Celebrating the 10th Anniversary of Maine’s Edwards Dam Removal

It is one of our nation’s biggest river restoration successes.

On June 30, we will gather with our partners on the bank of the Kennebec River in Augusta, Maine to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the removal of Edwards Dam.

I was lucky to be there ten years ago when the dam was removed to restore the Kennebec. I remember standing with the crowd, straining to see the yellow backhoe working on the other side of the river. Finally, a big rush of water broke through the dam and we all cheered – for the first time in 160 years, the Kennebec River was flowing free.

There was an overwhelming feeling of celebration then, and I expect the mood to be just as celebratory on June 30. The river has been reborn. The Kennebec today is home to striped bass, Atlantic salmon, and more than two million alewives. It is a magnet for recreation and a source of economic growth and community pride.

Of course, this isn’t the end of the effort to restore the Kennebec – in a way, it’s just the beginning. Restoration is a process, and the Kennebec is continuing to rebound.

The Kennebec is a great example of a river renaissance that is happening nationwide. Many communities are realizing that a healthy river is a valuable asset, and that removing an old, unsafe, or harmful dam can be a great tool to bring their river – and their community – back to life.

Since 1999, thanks to the work of American Rivers and our partners, more than 460 outdated dams have been removed nationwide – 35 of those in New England – and the number of recorded dam removals grows each year.

Do you have memories of the Kennebec, or stories about this special river? Please share them with us