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U.S. stimulus money to fund removing Maine's 8-MW Great Works Dam

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has awarded $6.1 million in economic stimulus money to Penobscot River Restoration Trust to help fund removal of the 8-MW Great Works hydroelectric project from Maine's Penobscot River.

The allotment was part of $167 million in NOAA awards announced June 30, 2009, by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar for marine and coastal habitat restoration.

Penobscot River Restoration Trust raised $25 million to acquire and remove the Great Works (No. 2312) and 8-MW Veazie (No. 2403) dams and bypass the 2-MW Howland project (No. 2721) to open hundreds of miles of the Penobscot River system to Atlantic salmon and other fish. Purchase of the three projects from PPL Corp. is pending approval by federal and state agencies.

Under a salmon restoration agreement, PPL agreed to sell the three projects in exchange for provisions letting it improve its remaining hydropower projects on the river in order to retain more than 90 percent of its original generation. However, the Pennsylvania utility announced July 1 that it agreed to sell the remainder of its PPL Maine hydroelectric generation business to Black Bear Hydro Partners LLC, an affiliate of Arclight Capital Partners LLC. (HydroWorld 7/1/09) PPL had stakes in six hydro projects totaling 38 MW.

The trust plans to remove or decommission the dams to open nearly 1,000 miles of the river to Atlantic salmon and other migratory fish.

Removing Great Works dam and conducting pre-removal scientific monitoring are expected to result in nearly $5 million in jobs, employing nearly 155 people, Penobscot River Restoration Trust said. It said additional money is needed to complete the river restoration program.

NOAA stimulus money targets dams in seven states

NOAA, parent of federal fisheries agency NOAA Fisheries, allotted economic stimulus money for 50 marine and coastal habitat restoration projects, including removal or bypass of dams in seven states, including Great Works.

“When complete, the projects will have restored more than 8,900 acres of habitat and removed obsolete and unsafe dams that open more than 700 stream miles where fish migrate and spawn,” NOAA said.

Other dam removal or bypass work includes:
o Connecticut: Tingue Dam bypass, $2.5 million, restoring 32 miles of fish passage on the Naugatuck River;
o Maryland: Patapsco River restoration, $4 million, removing Union and Simkins dams, opening eight river miles;
o New Hampshire: Winnicut River fish passage restoration, $500,000, removing Winnicut Dam and installing other fish passage to 39 river miles;
o Rhode Island: Rhode Island River ecosystem restoration, $3 million, removing two dams and installing fish and eel ladders;
o Wisconsin: Milwaukee River restoration, $4.7 million, removing a dam and other fish passage barriers to reconnect 158 stream miles to Lake Michigan;
o Oregon: Gold Ray Dam removal, $5 million, opening 333 miles of the Rogue River to salmon passage.

Additionally, NOAA allotted $2 million to Elwha River floodplain restoration in Washington, to restore 82 acres of floodplain in conjunction with plans to remove 12-MW Elwha and 12-MW Glines Canyon dams in Olympic National Park. (HydroWorld 1/29/07)

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