The US State of Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife has approved plans for the construction of a fish passage at Cumberland Mills Dam in Westbrook.
The plan is the result of more than three years of negotiations with S.D. Warren Co. d/b/a Sappi Fine Paper North America, owner of the dam, Friends of the Presumpscot River, American Rivers, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, the Maine Department of Marine Resources, and US Fish and Wildlife Services.
The approval by department Commissioner Roland “Danny” Martin marks the conclusion of proceedings that began with a petition from the Friends of the Presumpscot River and American Rivers, two groups seeking the restoration of anadromous or migratory fish resources on the Presumpscot River.
In June 2009, Commissioner Martin determined that a fish passage should be constructed and maintained at the Cumberland Mills Dam in order to conserve, develop or restore fish resources, specifically alewife, blueback herring, American shad and American eel, to the Presumpscot River watershed. It was determined that habitat in the Presumpscot River watershed above Cumberland Mills Dam is sufficient and suitable to support commercial or recreational fishing.
Commissioner Martin has now approved a joint proposal submitted by all parties that includes: fishway design, a fishway and channel monitoring and maintenance plan, an effectiveness testing plan, and a construction schedule.
“The Presumpscot River is the only major coastal Maine river that does not have a fish passage at the first downstream dam situated on it, and that soon will change,” said Commissioner Martin. “I congratulate everyone involved in these proceedings for working together on a comprehensive strategy to provide safe and effective passage for fish on this waterway.”
Sappi Fine Paper North America will now being work to fulfill the project.