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Mattawamkeag Wilderness Park.


Updated October 2013

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, 2004
  • 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 Howland Dams.
  • Exercised the option (June 20, 2008) to move forward on dam purchases
  • 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 was removed in 2012.
  • The Veazie Dam has been substantially removed with some ongoing work anticipated to be wrapped up in 2014.
  • Preliminary engineering work for the Howland bypass is done. Final engineering designs will be done soon, with work on the bypass construction anticipated to start in 2014.

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 has been removed
    • 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 -  work is wrapping up, with the fish lift anticipated to be operational for the spring 2014 runs.
    • Veazie Dam removal currently underway - anticipated to be wrapped up in 2014.
    • Howland bypass construction is anticipated to begin in 2014.
  • 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. 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.

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