Statement on the Penobscot River Restoration in Maine

Historic Turning Point for Penobscot River and its Communities

August 21st, 2008

<P>Amy Kober, National Communications Director, 206-213-0330 x23 </P>

Press Release from the Penobscot River Restoration Trust (PDF)

Washington, DC — Today is a historic turning point for the Penobscot River and its communities. It is exciting to enter the next phase of this project one of the most important river restoration efforts our country has ever seen.

Rivers are remarkably resilient, and the Penobscot is no exception. Even after years of abuse they can come back to life. By removing the Penobscot’s outdated dams, we will launch a river renaissance from mountains to sea that will be celebrated for generations to come.

On the Penobscot we are witnessing the future of river conservation. Thanks to a ground-breaking collaboration, the river will soon be a model for what we hope to achieve on other major rivers across the country improved health, restored fish and wildlife, balanced energy production, and communities revitalized by new recreation and economic opportunities.

Across the country, over 700 dams have been removed for environmental, economic and public safety reasons. Removing the Penobscot’s two lowermost dams and installing fish passage on a third will restore access to roughly 1,000 miles of habitat for the river’s fish, making this project one of the most significant dam removal efforts ever.

In the future, healthy rivers and clean water will be more valuable than we ever imagined. With climate change bringing more intense storms, floods and droughts, a healthy river must be the keystone of a community’s plan for safety, economic well-being and quality of life.

We must protect and restore our rivers so that they can continue to serve as the lifelines and lifeblood for the people, fish and wildlife that depend on them. This effort on the Penobscot shows us the way forward.

American Rivers named the Penobscot, New England’s second largest river, as one of America’s Most Endangered Rivers(TM) every year from 1989 to 1996 because of existing or proposed dams. We look forward to the day when we can declare the Penobscot “Most Improved”.

The Penobscot River restoration is truly a collaborative effort. We would not be where we are today without the strong and diverse partnership involving the Penobscot Indian Nation, federal, state and local levels of government, corporations, conservation organizations, private foundations and individual donors. 

Dam Removal Nationwide

  • More than 714 dams have been removed in the United States Roughly 48 dams are projected for removal in 2008.
  • In 2007, 54 dams were removed.

Dams Removed in Maine 

Over 465 miles of rivers in Maine have been restored by dam removal 15 dams have been removed in Maine: 

  • East Machias River (East Machias Dam)
  • Kennebec River (Edwards Dam)
  • Machias River (Canaan Lake Outlet Dam)
  • Penobscot River (Bangor Dam)
  • Pleasant River (Columbia Falls Dam)
  • Pleasant River (Brownville Dam)
  • Presumpscot River (Smelt Hill)
  • St. George River (Sennebec Dam)
  • Sandy River (Madison Electric Dam)
  • Sebasticook River (Main Street Dam)
  • Sebasticook River (Fort Halifax Dam)
  • Souadabscook Stream (Grist Mill Dam)
  • Souadabscook Stream (Hampden Recreation Area Dam)
  • Souadabscook Stream (Souadabscook Falls Dam)
  • Stetson Stream (Archer’s Mill Dam)



About American Rivers

About American Rivers

American Rivers protects wild rivers, restores damaged rivers, and conserves clean water for people and nature. Since 1973, American Rivers has protected and restored more than 150,000 miles of rivers through advocacy efforts, on-the-ground projects, and the annual America’s Most Endangered Rivers® campaign. Headquartered in Washington, DC, American Rivers has offices across the country and more than 200,000 members, supporters, and volunteers.

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