Coopers Mill Dam Removal, Sheepscot River, Maine

Since 2015, the Atlantic Salmon Federation (ASF) and their partners including Maine DMR, NOAA Fisheries, USFWS, NGOs, and local towns have spearheaded efforts to restore habitat connectivity at the basin scale within the Sheepscot River. This effort builds on multiple decades of effort within the fisheries conservation community on the Sheepscot, which is home to twelve species of native sea-run fish, including ESA-listed Atlantic salmon. Working collaboratively, Inter-Fluve and Kleinschmidt have assisted ASF and partners with successful design and implementation the removal of Coopers Mills dam (removed 2018), the partial removal and nature-like fish passage at Head Tide dam (completed 2019), and technical fish passage at Branch Pond (final design pending, construction slated for 2021).

Each of these sites have included complexities to project design and construction, including interactions with fire protection water supply, restrictive covenants, historical resources and public access needs. The successful projects have required unconventional and innovative design solutions in order to meet the fundamental fish passage and habitat connectivity objectives, while creating enjoyable amenities for the respective towns. The inter-disciplinary team developed solutions to safeguard public safety and reduce the impacts on native fish populations, while also maintaining fire protection water supply, memorializing the quintessential history of the villages, promoting public use and access to the river for recreational purposes, and providing educational components.

The Sheepscot is home to twelve species of native sea-run fish, including ESA-listed Atlantic salmon. Photo: Coopers Mill dam before removal.

After removal.

Conceptual renderings developed for the Coopers Mill dam removal.