Headwaters of the Kennebec
Above Indian Pond, there are two rivers that feed from Moosehead Lake. East and West Outlets each have small dams to control water flow that date from the days of commercial log drives on the Kennebec. These dams were initially used to ensure an adequate water flow in the upper river to carry the logs towards the mills. Currently, there are small concrete dams at East and West Outlets that are solely used for water storage and do not generate power. The Moosehead Lake Project, which is FERC licensed, includes the East Outlet Dam. East Outlet's dam is owned by the Kennebec Water Power Company, but does not produce electricity. There is a fishway at East Outlet that allows fish to pass into Moosehead, and the entire area is known for good fishing. Many of the small tributaries that feed into the upper Kennebec and Indian Pond have excellent fly fishing, which is a significant economic draw for the region. Along with a healthy fish population, there are also a few identified bald eagle nesting sites along the East Outlet.
Harris Station lies in the upper section of the Kennebec River basin. Immediately above it is Indian Pond, which drains Moosehead Lake via East Outlet and West Outlet. Although there are a few small towns along Moosehead's shores, most of the land upstream from Harris is privately owned and managed as industrial forest. Commercial harvesting can lead to increased sedimentation of waterways in the area. Road cutting and the clearing of the forest each contribute to the destabilization of soil. Plant life helps to prevent soil from washing away in heavy rains, and commercial cutting can increase erosion. Some companies use herbicides on land that has been harvested to kill low-value shrubs. These herbicides can also find their way into local waters and compromise water quality. Overall, the water quality in the upper watershed is excellent, allowing for high classifications in the upper Kennebec River below Harris Station. Land ownership around the greater Indian Pond area is mostly controlled by Plum Creek. Their recently-proposed development plan includes several resorts and residential sites that would be in close proximity to Indian Pond. Large-scale permanent development of the region would have several detrimental effects on water quality, wildlife, and the character of the region. Plum Creek's plan is highly controversial throughout the state, so the decisions made about development will be likely to focus attention on the Indian Pond and Moosehead Lake area. Another project with potential to impact the Indian Pond region is the proposed development of a private east-west highway through the North Woods. The planned route, stretching from Coburn Gore to Calais, could intersect the Indian Pond watershed and present more issues that go along with heavy use and road development.
A view of Indian Pond's shoreline.
Back to the main Harris page.
The history of Harris Station.
Downstream through the Kennebec Gorge to Wyman Lake.
The relicensing of Harris Station.
What does the future hold for Harris?