A project this summer at a former mill site in Brooksville aims to restore fish passage to the Bagaduce River. PHOTO COURTESY OF KEN WOISARD

Project aims to restore fish passage to river



BROOKSVILLE — A project is underway this summer to help restore fish passage to the Bagaduce River.

Construction vehicles will be onsite at the Mill Pond on Coastal Road in Brooksville.

“This project will take place on the small property owned by Maine Coast Heritage Trust at a former mill site at the head of the Bagaduce River,” said Ciona Ulbrich, the trust’s senior project manager.

The project goals are to improve fish passage, repair and stabilize the dam and create some improvements for public enjoyment and safety including a small parking lot. There will be a new pull-off and dry hydrant for fire trucks.

“This project has so many exciting elements to it — rich human history, important wildlife values, community significance and a great partnership involving many people,” Ulbrich said.

This is the third in a set of five projects prioritized by a three-town alewife committee (Brooksville, Penobscot and Sedgwick). Community members and organizations have partnered in the multi-year effort to restore fish passage to the Bagaduce River watershed.

“These restoration projects are an important part of an overall goal for these towns to monitor, manage and ensure the existence of important fisheries that have been culturally connected to towns long before dams were built,” said Mike Thalhauser, co-management specialist for the Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries.

In 2018 and 2019, nature-like fishways were installed at the outlets of Pierce Pond and Wights Pond in Penobscot. After the current project, the partners hope to complete two more projects in 2021: one in Brooksville and one in Sedgwick.

Restoring fish passage will help rebuild the population of forage fish in the river and Gulf of Maine. That means more food in the food chain for mammals, birds and other fish.

Mike Burke of Inter-fluve is the engineer and has worked together with Gartley & Dorsky Engineering and Surveying to assess the dam safety and fish passage needs and design the improvements and changes. RF Jordan and Sons Construction Inc. will be doing the construction work.

Brooksville Alewife Committee members Gunnar and Kathy Lymburner will donate stone from their fields, helping to reduce cost. Other helping hands so far include neighbors, Maine SeaGrant and Hart Farm Tree and Tractor.

“These projects are so complex that every person and organization that pitches in is important to getting them done,” Ulbrich said. “I am especially grateful to a number of people and families in this area who gave either in kind or financial gifts here. This work would be impossible without them.”

Construction, engineering and improvements at the site are being funded in part by the 2016 Chevron Marine Oil Terminal Facility Natural Resource Damage Settlement. Other funding is being provided by NOAA and The Nature Conservancy through the Penobscot Habitat Focus Area, Maine Coast Heritage Trust and a number of private donors.

For safety, people will be asked to stay away from the site during the construction.

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