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Mill Agrees to Remove Dam on Presumpscot River in Westbrook

Courtesy Friends of the Presumpscot River
The Saccarappa Dam in downtown Westbrook.

LEWISTON, Maine - After three years of negotiations, the S.D. Warren Company has agreed to remove the Saccarappa Hydroelectric Project, the second dam on southern Maine's Presumpscot River in downtown Westbrook. 

The agreement, reached with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Maine Department of Marine Resources, the city of Westbrook and two conservation groups, also calls for construction of fish passage at Saccarappa Falls. 

It will be at least 2020 before the barrier is removed, but Sean Mahoney of the Conservation Law Foundation says when it's gone five miles of the most productive habitat on the river will be opened up, "and is going to, we believe, lead to the restoration of hundreds of thousands of river herring, alewives and blueback herring and American shad - and may even bring back Atlantic salmon."

The Presumpscot River was once home to hundreds of thousands of migratory fish.  The first dam on the river upstream of Casco Bay was removed in 2002 after flood damage.  Terms of the agreement must still be ratified by the company's board of directors and by the Westbrook City Council.