Wild Atlantic salmon, Gardiner Paperboard Dam, Nov. 1996.
Cobbosseecontee Stream drains a large network of natural lakes on the west side of the lower Kennebec River in Maine which historically supported native alewife runs of 3-4 million adults. The runs were extirpated by mill dam construction near the stream's mouth in the 1760s-1780s. The remaining dams on the stream today, mostly built in the early to mid 1800s, are still impassable to fish.

A six year collaborative effort (1998-2004) resulted in a formal, multi-party agreement to remove the lowermost dam on Cobbosseecontee Stream (Gardiner Paperboard Dam aka Yorktowne Dam) but was thwarted by the dam removal contractor failing to perform the work due to financial insolvency; soon after the dam and property were sold to new owners with no interest in removing the dam or providing fish passage at the dam. In 2011 KR and its members formally re-contacted the newest owners of the lowermost dam, PaperRoute LLC (Allen Atwell and Carter Becker of South Freeport, Maine), to elicit their support in removing the lower dam using public fisheries restoration monies. The offer was rebuffed and the owners stated no interest in providing any fish passage at the dam.

In February 2012, Kennebec Reborn, the Maine Council of the Atlantic Salmon Federation (ASF) and Maine Rivers submitted formal requests to the Maine Commissioners of Inland and Marine Fisheries to convene a legal fishway proceeding under Maine's fishway law to require the owners of the lowermost dam to install fish passage at the dam or remove it.

BRIEFING and SUMMARY PAPERCobbosseecontee Watershed Overview. 

PROJECT STATUS: Except for acknowledgement of receipt of the request notices submitted by KR, MCASF and Maine Rivers, Maine's Fisheries Commissioners have taken no action nor proposed any schedule for taking any action to require the owners of the lowermost dam on Cobbosseecontee Stream to provide fish passage at the dam.

The two lowermost dams on Cobbosseecontee Stream in Gardiner.
Photo by Ed Friedman, Point of View helicopter service.