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Potential Trouble for the Little Androscoggin
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Author:  Peter010786 [ November 13th, 2017, 1:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Potential Trouble for the Little Androscoggin

One of the dams along the Little Andro in Auburn is up for relicensing in 2019 and there is a proposal to allow large whitewater releases to encourage people to kayak and canoe a short whitewater section. In my opinion this would/could be quite detrimental to the fishery above that dam.
The town on Auburn conducted a study over the summer where they brought it whitewater kayakers and had them run the section below Barker Mill Dam at a normal flow then they opened up the dam and had them run it at a high flow. I can't recall off the top of my head what the flow was at each trail, but I can tell you that when they opened up the dam they practically drained the river above the dam. I can't see this river having enough water on demand to allow for scheduled whitewater releases. That river already runs really low and gets really warm in the summer months..... but it holds a good number of holdovers and wild fish, with regular whitewater releases over the summer I fear that these fish could get wiped out.
Here's a link to the Portland Press Herald story

http://www.pressherald.com/2017/11/13/a ... m-license/


Peter

Author:  Hunter [ November 13th, 2017, 2:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Potential Trouble for the Little Androscoggin

Dam-controlled flows for whitewater are not much of an option on the Little Andro, as there are no real storage reservoirs on the system. Most of the dams are run of river, meaning they don't operate in a storage fashion. Instead, they generate hydro with what water the dam owners can direct through their project turbines from in-stream flows (as opposed to storage). American Whitewater acknowledged such during the last public scoping session, and said they would support dam removal, if such were the chosen option, as it would provide a longer free-flowing river.

And having sat through the last public scoping session, I will add that the City and American Whitewater (as well as numerous other groups not mentioned in this article) are pushing for more than the "status quo" dam management in the future. The City of Auburn was mainly saying- we have a community interest in the river, that it's not a forgotten waterway. As a result (and due to an effort by Maine Rivers, TU, ASF, NRCM, and others), FERC allowed dam decommissioning and removal into the list of items to be considered during the relicensing considerations (previously, this was not to be considered). This may result in removal of the Lower Barker dam, as fish passage (both upstream and down) is going to be expensive for a project which is already being operated for minimal profit. Stay tuned, but at the moment- there appears to be some light shining on the Little Andro.

Author:  Peter010786 [ November 13th, 2017, 3:17 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Potential Trouble for the Little Androscoggin

That's good to hear Dave, the article made me think there was a high possibility of there being regular releases.

Peter

Author:  Jeff Reardon [ November 13th, 2017, 7:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Potential Trouble for the Little Androscoggin

I read the same article, and if I read it correctly, city employee was saying that fish passage might be "too expensive". Auburn residents should let their town officials know that anglers as well as boaters use the Little Andro, and that fish passage (for alewife and salmon, not sure about shad up there?) needs to happen.

Author:  Jeff Reardon [ November 13th, 2017, 7:16 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Potential Trouble for the Little Androscoggin

PS I wonder what the whitewater opportunities (on spring flows and heavy rains) would be if the dam was removed. I don't know that section of river. Anybody know what kind of drop is behind the dam?

At the Sennebec Dam removal on the St. George and especially on the Penobsot from Oldtown to Veazie we say a lot of whitewater use of the restored river reaches.

Author:  Peter010786 [ November 13th, 2017, 8:15 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Potential Trouble for the Little Androscoggin

Jeff,
I'm not familiar with that stretch of the river, so I'm not sure how things could look if it were removed. As far as fish passages... I'm not aware of any on the Big Androscoggin, except for at Head of Tide.

Peter

Author:  Jeff Reardon [ November 13th, 2017, 8:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Potential Trouble for the Little Androscoggin

All the dams up to Lewiston have fish passage. Whether they work or not is a different matter, but all of the downstream dams are obligated to pass fish, have constructed fishways, and are required to pass the fish that show up.

Author:  1weight [ November 13th, 2017, 8:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Potential Trouble for the Little Androscoggin

Not to steer away from fish passage or whitewater. The dam on the Farmington has to release "run of the river" (I think that's what they call it, Jeff?). Helped a while back when storms and heavier rainfall fell further North in Mass. They had to up the flow instead of holding the excess back. Helped improve the flows down-river of the dam.

Ron

Author:  Hunter [ November 14th, 2017, 11:45 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Potential Trouble for the Little Androscoggin

Jeff Reardon wrote:
Anybody know what kind of drop is behind the dam?


According to the State GIS layer, the hydraulic height of the Lower Barker dam is 36 feet. It's about 3,400 feet along the channel up to the next dam. So drop over that reach would be about 10.5 feet per 1000 feet of channel. That's STEEP by Maine standards and could offer up some seasonally and event-driven challenging whitewater if the dam were removed. It could also offer some interesting fishing opportunities in the pocket water.

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