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Penobscot River Restoration Trust purchases three dams from PPL

December 20, 2010

Press Release

Quote sheet


Yangtze River delegation tours Penobscot Project

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Environmental Compliance Funds Boost Penobscot Fish Restoration Efforts

September 22, 2009

PRRT Press Statement




Penobscot River Restoration Trust Awarded Federal Stimulus Funds for Dam Removal

June 30, 2009

PRRT PRESS RELEASE (PDF)

 

PERMIT APPLICATIONS FILED FOR RESTORATION PROJECT

Read Press Release 11/07/08



Penobscot River Restoration Trust to Buy Three Dams from PPL Corporation
August 21, 2008

PRRT PRESS RELEASE (PDF)

Partners in River Restoration Project Receive National
Cooperative Conservation Award

PRRT PRESS RELEASE (PDF)

Private Donors Invest
$10 Million in Restoration
PRESS RELEASE

Congress and NOAA
Commit $10 Million
PRESS RELEASE


Partners in Penobscot River Restoration Project Receive National Cooperative Conservation Award

RELEASED: April 21, 2008

Old Town, ME – Partners in the Penobscot River Restoration Project have been awarded a 2008 Cooperative Conservation Award from the U.S. Department of the Interior. The award recognizes the unprecedented collaboration to restore 11 species of sea-run fish while rebalancing hydropower generated on the river. Representatives from the Penobscot River Restoration Trust (Penobscot Trust), dam owner PPL Corp., and the Penobscot Indian Nation are attending the award ceremony today in Washington, D.C. The Cooperative Conservation Award is presented to groups and individuals who have realized significant conservation achievements that involve collaborative activity among a diverse range of entities.

"We are honored to be working with so many citizens, tribal, state and federal governments, conservation groups and private businesses to bring back the many values this great river provides to all of us," said Laura Rose Day, Executive Director of the Penobscot Trust. "Through the creativity and commitment of all these parties, we've constructed a plan that will restore the valuable sea-run fisheries of the Penobscot River and cultural, ecological and economic benefits, while maintaining hydropower generation."

When complete, the project will help restore native fisheries by markedly improving access to nearly 1000 miles of significant habitat for Atlantic salmon, American shad, shortnose sturgeon and several other species of sea-run fish that once formed a thriving Penobscot River ecosystem that supported diverse cultural, recreational, and economic opportunities.

"The Penobscot Indian Nation – whose ties to the river go back more than 10,000 years - is deeply appreciative of this award, and the Department of Interior's recognition that the project is not just about removing dams and restoring fish, but also about our cultural survival. This project really shows what we can achieve by working collaboratively to protect the environment, renew our cultural traditions, and provide for local economies," said Chief Kirk Francis.

The Penobscot Trust and the project's public and private partners are working toward purchase of three dams, removal of the two dams closest to the sea (Veazie and Great Works) and construction of a fish bypass around the Howland dam. The Penobscot Agreement, signed by all parties in 2004, provides PPL Corporation with the opportunity to maintain energy generation by increasing energy produced at six locations. The initial phase of energy increases were approved and implemented in 2006.

"We're pleased to be a part of this groundbreaking project, which balances our obligation to our shareowners and our energy customers with our strong commitment to the environment," said Dennis Murphy, vice president and chief operating officer for PPL's Eastern Fossil & Hydro unit. "It's truly a win-win situation for PPL, for the government, for the Penobscot Indian Nation, for conservation and sporting groups, for local businesses that will benefit from a restored fish run, and for the environment."

The Atlantic Salmon Federation, Penobscot Indian Nation, Maine Audubon, The Nature Conservancy, Trout Unlimited, Natural Resources Council of Maine, and American Rivers are members of the Penobscot Trust. In addition to PPL Corp., other project collaborators include the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the state of Maine (Department of Marine Resources, Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, and State Planning Office).

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Penobscot River Restoration Project Makes Significant Breakthrough – Congress and NOAA Commit $10 Million

RELEASED: 21 December 2007

Old Town and Augusta, ME—Ten million dollars from the FY08 Omnibus Appropriations Bill passed this week will be directed to the Penobscot River Restoration Project. Officials at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) confirmed the agency will direct the funding to the project. The funding was part of the Commerce, Justice, Science Bill included in the omnibus funding measure.

