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Penobscot River Restoration Project - Great Works Dam Removal

The Penobscot River Restoration Project (PRRP) began removal of Great Works Dam on June 11, 2012. The PRRP is an unprecedented collaboration between the Penobscot Indian Nation, seven conservation groups, hydropower companies PPL Corporation and Black Bear Hydro, LLC, and state and federal agencies, to restore 11 species of sea-run fish to the Penobscot River, while maintaining energy production. These weekly pictures (most recent at top, earliest at bottom of page) of the demolition are provided by Steven Shepard, C.F.P., Maine Hydro Licensing Coordinator, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, 17 Godfrey Drive, Suite 2, Orono, Maine 04473. For additional photos, video, and information about the project, please visit the Penobscot River Restoration Trust.

Final Week:

"The work will continue a while longer to button things up. However, this is it for my weekly updates -- it has been my pleasure to keep you posted. With some luck and hard work, this will happen all over again next year at the Veazie Dam!"- Steve Shepard, US F&W, Sep. 20, 2012.

Before and After aerial photos courtesy of  Penobscot River Restoration Trust, Monty Rand/Gyro Geo

Week 14 (September 13):

Views of the river looking upstream and down (below).

Week 13 (September 6):

The contractor has moved to the other side of the river where they will remove more sections of the dam, fill the turbine intake area and create a new shoreline.

Week 12 (August 30):

Cleaning up the remains of the main dam, and work continues on the Legacy Dam (below).

Week 12: cleaning up the remains of the main dam

Week 12: Work continues on the Legacy Dam

Week 10 (August 16):

View from downstream of the (mostly gone) Great Works Dam, and Legacy Dam access road under construction (below). The Legacy Dam dates back to days of hydromechanical power when there were reportedly 120 mills between Old Town and Bangor.

Week 10: View from downstream of the (mostly gone) Great Works Dam

Week 10: Legacy Dam access road under construction

Week 9:

Week 9

Week 8:

Week 8

Week 7 (July 26):

These photos are not from the same perspective as previous (below), but you get a better appreciation of the current state of the dam. The concrete section at left is nearly gone and most river flow passes through this here will resume later from the other side of the river. A large area has been isolated within the newly constructed coffer dam. This will allow the next two sections to be demolished in a more controlled and safe manner.

Week 7 close-up

Week 7

Week 6 (July 20):

Demolition of the concrete section at left continued. However, that lowered the crest, shifted the river flow from the powerhouse and gates into the work area, and eventually made the area too wet to work. Variable river flow this week did not help the situation. Demolition has shifted to the middle sections of the dam, as you can see in the photo. These sections are composed of timber and stone crib-work capped with concrete. Last weekend, a volunteer crew mobilized to relocate mussels that were getting stranded in the dewatered parts of the impoundment.

Week 6

Week 5 (July 12):

High flows that started on June 24 finally subsided, and the contractor began work today (July 12). A portion of the road had washed out, and they began rebuilding it this morning (see inset in photo). Work will continue on the concrete gravity dam section at left.

Week 5

Week 3-4 (work delayed because of high flows!):

Great Works Dam Removal, Week 3, photo by Steven Shepard

Week 2:

Great Works Dam Removal, Week 2, photo by Steven Shepard

Week 1:

Great Works Dam Removal, Week 1, photo by Steven Shepard

Perspective is looking at the downstream face of the Great Works Dam from the Bradley (east) shore.  Remains of the 1930's fishway are in the center of the field.  The pulp mill is in the left background.  The major removal activity started with the section at left.