Head Tide Dam project ends public access for season

Fri, 07/05/2019 - 2:00pm

Construction was set to commence after the July 4 holiday at the Head Tide Dam site in Alna. The construction period will last until Nov. 15. During construction, conditions will be unsafe and there will be no river, swimming hole, parking lot, or paddle portage access. The contractors will occupy the entire property with machinery and materials. While swimming is inaccessible at Head Tide this year, other great swimming and paddling spots close by are Damariscotta Lake and Pinkham Pond.

The trees on the eroding slope below the parking lot were set to be removed after July 8. River controls will be implemented starting July 15 and the dam’s right overlook will be removed and a new platform will extend from the shore by the parking lot to the dam spillway. The in-water work will be completed by Sept. 30. The historic mill foundational piers and river bank will be stabilized, the parking lot will be regraded, and a river viewing overlook, safety railings, educational signage, trails, and other public use enhancements will be installed. The new overlook platform will be wheelchair accessible from the parking lot. The entire site will be replanted and landscaped in the fall. If tree and shrub plantings cannot be completed this fall, the revegetation will be completed next spring. The same contractor and parties involved in this project recently completed a similar project at Coopers Mills Dam in North Whitefield. Interested observers are welcome to go up and see the town-owned site to get a better idea of the work and landscaping anticipated at Head Tide Dam.

The Head Tide Dam project will benefit the fisheries of the Sheepscot River while preserving the mill history of the site and improving public access and safety. The project is consistent with the plan as voted at the annual town meeting in March 2016. The project is being implemented at no cost to Alna.

Midcoast Conservancy Watershed Restoration Specialist Maranda Nemeth will be the on-site project manager. Monthly updates will be provided to selectmen and posted on the Town of Alna website. For more information, contact the Atlantic Salmon Federation at 725-2833, ext. 1.