Removing the Great Works Dam;
Restoring the Penobscot River

With the Penobscot River Restoration Trust and your help, we're restoring river-to-ocean habitat and providing opportunity for people.

For generations, the Great Works Dam and other dams on Maine's Penobscot River have blocked Atlantic salmon, shad, alewife and other fish from moving freely between ocean and river habitats.
Photo © C.Daigle/Penobscot River Restoration Trust

In June, after years of careful planning and fund-raising, the Penobscot River Restoration Trust celebrated the removal of the Great Works Dam. US Interior Secretary Ken Salazar praises the partnership and the project.
Photo © Penobscot River Restoration Trust

A member of the Penobscot Indian Nation celebrates the dam's removal with a blessing of the river.
Photo © s.Fitzpatrick/TNC

U.S. Representative Mike Michaud praises the historic achievement of removing the Great Works Dam and reconnecting the Penobscot River's habitats.
Photo © Penobscot River Restoration Trust

Mike Tetreault, state director of The Nature Conservancy in Maine, describes how the dam's removal will restore fish passage and provide a myriad of economic and quality of life benefits for people.
Photo © s.Fitzpatrick/TNC

By mid-July, the dam's removal was in full swing, with construction crews removing concrete and rock from this large and complex dam.
Photo © C.Daigle/Penobscot River Restoration Trust

By August, crews had removed large sections of the dam.
Photo © Steve Shepard/USFWS

A few months into the work, and this stretch of the Penobscot River is flowing free for the first time in nearly 200 years.
Photos © J.Royte/TNC

As the removal process is underway, volunteers, Conservancy staff and many others help relocate mussels to deeper water. Among rare species are yellow lampmussel mussels and tidewater mucket.
Photo © Sarah Craig

As the river receded, it exposed treasures and trash, decades of relics once covered by the Penobscot. Volunteers also helped clean up more than a ton of glass, pottery and other things from the exposed riverbed.
Photo © J.Royte/TNC

Next summer, work is expected to begin on removing the Veazie Dam, nine miles downstream. Then a new nature-like fish bypass will be installed at the Howland Dam, farther north.
Photo © Sarah Craig

As fish passage is improved at four remaining dams and energy increased at others, these ecological benefits will be realized while maintaining or even increasing energy production. The Nature Conservancy is proud to be a part of the Penobscot River Restoration Trust.
Photo © Sarah Craig


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