Sebago Lake

Aerial view of Eel Weir Dam, Sebago Lake outlet.
Sebago Lake is the deepest natural lake (315 feet) in New England. It is home to the southernmost remaining native Atlantic salmon in the Western Hemisphere. In Sebago and its tributaries, Atlantic salmon evolved after the last Ice Age into a community of sea-run and freshwater salmon who regularly interbred and grew extremely large, exceeding 35 pounds and nearly four feet long.

Despite this, Sebago Lake and its native salmon have been treated with as much respect as a junk yard 'in the back 40' for the past century. Only the sheer size and depth of Sebago, which holds one trillion gallons of water, masks what we have done to it. But its native Atlantic salmon display the effect. They are almost gone.

For 30 years KR members have defended Sebago Lake and its native salmon; through Friends of Sebago Lake (co-founded by KR board member Roger Wheeler); and since 1999 with KR member Douglas Watts working with Friends of Sebago Lake. This legal and outreach work has been focussed on dams built between Sebago Lake and Casco Bay since 1900 on the Presumpscot River, the outlet of Sebago.

In August 2011 the Maine Dept. of Environmental Protection issued a water quality certification under the U.S. Clean Water Act which affirms the status quo at Sebago Lake and offers no hope of restoring the lake, its native salmon and its ecosystem.

PROJECT STATUS: In Sept. 2011 KR member Douglas Watts filed a pro se complaint in Maine Superior Court to challenge the Maine DEP water quality certification order at Sebago Lake to require the lake be regulated in a natural state and provide passage for native fish at its outlet dam. In March 2012 the case was remanded to the Maine Board of Environmental Protection (BEP). The BEP has scheduled hearing in July 2012.

FURTHER INFORMATION: Friends of Sebago Lake.