October 27, 2010 - removing Maine dams, or not

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Fall foliage over Center Pond, in Phippsburg, Maine.  Center Pond was a tidal marsh that was dammed years ago to facilitate the commercial production of ice.  It's a fine place to paddle.

Dam removal is a hot topic.  On the Olympic Peninsula of Washington, two large dams are currently slated for removal.  In Maine, a number of dams have been removed in the past twenty-five years.  The Maine DEP maintains a list of Maine dams that either have been removed (PDF) or are "currently proposed or under study for removal".  This list presents their status as of January 1, 2010.

Twenty dams are cited as having been removed by that date:

1. Milton Leatherboard Lower Dam Lebanon, ME & Milton, NH Salmon Falls River 1986
2. Bolster’s Mill Dam Harrison & Otisfield Crooked River 1987-88
3. Columbia Falls Dam Columbia Falls Pleasant River 1988
4. Bangor Dam Bangor & Brewer Penobscot River 1995
5. Mast Point Dam Berwick, ME & Somersworth, NH Salmon Falls River 1997
6. Grist Mill Dam Hampden Souadabscook Stream 1998
7. Temple Mill Dam Hampden Souadabscook Stream 1999
8. Brownville Dam Brownville Pleasant River 1999
9. Edwards Dam Augusta Kennebec River 1999
10. East Machias Dam East Machias East Machias River 2000
11. Mill Dam Corinna East Branch Sebasticook River 2000-01
12. Sennebec Dam Union St. George River 2002
13. Main Street Dam Newport Sebasticook River 2002
14. Smelt Hill Dam Falmouth Presumpscot River 2002
15. Sandy River Dam Norridgewock & Starks Sandy River 2006
16. Fort Halifax Dam Winslow Sebasticook River 2008
17. Fields Pond Dam Orrington Sedunkedunk Stream 2008
18. Sherman Lake Dam Newcastle Marsh River 2009
19. Mill Pond Dam Brewer Sedgunkedunk Stream 2009
20. Little River Dam Lisbon & Topsham Little River 2009

To these, 2010 has brought at least two additions: the Montsweag Dam, on Montsweag Brook in Wiscasset and Woolwich.  You can watch 19 days worth of demolition work on that dam in a 3-minute time-lapse Youtube video.  Also gone in 2010 is the West Winterport dam on Marsh Stream in Winterport and Frankfort.

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