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Culvert restoration work underway in Sebago Lake Watershed to aid fish passage

Burgress Brook dam removal in Jugtown Forest
Stacey Cramp/Sebago Clean Waters
Burgress Brook dam removal in Jugtown Forest

Landlocked salmon and brook trout will soon be able to run the Burgess Brook tributary of the Crooked River to Sebago Lake, a spawning habitat for the species, due to culvert restoration work being done in the Sebago Lake Watershed.

Earlier this month the Lakes Environmental Association led a group of volunteers to remove remnants of an old stone dam in the brook that restricted fish passage. The next step is to remove a crushed culvert and replace it with an open bottom bridge to widen the passage for fish.

LEA Executive Director Colin Holme says they used a stream restoration specialist to ensure their work enhances the habitat for the fish.

"Throughout the project he was taking elevations and making sure there was enough water for the fish to get through and that it was at the proper elevation for the species," Holme said.

Holme says an 8 million dollar grant from the Regional Conservation Partnership Program run by the U.S. Dept of Agriculture is funding culvert restoration work throughout the Sebago Lake Watershed. He says new crossings are also designed for more extreme weather to prevent flooding.

The LEA is working with nine partners, including several land trusts that are leveraging the 8 million dollar grant to raise an additional 12 million dollars to work with private landowners to conserve 35 thousand acres around the Sebago Lake watershed in the next 15 years.