The Edwards Dam stood at the head of tide on the Kennebec River in Augusta, Maine, for over a century and a half. Like many dams across the state it served several purposes and affected the lives and interests of many. The removal of the dam in 1999 set a nation wide precedent, marking the first time in history that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) ordered a decomissioning. Since then, the Edwards Dam has been seen as a model of dam decommissioning.
- In 1834, the proposal was initiated for the construction of a dam below the head of tide in Augusta. Even before the dam was built, many citizens of Maine were concerned about its construction. Click here for a Brief History of the Edwards Dam.
- The Kennebec River flows through west-central Maine, draining about one fifth of the state. The watershed is well-developed and along the river many towns and cities were established including Madison, Skowhegan, Fairfield, Winslow, Waterville, and Augusta, the former site of the Edwards Dam. Click here for Upstream Issues.
- Twenty miles downstream of the Edwards Dam site in Augusta, the Kennebec is joined by the Androscoggin River for the last twenty miles before it spills in the Atlantic Ocean. No dams stand between the Edwards site and the ocean; it was said that after removal of the Edwards Dam, this would become the "longest stretch of freshwater habitat that would be accessible to striped bass, sturgeon, and rainbow smelt in the United States north of the Hudson River".Click here for Downstream Issues.
- The Edwards Dam was small relative to many hydropower dams at a height of 24 feet and a width of 917 feet. The impoundment reached about 15 miles upstream. The removal, however, would have large impacts on water quality, as well as upstream and downstream segments of the river. Click here for Removal Issues.
- The removal of the Edwards Dam will undoubtedly affect future dam removal projects across the country, as well as here in Maine. The decision on Edwards encourages decision-makers and local residents to look at the big picture, of energy production as well as the environmental impacts of dams. Click here for a Look to the Future.
Kennebec River Basin
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Other Dam Projects
Kennebec River Maps