MEDDYBEMPS — After several years of work, the Downeast Salmon Federation and Maine Department of Marine Resources took down the abandoned Meddybemps Powerhouse, which was located between Meddybemps Lake and the Dennys River.
“The reason they’ve removed is it was a barrier to alewives migration into Meddybemps Lake,” said Ernie Atkinson, a marine resources scientist for the Department of Marine Resources.
Executive Director of the Downeast Salmon Federation Dwayne Shaw said the dam was there for about 75 years, and its removal will be beneficial.
“It’s also great for the lake as food for the important bass fishery and other fisheries here,” Shaw said. “Ecologically, the alewives are super important for the river productivity and ultimately the endangered Atlantic Salmon.”
According to Shaw, this will also help the town of Meddybemps financially.
“Alewives are very important economically, so they’re great lobster bait, and the town is managing for that harvest to be able to sell those as lobster bait,” Shaw said.
Brownfields Program Coordinator for Passamaquoddy Tribe’s Environmental Department Dale Mitchell said the land near where the dam was located was contaminated years ago, but he cleaned it up, and it has been returned to the tribe.
“We are just so happy that I’m standing here being able to tell you that this is where my ancestors lived, my relatives,” Mitchell said.
Although he’s not exactly sure what the tribe will use the land for, Mitchell said they already had a ceremony there.
“It’s an important symbol of working cooperatively with the state and federal government top return this parcel of land back to the tribe, so we could come here and just honor everything around us,” said Donald Soctomah, tribal historic preservation officer for the Passamaquoddy Tribe.
Shaw said he expects this project to be completed by next year.