site, creating a synergy between environmental stewardship and the company's core business."

New Hampshire Audubon - David Houghton, President:
" The Fishways success story shows that businesses, government, and nonprofits can all play critical roles in protecting our environment. The last ten years have shown that working in partnership can take us so much farther than going it alone. This kind of cooperative effort will be even more important in the years to come, as we grapple with New Hampshire's tremendous growth. I look forward to working with our partners in the years ahead as we take on that challenge."

New Hampshire Fish and Game Department - Lee Perry, Executive Director:
" The work of the Amoskeag Fishways partners has been of tremendous benefit to our fish and wildlife resources and the health of the watershed and the local economy. Over the last ten years, our effort has become more than just a partnership of organizations -- it's a collaboration with New Hampshire's communities and the people who live and work here. The Fishways works to bring in new generations of environmental stewards, who will do not only important conservation and restoration work in the future, but will help to maintain the high quality of life we all enjoy here in New Hampshire."

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - Joe McKeon, Supervisory Fishery Biologist, Central New England Fishery Resources Complex, Department of Interior, Nashua N.H.:
" The purpose and existence of the Amoskeag Fishways Partnership embodies the mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, to work with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. Working together, the Amoskeag Fishways partners are promoting and developing greater awareness among people of all ages about the importance of a healthy and vital Merrimack River watershed. Through exceptional education programs, and local and regional outreach, the Partnership is challenging the future stewards of the watershed to learn and to act collectively. Sustaining our Nation's fish and wildlife resources is a task that can only be accomplished through the combined efforts of businesses, organizations, private citizens, and governments."

Amoskeag Fishways - Helen Dalbeck, Executive Director:
" The Amoskeag Fishways Learning and Visitors Center is the public face of this unique partnership. We are able to utilize the many resources available to us through these organizations to create and teach award-winning environmental education programs. The Fishways is a dynamic and fun place to work and visit, and we are excited to provide the public with outstanding learning opportunities year-round. Thanks to our partners for the last ten years and we look forward to renewed commitment and support for the next ten and beyond."

Currently, Amoskeag staff and volunteers are preparing for this year's "fish season," May 2 through June 17, when the 54-step fish ladder is operating, allowing migrating fish to bypass the Amoskeag Hydroelectric Dam. From the vantage point of the Center's underwater viewing window, visitors can see fish such as river herring, American shad, and sea lamprey "climb" the ladder.

Several fun family events are planned throughout the next few months to commemorate the Amoskeag Fishways Partnership's anniversary, including:

  • April 26 -- Grand Opening of the fish passage ladder for the 2005 migration season
  • April 28 -- US Fish and Wildlife delivering adult Atlantic salmon to stock the fish ladder
  • May 7 -- The Fishways Children's Festival
  • May 21 -- "Get Outside!" -- Demos and workshops featuring outdoor recreational activities such as rock climbing, cycling and kayaking
  • June 4 -- The 7th Annual Lamprey Appreciation Day -- Get sucked into the fun and hold a live sea lamprey!

The Amoskeag Fishways Learning and Visitor Center is located on Exit 6, off Interstate 293 in Manchester, N.H. The Center and exhibit hall are open Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and, seven days a week during fish season (May 2 - June 17, 2005). For information on the Fishways, visit www.amoskeagfishways.org or call (603) 626-FISH.

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