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Penobscot River Restoration Trust

The Penobscot River Restoration Project is an unprecedented collaboration between the Penobscot Indian Nation, seven conservation groups, hydropower companies PPL Corporation and Black Bear Hydro, LLC, and state and federal agencies, to restore 11 species of sea-run fish to the Penobscot River, while maintaining energy production.

Thanks to countless people within the Penobscot basin, and across Maine and beyond, life on the Penobscot River system is on the rebound! In June 2016, the Penobscot River Restoration Trust and the many partners in the project celebrated completion of the Howland bypass -- the last big step to allow fish to reach habitat that they need to thrive and survive. 

Read final message from former Executive Director Laura Rose Day and Board President Don Hudson

We hope that you will stay engaged with the river as it recovers. General information about the Penobscot Project will remain available here. To connect with partners in the Penobscot River Restoration Project, please contact:

Veazie shoreline 2015

A view of the Penobscot River flowing freely through the area where the Veazie Dam once stood (2015).

Restoring Access to Critical Habitat for the Sea-run Fisheries of Maine's Largest Watershed

The Penobscot River Restoration Trust and its public and private partners are working to undo more than two centuries of damage that too many dams have inflicted upon the Penobscot River. Removal of the lower two dams (Great Works completed in 2012, and Veazie in 2013) and bypassing of a third greatly improves access to nearly 1000 miles of habitat for endangered Atlantic salmon and shortnose sturgeon, American shad, alewife, and seven other species of sea-run fish in Maine. As fish passage is improved at four remaining dams and energy increased at six, these ecological benefits will be realized while maintaining or even increasing energy production. The Penobscot Project promises large-scale ecological, cultural, recreational and economic benefits throughout New England's second largest watershed. For more information see PROJECT DETAILS.


Howland Dam Bypass

completed in 2016

Great Works Dam

removed in 2012

Veazie Dam

removed in 2013

Milford Dam Fish Lift

Over 444,000 river herring and counting at the Milford fish lift in 2015!

For current counts from the Maine Department of Marine Resources click here!

Watch Video


Paddlers maneuvering through the whitewater at the site of the former Great Works Dam.

Paddlers maneuvering through the rapids just upstream of the where the Great Works Dam stood before its removal in 2012.

After More than a Century, Endangered Shortnose Sturgeon Find Historic Habitat Post Dam Removal

Nov. 16, 2015: Endangered shortnose sturgeon have rediscovered habitat in the Penobscot River that had been inaccessible to the species for more than 100 years prior to the removal of the Veazie Dam in 2013. University of Maine researchers confirmed evidence that three female shortnose sturgeon were in the area between Veazie (upriver of the dam remnants) and Orono (Basin Mills Rips), Maine in mid-October. Researchers had previously implanted these sturgeon with small sound-emitting devices known as acoustic tags to see if they would use the newly accessible parts of the river...Read the full article here! 


Buy a reusable bag and support the Penobscot Trust!

The Penobscot River Restoration Trust has been selected to be a part of the exciting Hannaford Helps Reusable Bag Program, designed to create revenue streams for local nonprofits like us. For every bright blue Hannaford Helps Reusable Bag purchased at either the Whitten Road or Coney Street, Augusta Hannaford locations through December 31st, 2015, $1 is donated to the Penobscot River Restoration Trust. The $1 donation is included in the price of the bag! Thank you for your support and please help us spread the word!

hannaford bags

Howland Bypass Progresses!

The week of September 28, 2015, contractor SumCo Eco Engineering began to test water flow through the Howland Bypass channel. This was an important step toward project completion, which will allow sea-run fish access to critical habitat upriver. For more information check out our page on the Howland Bypass

watering the howland bypass channel

or read recent media about the project:

Portland Press Herald: Two years after dams' removal, Penobscot River flourishes

Penobscot Project Leadership Recognized by National River Network River Hero Award

In May, 2016, as Atlantic salmon, river herring and other sea-run fish began their annual migration up the free-flowing lower Penobscot river, past the former sites of the Veazie and Great Works dams, our Executive Director, Laura Rose Day, received the River Network River Hero Award for her continued leadership and dedication to reconnecting the river to the sea through the Penobscot River Restoration Project. Congratulations Laura!


"The Penobscot Project is an inspiring example of how people can achieve great things for rivers by focusing on solutions instead of roadblocks. " said Rose Day. "It is an honor to work alongside so many individuals, project member organizations, Penobscot Indian Nation, communities, businesses, and state and federal agencies, and generous funders who have created this model for large-scale, innovative, and collaborative river restoration." This year, River Network took the unusual step of honoring two Maine leaders. Dwayne Shaw, Executive Director of Downeast Salmon Federation also received the award for his work on Downeast rivers of Maine.

Click here to read the full press release!

Penobscot River Watershed selected as one of NOAA's Habitat Focus Areas - find more information here:

Penobscot Habitat Focus Area

Thanks to our many partners who made this project possible!

Scouting out the river conditions the week before the Bashabez Run

Frequently Asked Questions and Project Fact Sheet

1% for the Planet supports the Penobscot River Restoration Project

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