Opinion: Frequently Asked Questions about Megunticook River

The cost of dam maintenance and removal in Camden

Thu, 06/13/2024 - 9:15pm

    The Megunticook River Citizens Advisory Committee has been continuously researching the Megunticook River and the community issues surrounding the dams, and its work is ongoing. The committee recently submitted to local outlets an article referencing our website’s FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) section; this is the second of a series.

    The goal of this series is to share what we have learned, help to answer your questions, and to increase your understanding of the Megunticook River and its watershed.  

    You may have noticed that the river looked different this spring. It has been a dry spring and water levels are being maintained at Megunticook Lake for the installation of docks and floats.

    In addition, the Mill Pond was lowered to allow improved access for the replacement of the gate on the Montgomery Dam. 

    This week the list of FAQs from our website addresses dam maintenance and costs. The information is applicable only to the Town-owned East, West, Seabright, and Montgomery dams.

    Questions on dams, maintenance and costs are as follows, with answers to these questions  linked below.

    • What level of operation do the town-owned dams currently require? 
    • How are the Montgomery Dam and Harbor Park seawall connected?
    • Will this project consider the potential economic impacts to the Town that the Montgomery Dam provides as an important local attraction?
    • What are the costs for future restoration options?
    • What are some of the triggers that require opening the town-owned dams?
    • What maintenance and repairs are required on a daily or weekly basis?
    • What repairs have occurred to the town-owned dams in the past, and what work is scheduled?
    • What water levels do each of the town-owned dams control?


    Because the responses to these questions are complex and can not be summarized in simple soundbites, we encourage you to use this link to explore the answers and further insights. In addition to our FAQ section, our website has past newsletters, recorded meetings, and links to important data on the Megunticook watershed and the river. We hope you will spend some time exploring it. 

    As a reminder, MRCAC is a Town appointed committee whose purpose is to provide recommendations to the Select Board for preserving and improving the sustainability and resiliency for the Megunticook River and its watershed. We are a group of nine individuals committed to the research to broadly represent the residents of Camden.

    In preparation for your vote on the future of the Montgomery Dam this coming November, our recommendation will only be as good as the input we get from you. Therefore, our goal  is to provide information for you to make an informed decision. 

    Upcoming op-eds will cover fish passage and habitats; historical and cultural considerations; and project administration and coordination.

    Our committee is currently working on drawings for options to help you visualize possibilities. Stay tuned! 

    Please share your concerns to guide us moving forward. If you have additional questions, please let us know. 

    Members of the Megunticook River Citizens Advisory Committee,

    Raymond Andresen 

    Courtney Cease

    Deborah Chapman

    Lynette (Elphie) Owen

    Ellen Reynolds 

    Tyler Smith 

    Seth Taylor 

    Richard Thackeray 

    Susan Todd