"The plan to restore the Penobscot River is a collaboration that engages communities and enhances the region's economy, culture, and environment while reviving the Atlantic salmon," said U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe. "I am pleased that the Administration has agreed that this project deserves a strong financial investment and will provide the resources to move forward with a critical step in the comprehensive restoration project."

NOAA funding committed toward the project will be used to purchase three dams (Veazie, Great Works, and Howland), begin the engineering and design phase of the project, and allow the Penobscot River Restoration Trust (Penobscot Trust) to move toward implementation. The project will help restore native fisheries by markedly improving access to nearly 1000 miles of key habitat for Atlantic salmon, endangered shortnose sturgeon, American shad, and 8 other species of sea-run fish that once supported a vibrant Penobscot River.

"I am pleased that the Administrator of NOAA gave me his firm commitment to provide the $10 million that was secured for this critical project in the Senate appropriations process," said Senator Susan Collins. "This is the most significant river restoration project ever in the eastern United States. I applaud the Penobscot River Restoration Trust for working tirelessly to attract strong federal and private support for this important environmental restoration project."

The Penobscot Trust, working with the project's diverse public and private partners, proposes to remove the two dams closest to the sea (Veazie and Great Works) and bypass the Howland dam with a state-of-the-art fishway. Fully implemented, the project will maintain virtually all of the hydroelectric generation produced by PPL in the river through innovative energy enhancements at other dams.

"I grew up along the banks of the Penobscot," commented U.S Representative Mike Michaud. "For decades, in the state legislature and now in Congress, I have fought to make this river a healthy and vibrant part of all of the communities through which it flows. The funding provided by Congress today will move us even closer to that goal."

In February 2007, President Bush requested $10 million dollars from Congress to restore the once-abundant sea-run fisheries of the Penobscot River in Maine, the second largest river in the Northeast. Since that time Congress has included the funding in their FY08 budgets.

"The Penobscot River Project is the national model for fisheries habitat restoration," U.S. Representative Tom Allen said. "I am pleased that the Delegation was able to work together as a team to secure funding for this project, and I welcome the news that NOAA is fully committed to it. The effort to restore the Penobscot is critically important to Maine's economy and quality of life but it would not be possible without the hard work of all of the public officials from government at all levels, as well as the landowners, business people, sportsmen and conservationists, and the Penobscot Nation who are all committed to this project."

These new funds, combined with $10 million in private funds and dollars raised previously from federal sources, move the Penobscot Trust closer to purchase of the dams in 2008.

"NOAA brings notable fisheries expertise and on-the-ground success in Maine, as well as funding, to this remarkable public-private river restoration. NOAA and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, working with other agencies, demonstrate the collaborative leadership required for a project of this scale," said Laura Rose Day, Executive Director of the Penobscot Trust. "We are grateful for this investment and will work hard to ensure that the benefits of a restored river are fully realized for Penobscot communities, Maine and the nation."

"This is perhaps the most important freshwater restoration project underway in North America and has far-reaching ecosystem benefits," said Michael Tetreault of The Nature Conservancy. "We commend the efforts of Senators Snowe and Collins who have invested fully in understanding the complexity of the project and of Congressmen Michaud and Allen who have championed the project every step of the way at home and with Congress."

Members of the Penobscot River Restoration Trust, the non-profit tasked with carrying out core elements of the Settlement Agreement, are the Penobscot Indian Nation, American Rivers, Atlantic Salmon Federation, the Natural Resources Council of Maine, Maine Audubon, The Nature Conservancy, and Trout Unlimited. Partners include NOAA, the Department of the Interior, dam owner PPL Corporation, and the State of Maine.

"The Penobscot Indian people - whose homeland includes the Penobscot River Watershed - have waited patiently for many years to see the once great fishery runs of the Penobscot restored," said Chief Kirk Francis of the Penobscot Indian Nation. "Today's action by both the Maine Congressional Delegation and NOAA is as good a Christmas present as we could have hoped for. We are most appreciative and we look forward to continuing to work with the fine coalition of partners who also dream of a restored Penobscot River."

"I am extremely pleased with the assurance of $10 million in federal funding for the Penobscot River Project and for the strong efforts of Maine's Congressional Delegation in partnership with the State of Maine to move forward with this tremendous project," said Governor John Baldacci. "Our natural resource agencies will continue to be instrumental in seeing the project through the implementation and permitting process. Once implemented, the project will lead to a rebirth of the Penobscot River benefiting communities along its shores, restoring sea-run fisheries and maintaining important hydropower generation."

