The Issue. Flowing 3.5 miles from Megunticook Lake to Camden harbor, the Megunticook River has long been a cultural, ecological, and economic centerpiece of the historic Camden region. Unfortunately, the health of the river and its 32-square mile watershed is threatened by two main factors: relic dams and our changing climate.
Dams. Seven dams span the Megunticook River, largely built in the 19th century to power local industries. Four of these relic dams no longer serve any purpose. They raise flood risk, prevent sea-run fish migration, impair the health of the watershed, and require maintenance and repair.
Climate Change / Flooding. Rising temperatures in Maine have brought greater rainfall and brought more frequent heavy downpours. Around Camden, rainfall has grown by 16 inches in the last century. That’s 9 billion extra gallons of water falling within the Megunticook watershed every year. Over the next 30 years, rainfall is expected to rise an additional 9 inches, equal to 5 billion more gallons. This water must filter through Camden’s aging dams and narrow downtown drainage channel. Our dams and drainage system were not built to handle that much water, nor the increasingly heavy downpours.