I’ve heard of a non-profit raising money to save something, but have you ever heard of buying something to destroy it? Well, that’s the idea Laura Rose Day [above], executive director of the Penobscot River Restoration Trust put into action. In December 2010, A group of organizations working together as the Penobscot River Restoration Trust officially took possession of the Veazie, Great Works and Howland dams from Pennsylvania Power and Light in a historic deal worth $24 million.
From Kevin Miller at the Bangor Daily News: Under an agreement brokered in 2004, PPL agreed to sell the three dams to the trust for roughly $25 million. PPL, in return, gained authorization to increase power generation at six other dams along the river, entirely offsetting the generation losses incurred when the Veazie, Howland and Great Works dams are decommissioned.
“This landmark partnership has proven that business, government and interested citizens can reach mutually agreeable solutions that benefit the community, the economy and the environment,” Dennis Murphy, a vice president and chief operating officer at PPL, said in a statement Monday.
Once complete, the project will have reopened nearly 1,000 miles of river and streams within the Penobscot watershed to endangered Atlantic salmon, sturgeon, American shad, alewives and seven other species of migratory, sea-run fish. In turn, those species help support other commercially important species, such as cod and lobster.
“This may well turn out to be the most important day for Atlantic salmon in the past 200 years,” Bill Taylor, president of the Atlantic Salmon Federation, said in a statement Monday. “The Penobscot project is our best — and perhaps last — chance of restoring a major run of wild Atlantic salmon in the United States.”
But supporters insist fish and other wildlife won’t be the only beneficiaries. They also predict that fishermen and tourists will be drawn to the freer-flowing river. The Penobscot endeavor has been hailed internationally as a model river restoration project. [Kevin Miller, Bangor Daily News]
Demolition of the Great Works Dam [pictured above with Laura Rose Day] is slated to begin in the summer of 2012. There’s a damn good chance it’ll be the biggest party Bangor Maine has ever thrown.