June 11, 2012 was a great day for the Penobscot River and all of the wildlife and communities that depend upon it. The removal of the Great Works Dam is a landmark in the Penobscot River Restoration Project, of which NRCM is a founding member. In addition to the environmental, economic, and cultural benefits of a revived Penobscot River, the people of Maine will continue to benefit from the same amount of energy generation because Black Bear Hydro is increasing energy development at its other facilities in the river system. The decommissioning and removal of the Great Works Dam, located north of Bangor, is part of a broad collaborative effort that will eventually include removal of the Veazie Dam and creation of new, upstream fish passage at Milford and Howland dams. Once completed, the Project will vastly improve access to nearly 1,000 miles of historic fish habitat, benefitting 11 species of native sea-run fish including endangered Atlantic salmon. The entire Project will be phased over several years and will create hundreds of jobs.
Imagine the Penobscot teeming with fish—shad, striped bass, sturgeon, and alewives. They are all important to our Gulf of Maine ground fisheries. Imagine thousands of Atlantic salmon pulsing through its waters. This is what the people of the Penobscot Indian Nation experienced centuries ago on the river, the lifeblood of their culture. We are a taking a giant leap toward that river that once ran freely, leading sea-run fish from the Atlantic Ocean to their breeding habitat deep in Maine’s North Woods. That is the river we want to leave for all of our grandchildren.
(Speakers, in order of appearance: Nick Bennett, NRCM Staff Scientist; Chief Kirk Francis of the Penobscot Indian Nation; Brownie Carson, former NRCM executive director; Ken Salazar, Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior; Lisa Pohlmann, NRCM CEO, and Sam Day, high school student and son of Laura Rose Day, Penobscot River Restoration Trust executive director)