Dam Removal Marks Turning Point for Kennebec River
6/30/1999 -- -- (Augusta, Maine) - In an event that will make conservation history, Edwards Dam will be removed on July 1 to begin an unprecedented restoration effort on Maine's Kennebec River. A presentation featuring Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt, Governor Angus King, and members of Maine's congressional delegation will occur just prior to the removal on the bank of the Kennebec in Augusta, Maine.
Removal of the dam will allow the river to flow freely to Waterville, Maine for the first time in 160 years and will help restore nine migratory fish species to the river.
The removal is the result of a decade-long effort by the Kennebec Coalition (made up of conservation groups American Rivers, Atlantic Salmon Federation, Natural Resources Council of Maine, and Trout Unlimited) and an innovative agreement forged by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, federal and state natural resource agencies, the city of Augusta, the state of Maine, and the dam owner.
This unprecedented agreement was signed in the wake of the ruling by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that the enormous value of a free-flowing Kennebec River to people and the environment outweighs the value of the tiny amount of hydropower once produced at the site.
How the dam will be removed: Preparation of the dam site is already underway. During the week of June 14, a temporary gravel "coffer" dam will be constructed just upstream of Edwards Dam on the west side of the river. Once the coffer dam is in place, a 60-foot section of Edwards Dam, protected by the coffer dam, will be breached. On July 1, the coffer dam will be removed to allow the water to flow through the breach in Edwards Dam. Within minutes, the coffer dam is expected to erode and water from above the dam will surge through. Removal of the remainder of Edwards Dam will be completed by Thanksgiving.
NATIONAL CONTACTS: Amy Souers, American Rivers 202-347-7550 www.amrivers.org
Pete Rafle, Trout Unlimited 703-284-9409 www.tu.org
LOCAL CONTACTS: Jeff Reardon Maine Council, Trout Unlimited (207) 586-5616
Steve Brooke, Kennebec Coalition 207-724-3576
Judy Berk, Natural Resources Council of Maine 207-622-3101 www.nrcm.org
For more information:
Visit American Rivers at http://www.amrivers.org/edwardsremoval.html#details
Download A River Reborn: Benefits for People and Wildlife of the Kennebec River Following the Removal of Edwards Dam at http://www.tu.org/library/conservation.asp
Download the Trout Unlimited and American Rivers draft report on dam removal success stories at http://www.tu.org/library/conservation.asp