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Paddlers scouting out the Penobscot River in preparation for the August 2014 Bashabez Run

Paddlers scouting out conditions at the Great Works site two years after dam removal in preparation for the August 2014 Bashabez Run. 

Great Works Dam Removal Project

The Great Works Dam was located on the Penobscot River in Old Town and Bradley, Maine, and the property is owned by the Penobscot River Restoration Trust. Removal work on the dam began in early June 2012 and was largely complete by the end of November. Contractor R.F. Jordan and Sons of Ellsworth, Maine removed approximately 10,000 cubic yards of material from the river, including concrete, timber, and rockfill. 

Here is a photo of the Great Works Site from June 2012 compared with a photo from September - these were taken from roughly the same vantage point:

Great Works Dam June 23 2012

Below - 48 second video of Great Works Dam Site

Video of the Great Works Dam Site early September 2012 from Penobscot River Trust on Vimeo.

Great Works Dam Aerial by Cheryl Daigle

Great Works Dam removal began on June 11, 2012, and was widely celebrated as a milestone step in the restoration of the Penobscot River.

Watch video of opening ceremony.

And so it begins ...  feature article in the Autumn 2012 issue of Atlantic Salmon Journal 

 One-minute video of Great Works Dam breaching on June 23, 2012 

Great Works Project Fact Sheet


Secretary of Interior celebrates Penobscot River milestone: read DOI press release on June 11, 2012 event

Other Media Highlights:

Check out coverage from the New York Times, Bangor Daily News (article and video), Portland Press Herald (article and videos), and Boston Globe or peruse Blogs

Great Works Quick Facts

Height: ~ 19 feet

Length: ~ 1,000 feet

Impoundment length: 1.7 miles

Year built: 1887


The original Great Works Dam was constructed in the 1830s and partially demolished in approximately 1887 when the current Great Works Dam was constructed. The current dam was originally constructed and owned by the Penobscot Chemical Fibre Company. Diamond International Corporation acquired the mill and dam in 1968. The dam and powerhouse facilities were sold several times over the next few decades, and were most recently purchased in 2010 by the Penobscot River Restoration Trust from hydropower company PPL Corporation, based on an agreement that was signed in 2004. The agreement allowed the Trust to purchase certain dams in exchange for energy generation enhancements at other sites in the Penobscot watershed, with the aim of rebalancing the use of the river to accommodate the 11 species of native sea run fish that attempt to use the river to migrate each year while maintaining hydropower generation capacity.

Above: Great Works Dam, Photo by Ed Hughes

Funding for the project is provided by the NOAA Restoration Center through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act 

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