They’re calling it a “significant habitat restoration project” — plans are in the works between the town of Washburn and the Maine Department of Environmental Protection to remove the lower dam and the upper berm of the mill pond in town — which would open up almost 30 miles of drainage to Atlantic salmon and brook trout.
Nick Archer, Regional Director of the Northern office of the Maine DEP says, “historically Atlantic salmon were up in there, before becoming involved with the project I read several books on the history of Washburn and it talked about the salmon migration, and for the brook trout habitat as well.”
Archer says though the project is not definite yet – it would be a compliment to a project they did years ago –removing a lower dam on the west branch of Salmon Brook – that opened up more than 19 thousand acres to fish migration. He and town council members agree that both the dam and the berm are in bad shape — and repairs would mean taxpayer costs.
Archer says, “there’s a huge financial liability..there’s flooding of the trailer park a couple of times that happened this would eliminate all that..so I think it’s good for everybody concerned.”
Washburn Town Council Chairman Keith Brown says though it used to be – that area has been of no recreational use to community members for a good 15 or 20 years..in addition to making the pond into a stream, they also plan to restore the park in the area which right now is a mess because of what geese tend to leave behind.
Brown says, “it’s going to make that mill pond area usable once again, that’s the main thing..it’s going to get rid of the geese, and hopefully make the whole area up there better for recreational purposes.”
Brown says he understands that change is difficult, but the goal is to make it a better place for everyone. Archer hopes to get the funding by January 1st – and the project, if it goes through, would take about a month.