Proposed Dam at Scribner's Mill Threatens Crooked River Salmon
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Free passage on the main stem of the Crooked River is currently threatened by a proposal to rebuild the Scribner's Mill Dam, which could eliminate or reduce access to 80% of the available salmon-spawning habitat.
Unlike most salmon waters in the region, salmon production in the Crooked River system contributes a significant number of wild fish to the Sebago Lake fishery (ranging from 20% to 70%, depending on stocking levels).
The Crooked River and many of its associated tributaries provide excellent spawning and juvenile habitat for native landlocked salmon. Relatively little habitat is associated with other tributaries to Sebago Lake. Historically, numerous mill dams on the main-stem of the river severally restricted access to spawning and nursery habitat for salmon. By the late 1980's, regional fisheries staff had successfully restored free passage throughout most of the Crooked River drainage and had begun to restore and reestablish salmon runs. *
Late in 2007, Scribner's Mill Preservation Inc. submitted their revised application for the proposed Scribner's Mill Sawmill Project to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. The original application was filed in 2002. The intent of the project is to restore and operate a water powered sawmill using 19th century equipment as part of an education center and museum. (www.scribnersmill.org)
Some of the proposed components of the project include:**
Reconstruction of a wooden intake flume and installation of three penstocks and water wheels.
Removal of bedrock and loose stones from the existing tailrace and extending the tailrace wall.
Reconstruction of the breached west section of the dam with a rock ramp fishway.
Construction of a log insertion area upstream from the mill.
If approved, the reconstructed dam and flume will create an impoundment with an anticipated surface area of almost 11 acres and will extend upstream approximately 1.1 miles.
Obviously, the main concerns with this proposal are; the proposed rock ramp fishway and it's effect on upstream passage for landlocked salmon and other resident fish species, as well as the proposed impoundment effect on spawning and nursery habitat.
A potential rebuilding of dam on a river that supports such an important fishery resource, with the understanding that the dam impacts cannot be fully mitigated, is extremely disturbing. Also, there are current energy options that exist to power the sawmill that would negate the expected impacts. While not 'authentic' to the time period, they certainly present a viable option to a dam that would be in the river 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, in support of a museum with expected seasonal use.
The Sebago Chapter of Trout Unlimited , along with the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, the Mollyocket TU chapter and the TU State Council strongly oppose this project.
Those interested in the proposed dam can contact Dana Murch at Maine DEP at 287-7784 or firstname.lastname@example.org Please be advised that copies of the application can be provided only if requested and picked up and paid for at DEP in Augusta.
I can also provide scanned portions of the application and other documentation via e-mail. Reply here and I'll do my best.
Any member or other interested party who has expertise in this area who has interest can contact me or their local chapter leaders as well. Comments are due back to Maine DEP by the end of January.
Here is a link to the thread on Fly Fishing in Maine Link to Discussion on FFinM
Added: March 6, 2008
The link above may not work, FFinMaine has a new forum and here is another link of importance Thread on FFinM worth reading
Added: April 1, 2008
Here is a video link on the debate about the Dam proposel at Scribner's Mill WCSH Video
Added:Oct. 28, 2008
Good news about the Dam Proposel, it was denied. Read this tread on FFinM www.flyfishinginmaine.com/forum/viewtopic.php
Added:Aug. 4, 2010
More news about the Dam Proposel at Scribner Mills, from The Portland Press Herald Dam plan up against landlocked salmon