Work began yesterday to remove the Great Works dam on the Penobscot River, a year and a half after the Penobscot River Restoration Trust bought the dam and two others for $24 million.
A group of 300 people, including U.S. Interior Secretary Kenneth Salazar, other government officials, tribal leaders and conservationists, were on hand yesterday to witness the start of deconstruction work, according to the Bangor Daily News. The bridge spans the river from Bradley to Old Town, and its removal is part of a plan to reopen about 1,000 miles of river to 11 fish species, including Atlantic salmon, sturgeon and river herring.
According to the New York Times, plans to dismantle the dams began back in 1990, when PPL bought them from Bangor Hydro Electric Co. The trust in December 2010 bought the Great Works, Veazie and Howland dams from PPL Corp. It plans to also dismantle the Veazie dam next year and construct a bypass on the Howland dam. It's been called the biggest river restoration project in the eastern United States and is expected to total $62 million. PPL will increase power generation at other dams on the river to offset the loss of the three dams.
Federal officials said yesterday that they will give $3.5 million to the project.
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