The funding represents the significant breakthrough needed to accomplish the restoration of the Penobscot River through the terms of the Settlement Agreement signed in 2004. "Now there is virtually no doubt that we can move into the implementation phase," said Charles Gauvin of Trout Unlimited. "We are deeply grateful for the efforts made by the White House, Senator Snowe and Collins and of Congressmen Michaud and Allen. Their unwavering support is instrumental."

"A healthy, thriving Penobscot River has been a dream of Mainers for generations, and this money makes that dream one step closer to reality," said Rebecca Wodder, President of American Rivers ™. "While there is still much work to be done, I hope everyone will thank their representatives for this incredible gift."



PPL Corporation announces the sale of a portion of it's Maine assets. The Penobscot River Restoration Project will not be impacted PRRT PRESS RELEASE (PDF)


Penobscot River Restoration Project to Boost Maine Economy, Restore Fish

Penobscot River Restoration Trust Awarded Funds to Remove Fish Passage Barriers

RELEASED: June 30, 2009

Old Town and Augusta, ME: Today, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced that it will invest $6.1 million through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to help rebuild the sea-run fisheries of Maine's Penobscot River. A grant to the Penobscot River Restoration Trust (the Penobscot Trust) will fund removal of the Great Works dam, a key barrier to the sea-run fish restoration, as well as scientific monitoring of the Penobscot River Restoration Project.

The Penobscot Project is an innovative public-private partnership to restore self-sustaining runs of Atlantic salmon, American shad, river herring, and seven other species while also maintaining hydropower generation on Maine's largest river system. The Trust will purchase three dams, remove the two closest to the sea - Veazie and Great Works – and construct a fish bypass at a third at Howland to significantly increase access to nearly 1000 miles of habitat. Great Works, which will be removed with this award, lies above Veazie and is the second dam from the sea. Removal of the Veazie dam will occur at a later date for fish management reasons.

"NOAA's decision to invest in the Penobscot Project will produce restoration-related jobs for the region now, and the natural infrastructure to support increased, more diverse economic, culture, and recreational opportunities well into the future," stated Laura Rose Day, Executive Director of the Penobscot Trust. "This is fantastic news for the region and we are committed to working with businesses, communities, and others to ensure a smooth transition to a restored river."

Work to deconstruct the Great Works dam, combined with pre-dam removal scientific monitoring, will yield nearly $5 million in jobs for the region and is expected to employ nearly 155 people in restoration-related engineering and heavy construction jobs (the equivalent of 38 annualized jobs). The work, over a 24-month project period, will create jobs for construction workers, technical experts such as engineers and hydrologists, work for local businesses such as nurseries and contractors, as well as jobs related to scientific monitoring.

"In addition to the immediate jobs created by the projects, stronger and healthier coastal communities will boost our nation's long-term economic health," Commerce under secretary of oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator Jane Lubchenco said.

This federal funding reinforces the national significance of this unprecedented partnership between PPL Corporation, the Penobscot Indian Nation, seven conservation groups, and state and federal agencies. The Trust was awarded this grant through a highly competitive process that considered over 800 proposals requesting nearly $3 billion from this $170 million federal funding opportunity. Funding was made available by Congress in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act because of the recognition that investment in "green jobs" is both good for the economy and the environment.

As part of the project, PPL will maintain at least current levels of energy production on the river; it has already increased power generation by raising water levels and by repowering the Orono Dam. PPL will have the opportunity to reuse turbines from the decommissioned dams to increase generation at its remaining dams. PPL will also enhance fish passage at four dams, including construction of a fish elevator at Milford which will become the first dam on the river. PPL will maintain its employment levels.

The Penobscot Trust partners, with strong leadership from Maine's Congressional Delegation, the state of Maine, NOAA Fisheries and the USFWS, have raised $25 million in private and public funds to purchase the dams. Additional funds will still be needed to complete the restoration. The Trust will complete its purchase of dams once it has received final permits, currently under review.

