July 16, 2019  
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Cobbosseecontee: On the Edge of Restoration, Apr 23
Cobbosseecontee: On the Edge of Restoration, Apr 23
“Cobbosseecontee: On the Edge of Restoration”

April 23, 6:00 - 7:30 PM Gardiner Public Library

Learn the history of this incredibly important waterway and what is happening today to secure fish passage for its watershed. Dammed at its head of tide in 1761, Cobboseecontee Stream is the largest coastal watershed in Maine (after Presumpscot River/Sebago Lake) still impassible to native migratory fish. A tributary of upper Merrymeeting Bay, the Cobboseecontee watershed includes the communities of Gardiner, West Gardiner, Litchfield, Richmond, Winthrop, Manchester, Monmouth, Readfield and Hallowell. It contains 20.3 square miles of lakes and ponds, the largest being Cobboseecontee, Maranacook and Annabessacook.

Working from 1998-2004, a consortium of local citizens, citizen conservation groups and state and federal agencies secured $125,000 in funding for the necessary engineering studies, legal permits and construction contracts to breach and remove the first dam in the watershed, the 180 year old Gardiner Paperboard dam in downtown Gardiner.

After the hired contractor failed to perform the dam removal in autumn 2004, the dam and adjoining property were subsequently sold to several entities, the most recent of which has declined interest in
re-initiating the dam removal project.

Options available for securing native fish passage include public/private efforts by willing dam owners to provide fish passage, invocation of the State of Maine’s fishway law and use of the Endangered Species Act for endangered Atlantic salmon native to the watershed.

Steve Brooke served as Project Coordinator of the Kennebec Coalition during the decommissioning and removal of the Edwards Dam in Augusta on Maine’s Kennebec River. After retiring from the State Planning Office, he works with Upstream, a Gardiner, Maine non-profit working to return river herring to the Cobbossee watershed.


Posted on Tuesday, April 16, 2019 (Archive on Thursday, May 16, 2019)
Posted by Jym St. Pierre   Contributed by Jym St. Pierre

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