Demolition begins on Great Works dam

6:58 PM, Jun 11, 2012   |    comments
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BRADLEY, Maine (NEWS CENTER) --- Monday marked the start of a new beginning on the Penobscot River.

Dozens gathered in Bradley and on Indian Island to watch demolition begin on the Great Works Dam. It is a project that many groups have been working towards for more then a decade.

The Penobscot River Restoration Trust bought the dam and two others back in 2010. The organization is made up the Penobscot Indian Nation, the Atlantic Salmon Federation and others. They are removing the dam to promote spawning rates for sea run fish like alewives and atlantic salmon.

Supports expect getting rid of the blockade to boost levels for 11 species of fish. The $62 million project is getting help from private donors as well as the U.S. Department of Interior. Department Secretary Ken Salarzar was on hand for the demolition and he says he expects it will do wonders for Maine's environment and the many businesses that depend on the river.

"I think there are ways that we can restore iconic species like we are doing here with the Atlantic salmon," he said, "and at the same time allow the economics of rivers to go forward."

"We sort of honor the history of the river with the dam in it..but it's time to move on and begin a new chapter where we have energy and fisheries...and everything we can have from the river so it's a great day," said Laura Rose Day, who is the executive director of the Penobscot River Restoration Trust.

The Great Works Dam is expected to be completely gone by the fall. The river trust is planning to take out the Veazie Dam in 2013.


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