October 26, 2010 - funding for dam rebuilding to maintain lake levels?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Fall foliage in the Basin, Phippsburg, above an old tide mill site.

In the past, I've looked at issues relating to dams and the water level of their ponds and impoundments.  For example, in March 2010, dam repair issues on Cobbosseecontee Stream resulted in a drawdown of Pleasant Pond by a foot or so.  Then again, in September 2010, owners considered further dam repair on the Cobbosseecontee that would affect lake levels and users.

Today, a news item from Canton, Maine.  A committee is exploring grant funding to rebuild a dam on Whitney Brook that maintains the water level in Lake Anasagunticook in Canton and Hartford.

The Dam Advisory Committee is now seeking funding to conduct an archeological survey in order to obtain a Community Block Development Grant.  Currently, the old bridge piers remain in the river, while a temporary dam is in place.  If the project is developed, the site will also feature both a boat launching site and a park.

Lake Anasagunticook's water level, and the steps taken to maintain that level, have been the subjects of some contention in recent years.  This 10/30/2009 Kleinschmidt report describes the recent history of the situation:

Several dam safety issues with the existing structure and embankments were identified by the Maine Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) during a dam safety inspection by MBP Consulting in August 1997. Subsequent to issuance of the dam inspection report, MEMA issued a Dam Safety Order to undertake remedial actions to address the dam safety issues. The former dam owner did not comply with this order, dated December 4, 2006. On May 8, 2007, a Supplemental Dam Safety Order was issued by MEMA ordering that the four gates be left open until such time that an acceptable remedial action plan is implemented. Since that date, the gates have been open, thereby reducing the water level in Anasagunticook Lake by approximately 6-feet. The Town of Canton acquired the Anasagunticook Lake Dam through an eminent domain proceeding in 2008.

It will be interesting to see what happens on the lake, and what funding sources are available to support any development.  Even for a project without any energy-related tax credits or incentives, Community Block Development Grants and other federal funding sources may be available for a dam rebuilding project to maintain lake levels.

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