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More Than a Decade of Work Reaps Rewards in Maine

After more than 10 years of focused efforts, the West Winterport Dam in Maine has finally been removed. Since the 1980’s the West Winterport Dam on Marsh Stream, a tributary of the lower Penobscot River, was used for generation of hydropower until the owner surrendered the license in 2000 and sought full dam removal. Reaching out to the towns of Winterport and Frankfort, the property owner was able to address the concerns of local residents, such as flood control, fire suppression, and recreational access during the permitting process, and move the project forward.

John Catena, the Northeast Regional Supervisor for NOAA’s Restoration Center, said this dam removal is part of a larger restoration effort in Maine.

“The Restoration Center has worked closely with our partners to restore almost 6,000 acres of habitat and opened more than 500 stream miles in the state since 1996,” Catena said. “Removal of this dam on Marsh Stream is an excellent example of that broader effort, and will restore fish passage to 80 miles of riverine habitat for blueback herring, alewives, American eel, and even Atlantic salmon.”

NOAA’s Habitat Conservation Division and Restoration Center worked closely with the property owner, Facilitators Improving Salmonid Habitat, Atlantic Salmon Federation, American Rivers, Conservation Law Foundation, Maine Corporate Wetland Restoration Partnership, Maine Department of Marine Resources, and many other state and federal agencies and conservation groups to make this project happen.

West Winterport Dam Removal