Investment in projects like the Penobscot River restoration bolsters the economy and restores valuable natural resources. The return of healthy fish stocks will have multiple benefits, including providing food for fish eating birds and for commercially important fish in the Gulf of Maine such as cod and other important species. Economic and cultural benefits may include new and expanded angling, boating, and near shore recreation; new tourism opportunities; and community revitalization that can attract job-creating businesses. The project will render meaningful the Penobscot Nation's federally recognized sustenance fishery rights and revitalize river-related cultural and spiritual practices.

American Rivers, Atlantic Salmon Federation, Maine Audubon, Natural Resources Council of Maine, Penobscot Indian Nation, The Nature Conservancy, and Trout Unlimited are members of the Penobscot Trust. In addition to PPL Corporation, other project partners and supporters include communities, businesses, conservation and civic organizations, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the National Park Service, and the state of Maine (Department of Marine Resources, Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, and State Planning Office).

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Fisheries Restoration, Energy Balance Closer to Becoming Reality on Penobscot River

Penobscot River Restoration Trust to Buy Three Dams from PPL Corporation

RELEASED: August 21, 2008

Old Town, ME: Today, on the banks of the Penobscot River in Old Town, Maine, at 11 a.m., partners in the Penobscot River Restoration Project will announce they are taking a major step forward in this historic effort to restore Atlantic salmon, American shad, river herring, and seven other species of sea-run fish to nearly 1,000 miles of river habitat while ensuring energy generation is maintained on one of the country's most significant river systems. With $25 million in private and public funds raised to purchase the Veazie, Great Works and Howland dams, the Penobscot River Restoration Trust (Penobscot Trust) has announced it is moving ahead to purchase three dams from PPL Corporation (PPL), completing the initial phase and now shifting fully into the implementation phase of the Project.

"The Penobscot Trust has notified PPL that it intends to purchase the Veazie, Great Works and Howland dams, allowing project partners to move forward with this unprecedented Project to rebalance hydropower energy and create sustainable native sea-run fisheries well into the future," stated Laura Rose Day, Executive Director of the Penobscot Trust. By exercising the option a full year before it expires, the Penobscot Trust secures a $25 million purchase price and avoids an increase of $1 million.

"The Penobscot Trust and its partners deeply appreciate the constructive dialogue and commitment that has come from every corner to make this extraordinary milestone possible," remarked Rose Day. "The leadership, the generosity and the local support all inspire confidence in the future health and prosperity of the Penobscot region."

The Penobscot Trust has initiated the permitting process, held pre-permitting meetings, and completed preliminary designs for dam removal and bypass construction. Once the permits have been approved, the two lowermost dams (Great Works and Veazie) will be removed and a fish bypass will be constructed around the third dam in Howland. The Project offers an unprecedented opportunity to restore sea-run fish to a major river system. The Project allows hydropower company PPL to maintain virtually all of the energy it produces on the river. As part of the innovative agreement, PPL has already increased power generation at three dams, and is in the process of re-powering the Orono Dam. PPL will have the opportunity to recycle turbines from the three dams that will be decommissioned to increase generation at remaining dams. PPL will also enhance fish passage at four dams, including the construction of a fish elevator at the Milford Dam, which will become the first dam on the river.

"PPL is proud to partner with Penobscot River Restoration Trust in this landmark agreement that helps restore native fish to the river and increases the amount of clean, renewable energy in New England," says Dennis Murphy, vice president and chief operating officer of Eastern Fossil and Hydro Generation for PPL. "Through the extraordinary efforts of the Trust, this restoration project will benefit the region's environment, economy and social heritage."

The Project will allow the return of river herring, Atlantic salmon, American shad and seven additional species of migratory fish to the largest river in Maine. Return of healthy fish stocks will have multiple benefits, including food for fish eating birds such as eagles, ospreys, and herons and for predatory fish in the Gulf of Maine such as cod and other commercially important species. Removing the dams will convert impoundments to free-flowing river, improving water quality and increasing the diversity and abundance of aquatic insects, which are ecologically important to fish and migratory songbirds. Riverfront communities will benefit from a restored river with healthy fisheries, improved community and economic opportunities, enhanced angling and paddling, revival of culture and tradition, and a renewed connection to the river.

"The Penobscot people and the river have shared this place for thousands of years, and the health of our people is directly tied to the health of this river. Opening up this waterway will revitalize a significant part of our culture and bring back health to our sacred river," said Chief Kirk Francis of the Penobscot Indian Nation. "We are so grateful to all the people who are helping to make this project a reality."

