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Two Sabattus River dams are coming down

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in partnership with the Maine Department of Marine Resources and the Atlantic Salmon Federation, began the removal of two dams on the Sabattus River near Lisbon on Thursday.

Once the project is complete, more than 2,000 acres of lake and pond habitat and 75 miles of rivers and streams will be reopened to migratory fish such as alewives, shad, eels, and endangered Atlantic salmon.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says removing the Upper Town Dam and the Mill Remnant Dam will also eliminate public safety hazards and reduce flooding risks.

The project is being made possible, in part, by $350,000 in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding.

Once access is restored, a self-sustaining run of nearly 500,000 adult alewives could return to Sabattus Pond every year.

Murray Carpenter is Maine Public’s climate reporter, covering climate change and other environmental news.