Boaters Fret Over Maine Dam Project
September 9, 2010
According to an article on the Kennebec Journal website, boaters on Cobbossee Lake are concerned that repairs to the Cobbossee Outlet Dam will prematurely end their season due to a major water drawdown. The dam is a key cog in the system for maintaining consistent water levels in Cobbossee Lake and Cobbossee Stream. It impacts water levels in municipalities with water frontage, including Manchester, Monmouth, Winthrop, Gardiner, Litchfield, and West Gardiner.
“It’s a 5,000 acre lake. That’s a lot of water to manage, a lot of water that passes through this dam,” said Wendy Dennis, lake scientist for the Cobbossee Watershed District. “It’s a very good thing this dam is going to be repaired.”
The project’s goal is to repair the dam’s 6-gate system. One gate is currently boarded up because it was at risk of blowing out, said Manchester Town Manager Mark Doyon. Repairs may also involve replacing rotting wooden timbers with galvanized steel beams, and Doyon is hopeful that the existing gatehouse and other equipment can be salvaged. Doyon said the exact repairs needed, and the cost involved, won’t be known for sure until contractors get a closer look at the dam.
In order for repairs to be made, the water level in the lake must be drawn down several feet. Local boaters have expressed concern that the reduction may mean an early end to their boating season.
Wendy Dennis projects that the drawdown won’t start until around Oct. 1. She said the drawdown will be done in 2 phases, starting with a more gradual phase up to Columbus Day. “We really want people to be able to use the lake and get their boats in and out through Columbus Day weekend,” she said.