Project partners completed a successful $10 million private capital campaign and with strong leadership from Maine's Congressional Delegation along with NOAA Fisheries and the USFWS were successful in securing $15 million in federal funds for the project. With the $25 million committed to buy the dams, the Trust has been working diligently to complete the environmental and engineering studies and public forums necessary to secure the permits needed to take final ownership of and to remove the dams. In this second phase of the project, the Trust will need to raise approximately $25-30 million more, which is expected to come again from a mix of public and private sources.

American Rivers, Atlantic Salmon Federation, Maine Audubon, Natural Resources Council of Maine, Penobscot Indian Nation, The Nature Conservancy, and Trout Unlimited are members of the Penobscot Trust. In addition to PPL Corporation, other project collaborators include the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the National Park Service, and the state of Maine (Department of Marine Resources, Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, and State Planning Office).

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Press Release from the office of US Senator Susan Collins -

Penobscot River Restoration Trust Reaches $10 Million Goal

November 20, 2007

 

Washington, DC -

U.S. Senator Susan Collins today applauded the Penobscot River Restoration Trust for meeting its first private campaign milestone by raising $10 million to help restore the natural flow of Maine's largest watershed. The Penobscot River Restoration Project consists of two phases. Phase one consists of raising $25 million in order to purchase three dams on the Penobscot River. The second phase will require an estimated additional $25 million in order to remove two dams and bypass a third. Doing so will open up historic habitat for species such as the endangered shortnose sturgeon and greatly improve access to over 1000 miles of key habitat for endangered Atlantic salmon. In addition to enhancing Atlantic salmon recovery efforts, it will also have far-ranging benefits for the entire Gulf of Maine, protecting endangered species, migratory birds, and a diversity of riverine and estuarine wetlands. The project will also help revive the social, cultural, and economic traditions of New England's second largest river.

"I congratulate the Penobscot River Restoration Trust for its outstanding efforts to secure private funding for this critical project. I was pleased to work in the Senate to secure federal funding for this important environmental restoration project, the most significant river restoration project ever in the eastern United States. The merits of this project are demonstrated by the fact that it has attracted both strong federal and private support. Again, I congratulate the Penobscot River Restoration Trust for its outstanding efforts, its dedication, and its commitment to bring this project closer to completion."

The federal government has already contributed $5.5 million to this important project. In addition, Senator Collins recently spoke on the Senate floor urging her colleagues to support an additional $10 million in the Senate fiscal year 2008 Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Act.

The Penobscot River Restoration Project is a five-year project and is a partnership of the State of Maine, local communities, the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Department of Interior, the National Park Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Penobscot Indian Nation, the Atlantic Salmon Federation, PPL Corporation, the Nature Conservancy, the Natural Resources Council of Maine, American Rivers, Maine Audubon, and Trout Unlimited. Through collaboration with dam owners, the project will maintain virtually all of the hydroelectric generation on the river through a series of energy enhancements higher up in the Penobscot watershed.

Private Donors Invest $10 Million in Penobscot River Restoration Project


November 20, 2007

Old Town, ME – The Penobscot River Restoration Trust and its members today announced that it has met its first private campaign milestone by raising $10 million toward the approximately $25 million purchase price for three hydropower dams as part of the Penobscot River Restoration Project. The project, a collaborative effort between dam owner PPL Corporation, the Penobscot Indian Nation, seven conservation groups, and state and federal agencies, aims to establish a healthy balance between native sea-run fisheries and hydropower generation.

This private support is critical to helping secure public funding for the project. Under the leadership of Maine's Congressional delegation, the President, Senate, and House are all supporting $10 million in federal funding for the project in Fiscal Year 2008. If approved, the total current federal investment combined with private funds will mean that the first phase of this project is primed for successful conclusion. "Tremendous private commitment has helped inspire federal investment in the future of the Penobscot River for Maine and the nation," said Laura Rose Day, Executive Director, Penobscot River Restoration Trust, the not-for-profit organization that holds an option to purchase the dams.

The Penobscot River Restoration Trust, working with the project's diverse public and private partners, proposes to purchase the three dams, remove the two dams closest to the sea (Veazie and Great Works) and bypass the Howland dam. Fully implemented, the project will help restore native fisheries by markedly improving access to nearly 1000 miles of key habitat for Atlantic salmon, American shad, shortnose sturgeon and several other species of sea-run fish that once supported diverse economic opportunities as well as the biological health of the Penobscot River.

