Crews begin removing Great Works dam; Kenneth Salazar calls effort ‘milestone for river conservation’
BRADLEY, Maine — Workers began removing the Great Works dam late Monday morning, part of a historic effort to open nearly 1,000 miles of habitat to 11 species of fish that haven’t had open access to the Penobscot River for two centuries.
U.S. Interior Secretary Kenneth Salazar joined about 300 conservationists, government officials, tribal leaders and residents to witness the first tangible step in what has been a 13-year push to revive the river.
“Today marks an important milestone for river conservation in America,” Salazar said moments before heavy equipment operators fired up their engines. “Through a historic partnership that exemplifies President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors Initiative, we are reconnecting 1,000 miles of river, restoring vital habitat for fish and wildlife, expanding opportunities for outdoor recreation, and supporting energy production, jobs and economic growth in communities throughout Maine.”
The Great Works dam stretches across the Penobscot River from Bradley to Old Town. The Veazie dam also is slated for removal beginning in 2013, the Milford dam will get a new fish lift, and a fish bypass will be built at the Howland dam. The project, led by the Penobscot River Restoration Trust, has been called the biggest river restoration project in the eastern U.S. and is expected to cost about $62 million.
read the whole start.....