Updated October 2012
The Penobscot River
Restoration Project will happen incrementally over several years, and involves restoring
the river through three major construction projects, changes in energy
operations and re-licensing requirements, a variety of permit obligations, outreach
to communities within the project area and to the public at large, planning for
economic and community development activities related to the river's
restoration, and significant private and public fundraising.
Laying the groundwork:
- The Lower Penobscot River Settlement Accord, the multi-party
agreement laying the framework for the project, was signed on June 25th,
- Once energy enhancements were approved, PPL Corporation began
implementing them, and addressed impacts of energy operations on Penobscot
Indian Nation tribal lands.
- In late 2007 the Penobscot Trust reached a fundraising
goal of $25 million needed to purchase the Veazie, Great Works and
- Exercised the option (June 20, 2008) to move forward on dam
- On November 7, 2008 the Penobscot Trust filed
for federal and state permits required to purchase the dams.
- During the federal and state permitting process the public was
encouraged to comment on multiple occasions. In addition, the
Penobscot Trust held formal public scoping sessions in December of 2007 as
part of this process.
- On December 17, 2010, after receiving necessary federal and state
permits, and undergoing all necessary legal due diligence, the Penobscot
Trust purchased the Veazie, Howland, and Great Works dams.
- The Great Works Dam is currently being removed. Work is expected to wrap up in November 2012.
- Preliminary engineering work for removal of the Veazie and for the Howland bypass is done. Final engineering designs
are completed for Great Works dam removal, as it will be the first to be
The Penobscot River Restoration Project
is making significant progress toward restoring sea-run fish to the Penobscot River watershed and other project goals. [View
fact sheet] Now that the
Penobscot Trust holds all necessary permits, and has purchased the dams, we are
busy implementing the removals, alterations, mitigation and economic
development elements of the project. The preliminary estimate for project
implementation, including dam removal and modifications, complying with permit
requirements, and engaging in economic development projects, is approximately $30
million. To date, the Penobscot Trust and fundraising partners have made
considerable progress toward that goal.
- Dam removal and modification work:
- Great Works dam is being removal- work to remove the dam is has been going on since June 2012 and is expected to wrap up in November 2012
- Old Town Fuel & Fiber water intake - the
Penobscot Trust worked with Old Town
Fuel & Fiber to replace the water intake at the mill, which included
significant improvements for migratory fish. Work was completed in the summer of 2012.
- Milford fish lift - final plans for the fish
lift have been approved.
- Veazie Dam removal - anticipated 2013-2014 (two
- Howland bypass construction may occur
simultaneously with dam removal once full funding is secured
- Interim operations - now that the Penobscot
Trust owns the dams, we are working closely with
the State of Maine to facilitate their management of the Atlantic salmon
recovery program at the Veazie dam. We have entered into a combination of
lease and operating agreements for dam operations with Black Bear HVGC
LLC, whose principals have decades of experience running the dams
for PPL Corporation. These operators have continued a pre-existing and
productive working relationship with the regulating agencies, and have
also implemented new conservation-related operating requirements, resulting
from the federal Endangered Species Act. Revenues from dam operations are
applied to project implementation.
- Ongoing Monitoring - starting in the summer of
2009 scientists began collecting baseline
scientific monitoring data that can be compared to data we plan to
collect following project implementation.
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