Read full press release

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Awards $450,000 to Advance the Penobscot River Restoration Project

August 31, 2007

(Old Town, Maine) In an important next step for the landmark Penobscot River Restoration Project, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has awarded $450,000 from its Broad Area Announcement toward engineering and environmental studies necessary for project design and permitting. An unprecedented collaboration between dam owner PPL Corporation, the Penobscot Indian Nation, state and federal agencies, and six conservation groups, the Penobscot Project aims to improve access to nearly 1,000 miles of habitat for sea-run fish by reconnecting the Gulf of Maine to the inland waters of the Penobscot while maintaining hydropower generation.

NOAA awards the Broad Area Announcement grants to special projects and programs associated with the Agency's strategic plan and mission goals and to encourage innovative projects such as the Penobscot Restoration.

"This funding will support crucial design and baseline assessment activities for this large-scale river restoration project," said retired Navy Vice Admiral Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Ph.D., under secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and NOAA Administrator. "If Congress appropriates the President's request for an additional $10 million for this project in FY 2008, we will be on our way to restoring self-sustaining populations of Atlantic salmon, shortnose sturgeon, alewife, and other sea-run fish to the Penobscot River and beyond."

Securing this grant kicks off a new phase for the project – obtaining the permits necessary to decommission three Penobscot River dams, remove the two dams closest to the sea – Veazie and Great Works dams, and build a state-of-the-art fish bypass around Howland dam. The award from NOAA highlights the Administration's strong support of the project and the key role this restoration effort will play in the recovery of anadromous fish critical to the future health of the Penobscot River and the Gulf of Maine.

"With this grant, NOAA confirms the tremendous value of restoring the river's natural functions and reconnecting the Penobscot River to the sea," said Laura Rose Day, Executive Director, Penobscot River Restoration Trust. "The Trust greatly appreciates the strong bi-partisan support for the project and leadership from our congressional delegation to secure the funding necessary to restore this magnificent river."

The Penobscot River drains over 8,500 square miles in north central Maine and provides the largest freshwater input into the Gulf of Maine. Historically, the river functioned as a highway for fish to journey between spawning and feeding habitat. The migration of 11 species of sea-run fish to spawn each year as well as the return of adult and juvenile fish to the sea provided abundant food to the people and wildlife of the river, and offered important cultural and economic values to communities up and down the river.

"The identity of the Penobscot tribe is deeply intertwined with the health of the river, and has been for over 10,000 years. Restoring the fisheries to the river will bring new life to the river, in turn revitalizing our cultural connections and strengthening our community," said Penobscot Indian Nation Chief Kirk Francis. "We appreciate NOAA's support in moving the project into its second phase, and commend the Maine Congressional Delegation for their continued leadership and support."

Today, after swimming through the Penobscot estuary, sea-run fish are impeded by dams—the most significant barrier blocking access to their spawning grounds and other important habitat. The Penobscot Project will open up access along the main stem of the lower Penobscot River and improve access to significant spawning habitat in the Pisquataquis and Pleasant Rivers and other important tributaries. Energy increases at six other dams owned by PPL and fish passage improvements at four of these dams are also key aspects of the project. The Milford dam, PPL's headquarters in Maine, will become the first dam on the river.

"The Penobscot River Restoration Project provides a unique opportunity to improve access to nearly 1,000 miles of habitat for critically endangered Atlantic salmon and other fish species without sacrificing the renewable energy generated on the river," said U.S. Senator Snowe. "The funding Senator Collins and I worked hard to include in this year's NOAA appropriations bill will allow purchase of the dams, and I am delighted to see NOAA take the first step in the next phase of this vital project that will provide countless benefits to our economy, environment, and quality of life."

"I am very pleased that NOAA has awarded the Penobscot River Restoration Trust a grant to complete the design, permitting, and environmental review for this remarkable project. With these funds, we are one step closer to completing one of the largest, most creative river restoration projects in our nation's history," said Senator Susan Collins.

The Penobscot River Restoration Project is expected to help revive the social, cultural, and economic traditions of New England's second largest river.

"The Penobscot River is a unique river, with special importance to Maine and to the nation. I grew up along this river and have long worked to restore this extensive natural fishery," stated Congressman Michael Michaud. "I welcome the support of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), whose expertise will play an important role in this project."

