Our first electronic newsletter!  Read about:
Protecting fishing rights
Fiddleheads safe to eat
Gate closure status
Wildlife in your backyard and baby animals
Hunting permits
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Newsletter from the Penobscot Indian Nation Department of Natural Resources

Welcome To Our First Electronic Newsletter!

John Banks, DNR Director

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is excited to be sharing our first electronic newsletter!  This is a new adventure for us so it will be a learning process.  We hope that this will be a good way to get information out more frequently and easily point you to the many resources on the web.

And now a couple of important housekeeping items ...
  1. This email is linked directly to you!  So, if you would like to share it with someone else, please DO NOT just forward the message.  Instead, click any one of the "Forward” mail icons that we have placed throughout.  This process sends an email that is not linked directly to you!
  2. There are also icons that allow you to share this information on Facebook and Twitter!  Please feel free to share this widely.
  3. If you would like to stop getting this DNR newsletter please go to the bottom of this email and click on “update your preferences” and uncheck that item in the list.  This will allow you to continue getting other types of email information from Penobscot Nation Administration.  If you decide you would like to stop getting any email information at all, please click on “unsubscribe from this list.”

EPA Takes Action to Protect Sustenance Fishing Rights

On April 20, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) took a big step to protect sustenance fishing and the health of tribal members.  EPA proposed federal water quality standards for waters in Indian lands and waters where sustenance fishing rights apply.  EPA took this action after rejecting standards by the State of Maine which do not adequately protect sustenance fishing.

One major difference between the EPA and Maine standards is the fish consumption rate used to develop them.  Maine uses a rate equal to about one fish meal per week, which is intended to protect recreational fisherman.  However, EPA’s criteria uses a much higher fish consumption rate equal to 7 fish meals per week, or one large fish meal per day to protect tribal sustenance fishers.  This rate came from information from a historical study of the Wabanaki tribes’ traditional cultural practices and included input from the Maine tribes.

The EPA is offering opportunities for the public to provide oral or written comments on the proposal standards.  We encourage the tribal community to provide comments by following the instructions on this website

The deadline for comments is June 20, 2016.


Testing shows fiddleheads are safe to eat

Our world has many sources of pollution which get into our foods - simply buying a can of tuna fish at the grocery store can bring mercury into your sandwich.  Because picking fiddleheads is an age-old tribal tradition and an important part of our tribal diet, the Water Resources Program worked with federal agencies to test them.  We are working to make it so that wild foods are safe to eat.  The good news is that fiddleheads are lots better for you than processed food from the grocery store.

Ostrich fern fiddleheads were tested for dioxins, furans, PCBs, dioxin-like PCBs, mercury and arsenic.  These tests show that you could eat 1/3 pound every day for your entire life and still be safe.  Fiddleheads were collected from many islands stretching between the lower river near the Old Town area to the East Branch Penobscot in Soldiertown TWP, including islands nearby the former Lincoln Paper and Tissue discharge.

While in most of the samples we did not detect any of these chemicals, we did find tiny amounts in a few samples.  However, the amount we found is considered safe and is much less than that found in many other foods from the grocery store.

Please be warned that fiddleheads should be washed carefully and cooked before they are eaten.  Raw or undercooked fiddleheads should not be eaten!  Several cases of foodborne illnesses have been traced to undercooked fiddleheads.  Also, be sure to correctly identify the fern as ostrich fern, as several other fern species have fiddleheads, including some that are unsafe to eat. 

Feel free to contact Dan Kusnierz if you have any questions about the results this study.


MUD SEASON GATES - as of May 12, 2016

It’s that time of year again; we will be closing mud-season gates. Some earlier then usual, because of the expected warm weather. We expect to have all the gates open prior to Memorial Day.  Please check our web page for regular updates -

Alder Stream

  • North Road Gate – Open    
  • South Road Gate - Closed


  • The IP Gate at the Lincoln exit  - Closed
  • Gate at the end of Seboeis Road – Closed


  • The Boy Scout Road Gate  - Open    

T2R8 (South Branch Lake Area) – Closed

T1R6 (Grindstone) – Gate on Route 11 Closed

Carrabassett Valley

  • Both gates on the Carriage Road - Closed
  • Huston Brook Gate  -  Closed
  • Poplar Mtn Road - Closed

We plan to open the South Rd Alder Stream, South Branch Lake and Mattamiscontis Gates Friday May 13th


What to do about wildlife in my yard?

Spring and early summer is a great time of year to see wild animals more often.  Many animals are emerging from winter dens and are roaming around looking for food.  It is also the time of year when females are finding secluded areas where they feel secure enough to raise their little ones.  Ways you can avoid possible conflicts with wildlife:

  • Secure all trash that may be outdoors in trash cans or in a shed,
  • Do not leave food or scraps outside for cats or dogs as it will attract wildlife,
  • If you know an animal is denning near your property, keep pets within your verbal control so they do not harass the wildlife.


If you have hunted in the past 2 years, a NEW plastic lifetime hunting license has been printed off for you!  They are ready to be picked up in the Administrative office at DNR.

If you’re not sure if you have one, or need to request a license please call 817-7331 and give your information to Cookie or Erlinda. We are trying to avoid a flood of hunters coming in right before the fall season so plan ahead and request a license now! Thank you!

* New hunters must show proof of taking a Hunter Safety Course before receiving a license.


Baby animals – If you care, leave them there!

It is not uncommon this time of year to stumble upon a baby animal in your yard, or while out exploring in the woods.  Many people assume these little critters have been “abandoned” by their Moms.  This is often not the case!  While we (people) may have the best intentions in mind, taking a baby animal out of the wild and trying to care for it, is often the worst thing for the animal.  Here are some recommendations from DNR:

  • Do not touch, move or handle the baby animal,
  • Keep domestic animals away from the baby animal,
  • Do not try to give the baby animal food (many people try to give baby animals milk, however they are not capable of digesting lactose, and this could kill them),
  • Do not call DNR unless a baby animal has been abandoned for 48 hours. 
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