rapids photo "Water Flow"
dam photo
One of hundreds of dams in Maine (photo Zip Kellogg)

View updated stream flow conditions on Maine rivers (USGS data).
Although dams in Maine have provided benefits such as electrical power, improved navigation, and flood control, they've also taken a heavy toll on river life. The Atlantic salmon, which once thrived in dozens of rivers throughout the state, began disappearing as dams blocked their access to spawning areas. Today these treasured fish are now on the brink of extinction.

Edwards Dam breaching photo
Breaching Edwards Dam on the Kennebec, July 1999 (photo: Laura Rose Day)


Read about the return of Alewives in the Kennebec River--less than one year after Edwards dam was removed.

Many of the state's dams are antiquated and provide little or no benefit. In a landmark decision, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission recently declined to renew the permit for Edwards Dam on the Kennebec River, concluding that dam's detrimental impact on the river outweighed its marginal electrical generation. Last summer the dam was breached, and soon striped bass and other fish began returning to areas upstream where they had not been for decades.

Backhoe photo
Taking out Edwards Dam 
(photo: Norm Michaud)

There is growing pressure from environmentalists, the fishing community, and the general public to remove superfluous dams. The Smelt Hill dam on the lower Presumpscot river is slated to be removed as early as this coming fall.


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