EAST MACHIAS — An environmental group in Down East Maine says it will release thousands of salmon into a river next month as part of an effort to help grow the population of the species.

The Downeast Salmon Federation says about 250,000 juvenile Atlantic salmon will be released into the East Machias River. The project is part of the International Year of the Salmon effort that is taking place in different countries.

The Atlantic salmon is a focus of conservation in Maine because it’s listed under the Endangered Species Act in the United States. The fish were once plentiful in U.S. rivers, but populations plummeted due to dams, overfishing and pollution. They now return to only a handful of rivers in Maine, including the Penobscot River, numbering usually in the hundreds.

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