US Army Corps of Engineers
New England District

Presumpscot River Ecosystem Restoration Project

The Presumpscot River Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration Project restored anadromous fish migration to the lower Presumpscot River by removing the Smelt Hill Dam.  The Presumpscot River is located in Falmouth, Maine about 5 miles northwest of Portland and flows into Casco Bay. Smelt Hill Dam was located at the head of tide and was the first impediment to anadromous fish passage to the upper reaches of the Presumpscot River. The removal of the dam eliminated the impoundment behind the dam and restored a natural river ecosystem with important fishery and recreational values.  Removal of the dam opened up about seven miles of the lower Presumpscot River and its tributary streams for passage of migratory fish, including shad, blueback herring, alewife, rainbow smelt, striped bass, and Atlantic salmon.

The project will allow an estimated 150,000 alewives and 14,000 American shad to become established in the lower Presumpscot River and pass to the fish ladder at Highland Lake on Mill Brook, some 12 miles upstream.  The Maine Department of Marine Resources was the project sponsor. The Maine Coastal Conservation Association; Maine Department of Environmental Protection; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Gulf of Maine Coastal Program; and the Maine Corporate Wetlands Restoration Partnership were partners in the project. The project was implemented under the Corps’ Section 206, Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration Authority. 

For more information, please contact the Project Manager, by email or by calling 978-318-8347.