The Penobscot River will flow to the sea once more!
On Monday, July 22, contractors will begin to remove the Veazie Dam from Maine’s Penobscot River, reconnecting the river with the Gulf of Maine for the first time in nearly two centuries. The 830-foot long, buttress-style Veazie Dam spans the Penobscot River at a maximum height of approximately 30 feet, with an impoundment stretching 3.8 miles.
Breaching the Veazie Dam—the dam closest to the sea— marks a monumental step in the Penobscot River Restoration Project, among the largest river restoration projects in our nation’s history. Combined with Great Works Dam removal in 2012 and additional fish passage improvements at dams in the upper watershed, the Veazie Dam removal is a key component of the historic effort to greatly improve access to 1000 miles of spawning, rearing, and nursery habitat for endangered Atlantic salmon, American shad and river herring, and benefits the entire suite of native sea-run fish. Once removed, endangered shortnose sturgeon, threatened Atlantic sturgeon, striped bass, rainbow smelt and tomcod will be able to access 100% of their historic habitat.
Hailed for its collaborative approach, this unprecedented public-private partnership has been called a model for restoring fisheries while maintaining hydropower production and accomplishing large-scale ecological restoration. Reconnecting the river to the sea will revitalize cultural, recreational, ecological and economic opportunities for the region and beyond.
Breaching of the Veazie Dam, preceded by a sacred ceremony led by a Penobscot Indian Nation elder and press conference with remarks from state and federal officials. This is a rare opportunity to witness the removal of a major dam for economic, environmental and cultural purposes, on the second largest river in New England.
Photo of Veazie Dam courtesy Penobscot River org. (Bridget Besaw/Penobscot River Restoration Trust)
Read more at ENN Affiliate Justmeans.