On June 11, NFWF Chairman Carl R. Kuehner, III, joined Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar at the Great Works Dam in Old Town, Maine, to witness the start of a landmark project by the Penobscot River Restoration Trust. They applauded the first stage of the demolition of the one-thousand-foot Great Works Dam, a key action in the Trust's multi-year plan to revive native fish populations and cultural traditions while maintaining hydropower production along the largest river in Maine. The Penobscot River Restoration Project will reconfigure dams and enhance biodiversity throughout the Penobscot ecosystem.
The ambitious undertaking, several years in the making, was made possible by a public-private partnership of federal, tribal, and nonprofit groups, including NFWF. NFWF support included four grants to the Penobscot River Trust totaling $1.7 million, including a new $300,000 grant announced by NFWF Executive Director and CEO Jeff Trandahl as part of the day's activities. NFWF has also awarded six additional grants committing over $650,000 to the Trust's partners to support related research and conservation work.
Secretary Salazar hailed the event as "a milestone for river conservation in America," saying, "Through a historic partnership that exemplifies President Obama's America's Great Outdoors initiative, we are reconnecting 1,000 miles of river, restoring vital habitat for fish and wildlife, expanding opportunities for outdoor recreation, and supporting energy production, jobs and economic growth in communities throughout Maine."