Receipt of this grant adds to the growing momentum of the Penobscot Project on all fronts, especially the steady progress toward securing the moneys to purchase the dams. The not-for-profit Penobscot River Restoration Trust holds an option to purchase the dams for approximately $25 million and is actively seeking acquisition funds from a combination of public and private sources. The Trust has raised $9 million from private sources. Maine's Congressional Delegation has been instrumental in securing more than $5.4 million in federal funds to date. Additional support has come from a wide array of supporters, including the state of Maine, tribes, businesses, and local and national organizations.


The White House Requests $10 Million from Congress to Restore the Penobscot River

PRESS STATEMENT

RELEASED: January 26, 2007

(Old Town and Augusta, Maine) The Bush Administration today announced that it is requesting $10 million dollars from Congress to restore the once-abundant sea-run fisheries of the Penobscot River in Maine, the second largest river in the Northeast. The announcement includes details of the FY2008 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) budget providing $ 10 million for the Penobscot River Restoration Project. The NOAA budget includes $38 million nationwide for protecting and restoring coastal and marine areas, including "a project to eventually restore nearly 1000 stream miles of habitat for endangered Atlantic salmon and other fish species." Funding for the Penobscot River Restoration Project includes $8 million for dam acquisition and $2 million to NOAA's Office of Habitat for technical assistance, pre- and post- removal studies, and engineering. 

Project p artners include NOAA, the Department of the Interior, dam owner PPL Corporation, the Penobscot Indian Nation, the state of Maine, and American Rivers, Atlantic Salmon Federation, the Natural Resources Council of Maine, Maine Audubon, The Nature Conservancy, Trout Unlimited and the Penobscot River Restoration Trust.

"The White House and NOAA are indicating to Congress that the success of this innovative partnership among business, state, tribal and federal government, and citizens to restore the Penobscot River is of great national value," said Laura Rose Day, Executive Director, Penobscot River Restoration Trust. "Together, we will restore the Penobscot River system and in doing so we will renew fisheries, wildlife, and the cultural, recreational, economic and other values that the river can offer to the people of Maine and the nation. The Trust is thrilled that the Administration and NOAA are supporting this remarkable project. "

"For more than 10,000 years, the Penobscot River has been the heart of our homeland," said Penobscot Indian Nation Chief Kirk Francis. "Our identity as a tribe is deeply intertwined with the health of the river. The river's restoration is critical to our cultural survival. We commend the administration for its support for this and we express our appreciation to the Maine Congressional Delegation who have been so supportive and encouraged the Administration to continue funding this project."

"This is perhaps the most important fresh-water restoration project underway in North America," said Michael Tetreault, Executive Director of The Nature Conservancy in Maine. "The benefits of the project are far reaching for species including federally endangered shortnose sturgeon, Atlantic sturgeon, river herring, striped bass, tomcod, rainbow smelt and Atlantic salmon. In this region where culture, tradition, business, and recreation all depend on a thriving Penobscot, the benefits to people will be tremendous."

READ MORE

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Invests Nearly $1 Million To Restore Penobscot River Ecosystem

POSTED: January 25, 2007

(Old Town, Maine) Recognizing the large-scale ecological benefits of reconnecting the Penobscot River system and its estuary, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has awarded $999,900 from the National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program toward implementation of the Penobscot River Restoration Project. An unprecedented collaboration between dam owner PPL Corporation, the Penobscot Indian Nation, state and federal agencies, and six conservation groups, the project aims to reconnect the Gulf of Maine, estuary, and inland waters of the Penobscot by restoring 11 species of sea-run fish and other natural river functions while maintaining hydropower generation. READ MORE

 

Senators Snowe and Collins Advance $2.5 Million for Restoration of Atlantic Salmon in Penobscot River

Thursday, July 13, 2006

(Washington, DC; Old Town, ME) Plans to restore habitat for Atlantic salmon and ten other species of migratory fish in the Penobscot River received another boost when the Senate Appropriations Committee recently approved $2.5 million in the Department of the Interior's Fiscal Year 2007 Appropriations Bill. A joint effort by Senators Olympia J. Snowe and Susan Collins (both R-Maine) was instrumental in securing these funds in the Appropriations Committee's report. The State of Maine also provided critical support in securing this federal investment in Maine by identifying restoration of the Penobscot as a high priority for the overall recovery of Atlantic salmon, and for the multiple benefits that restoring sea-run fisheries will bring to the state. (Read more)

