Fish Passage Restoration on the Dennys River
Updated: Sep 28
After 75 years the Denny’s River is reconnected with its headwaters, Meddybemps Lake. The restoration was completed in three phases that began on a cold day in January 2020. The Downeast Salmon Federation, in partnership with the Maine Department of Marine Resources, has removed the abandoned hydroelectric powerhouse and dam remnants that constricted the river.
In process taking down the dam with some heavy-lifting equipment.
The powerhouse was part of a licensed hydroelectric project in the 1940s, 50s, and 60s but has been abandoned for many years and has acted as a barrier to free movement of fish--primarily river herring, sea lamprey, and Atlantic salmon--and other aquatic organisms into Meddybemps Lake. Stone fish passage steps were installed this summer to repair the damaged riverbed.
Each phase has been successful thanks to countless hours from community members, state and federal agency personnel, engineers, and skilled local contractors.
We couldn't have made such big moves without the people in our community!
This project is supported by a wide array of partners including the Passamaquoddy Tribe at Sipayik, the Nature Conservancy, Meddybemp's Lake Association, Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund, USFWS, the Alewife Harvesters of Maine, and countless other supporters. The descendants of the dam's builder have been instrumental in helping complete this project.
With restored access the town of Meddybemps hopes that the Dennys' river herring run will increase and once again support a sustainable heritage fishery.
The end result - beautiful free flowing river!