As bulldozers began the dismantling of Maine’s Veazie Dam on July 22, conservation partners including NFWF celebrated a major victory in river restoration. Demolition of the massive structure on the Penobscot near Bangor will re-open more than 1,000 miles of free-flowing water for Atlantic salmon and other native sea-run fish.
Fish passage up the Penobscot has been blocked by a series of dams for nearly two hundred years. Removal of Veazie, the lowest dam on the river, is a giant step toward re-establishing fish populations including river herring, a species that NFWF has focused on since 2009.
The event caps more than a decade of work by the Penobscot River Restoration Trust, the Penobscot Indian Nation, Maine Department of Marine Resources, federal and state agencies and many conservation groups.
The restoration kicked off last summer with the removal of Great Works Dam. Demolition of Veazie and the installation of fish passages at other dams will complete the project, reconnecting the length of the state’s largest river with the Gulf of Maine.
Investments in equipment at Black Bear Hydro facilities along the river will keep energy generation at the same level as when the project began – a double win for the ecosystem and local residents.