Branch Lake Stream Flow Restoration
Branch Lake Stream Dam is an abandoned concrete structure that blocks all fish passage into and out of the stream. There are six miles of class 1 & 3 Atlantic salmon habitat and a resident population of brook trout above the dam. The stream itself is designated as critical habitat for Atlantic Salmon and as a Tier 1 High Priority Barrier by NOAA.
Project objectives are to 1) improve intra-system connectivity, 2) increase the amount of available native fish habitat including thermal refugia, and 3) increase the ecological resiliency of the Union River Watershed.
The dam is owned by the Town of Ellsworth. The town is fully supportive of its removal. Final project design will be determined once all permit stipulations are known, however, this is a straightforward dam removal project. A cofferdam will redirect the stream flow around the demolition work. A turbidity curtain will be established below the dam to protect water quality. The dam will be removed both above and below grade and the fill will be trucked off-site and disposed of appropriately.
Permitting is currently underway and anticipated to be complete by the end of 2018.
The Downeast Salmon Federation (DSF) will manage the dam removal. DSF has more than 30 years’ experience in removing dams and other river and stream barriers. DSF received the National Coastal America Partnership Award, for its successful removal of the East Machias River Dam. Brett Ciccotelli will be the project manager. Ciccotelli has a background in fisheries and managing restoration projects.
* Project removes artificial barriers that restrict passage and/or natural flow of water for some period of the year