Representative Michaud Secures Army Corps Participation in Penobscot River Restoration Effort, Senators Snowe and Collins Advance Funds

Friday, June 30, 2006

(Washington, DC; Old Town, ME) Efforts to restore once abundant historic fisheries and revitalize communities on the Penobscot River received another boost forward with a recent vote by the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. On June 28, 2006, the Committee passed a study resolution that gives the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers the authority to begin its review of the steps needed to restore the Penobscot River. In addition, the Senate advanced $100,000 toward the initial phase of the Corps review of the river in the Fiscal Year 2007 Energy and Water Appropriations bill. These funds still need to be secured in the Conference Committee Report between the House and Senate. (Read more)


FERC Approves Amendments Implementing Penobscot River Agreement

May 27, 2005FERC
The first in a series of amendments to enhance power generation on the Penobscot River, as part of the Lower Penobscot River Settlement Agreement, have been approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). These energy enhancements are one component of the precedent setting agreement to restore Atlantic salmon and ten other sea-run fish to Maine's Penobscot River.
(read article)

Senators Snowe, Collins Secure $1 Million for Penobscot River Restoration

December 9, 2004 - (Washington, DC; Old Town and Augusta ME)
Conservationists and the Penobscot Indian Nation applaud the success of Senators Olympia J. Snowe and Susan Collins (both R-Maine) for obtaining $991,700 to assist with the Penobscot River Restoration Trust. The senators fought successfully to include these funds in the federal omnibus appropriations bill that was signed by President Bush on Wednesday, December 8.
(read the press release)

Senators Snowe, Collins Advance $2 Million Spending Measure to Restore Penobscot River

(Washington, DC; Bangor ME) Conservationists and the Penobscot Indian Nation praised Senators Olympia J. Snowe and Susan Collins (both R-Maine) for securing a $2 million line item in the Fiscal Year 2005 Commerce/Justice/State Department appropriations bill to restore the Penobscot River. The bill was approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee on September 15, and now moves on to consideration by the full Senate.
(read the press release)

Final Agreement - Roadmap to Restored Penobscot River - Filed with FERCGale Norton

Veazie , Maine – Today, on the banks of the Penobscot River, Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton and Governor John Baldacci, were joined by leaders from PPL Corporation, the Penobscot Indian Nation and Penobscot River Restoration Trust to announce a major milestone for the Penobscot River Restoration Trust.
(read the press release)

Unprecedented Project to Restore Balance between Power Generation and Environment on Penobscot River

Balancing the Environment, Economy and Quality of Life in Maine's Largest Watershed

PPL

Old Town, Maine – Today, on the banks of the Penobscot River, PPL Corporation, conservation groups, the Penobscot Indian Nation, the State of Maine, and the U.S. Department of Interior, announced an agreement aimed at restoring sea-run fish to the Penobscot River, while giving PPL Corporation the opportunity to maintain more than 90% of its current hydropower generation.
(read the press release)


PPL Will Sell Three Hydroelectric Dams in Maine; Buyers Plan to Remove or Bypass Them to Restore Migration of Atlantic Salmon

ALLENTOWN, Pa. (Oct. 6, 2003) -- PPL Corporation (NYSE: PPL) has reached an agreement with a coalition of government agencies and private groups to sell three of its nine hydroelectric dams in Maine. The coalition plans to remove or bypass the dams to restore runs of Atlantic salmon and other migratory fishes to the Penobscot River.
(read the press release)

Olympia SnoweSnowe Secures $30,000 in Efforts to Restore Atlantic Salmon Populations to Maine's Rivers

Senator Requested Funding From NOAA Administrator to Assist Community Outreach Along Penobscot River
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Continuing her efforts to bring back the endangered Atlantic salmon to Maine's rivers in a manner that does not unfairly threaten the economic livelihoods of Mainers, U.S. Senator Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine), Chair of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Oceans, Fisheries and Coast Guard, today announced that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has transferred $30,000 in federal funding to assist in the Penobscot River Restoration Trust - which aims to open more than 500 miles of river habitat to the endangered Atlantic salmon and several other species of native sea-run fish.
(read the press release)


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