DAM-termined : The Breaching of the Veazie Dam Frees Maine’s Largest River
On Monday, July 22nd, the Penobscot River Restoration Trust and its committed partners will remove the Veazie Dam on the Penobscot River thus freeing the river for the first time in almost two hundred years. Sitting on the Penobscot River between Veazie and Eddington, the Veazie Dam is the oldest and the lowermost dam inhibiting fish passage since 1912. This monumental feat will restore access to 1,000 miles of crucial waterways to all sea-run fish species. The Penobscot River Restoration Trust has made historic progress beginning with the removal of the Great Works Dam in the summer of 2012. Its work has been lauded by National Geographic as “one of the most high-profile river restoration projects… The effort is reviving native sea-run fish populations and cultural traditions and creating economic and recreational opportunities, while maintaining existing hydropower production along the largest river within Maine.” The final step of the project will be to bypass Howland Dam, a third dam on the river. To learn more about the Veazie Dam and the project check out the short Vimeo video, “Freeing a River: Running and Removing Dams on Maine’s Penobscot River.”
A free Penobscot River will benefit New England ecologically, culturally, recreationally, and economically. From an ecological standpoint, the removal of the dams is crucial for restoring the population of endangered Atlantic salmon, shortnose sturgeon, American shad, alewife, and other fish species in the watershed. Chris Wood, Chief Executive Officer of Trout Unlimited, deemed the project “the single best chance, and maybe the last chance to restore Atlantic salmon.” Restoring the salmon will also benefit over 137 species of wildlife and plants that depend on them. In addition, the restoration of the river to its natural state of connectivity will also impact cultural traditions and recreational experiences that have been restricted for generations.
On the morning of July 7th, Dan Kusnierz was joined by follow Team Penobscot members Bob Bryant, Barry Dana, Leah Elliott, and Lori Dana as well as members from the 1% for the Planet team to run on the behalf on the Penobscot River. Dan Kusnierz, Director of the Water Quality Program for the Penobscot Indian Nation, proclaimed, “Its an honor to be able to run the Mad Marathon as a member of Team Penobscot to help raise awareness and funds to support the restoration of the Penobscot River – the lifeblood of the Penobscot people.”
The 1 % for the Planet network is a proud partner of the Penobscot River Restoration Trust in what we feel is an excellent example of collective impact to solve environmental issues and promote sustainable solutions.
The immense progress and successes on the Penobscot River have been made possible by the support of devoted partners both private and public. These supporters include Penobscot Indian Nation, state and federal agencies, hydropower companies, and conservation organizations, such as American Rivers, Atlantic Salmon Federation, Maine Aubodon, The Natural Resources Council of Maine, Nature Conservancy, and Trout Unlimited.
Join Us and Stay Involved!
The Penobscot River Restoration Trust invites you to support the project at the Veazie Dam Breaching and Celebration taking place on Monday, July 22nd. You can also support the Penobscot Project by making a donation to the effort that has already raised nearly 40,000 dollars in support. You may be interested in adding your business or organization to Penobscot’s list of endorsers, signing up for the newsletter, or “liking” their Facebook page for updates about their exciting progress. By taking action big or small, each supporter has the opportunity to contribute to this important project and leave a legacy. To learn more about the ways in which to get involved visit the Penobscot River Restoration Trust’s Action Center.