Second public forum planned on Mayo Mill Dam project

DOVER-FOXCROFT — The Town of Dover-Foxcroft and the steering committee for re-evaluating the next steps for the Mayo Mill Dam are inviting community members and interested parties to learn more about this initiative at a public forum scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 25 at the Central Hall Commons on East Main Street in Dover-Foxcroft.

Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. with refreshments and socializing prior to a formal presentation at 6 p.m. by the town steering committee. A question-and-answer discussion will follow, and public input on the  project recommendation will be sought. The forum is expected to wrap up by 8 p.m. In the event of  inclement weather, the public forum will be rescheduled for Thursday, Feb. 1. 

Fifteen years ago, following the closure of Moosehead Mfg. Co., the Town of Dover-Foxcroft acquired  the Mayo Mill Dam on the Piscataquis River, with hopes of restoring hydropower production to provide  electricity to adjacent properties. The town worked with several firms to assess the costs and potential  for generating electricity again, but no viable option emerged. The hydropower facility has been non operational since 2008. 

Now as the owner of the dam and associated structures, the town has to evaluate a new path forward  to manage the aging dam structure while also meeting state and federal compliance regulations. In late  2022, Dover-Foxcroft partnered with Atlantic Salmon Federation, The Nature Conservancy in Maine, and  Inter-Fluve, Inc. to complete a community-led feasibility study at no cost to the town. Funding for the  study is provided by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries through the federal Infrastructure, Investment and Jobs Act. 

Observer file photo/Stuart Hedstrom
MAYO MILL DAM — The Mayo Mill Dam on the Piscataquis River in downtown Dover-Foxcroft. A team of organizations and a steering committee is working on a feasibility study to help determine the long-term future of the structure. A public forum on the project is set for Thursday, Jan. 25 at the Central Hall Commons.

Over the past year, the town-convened steering committee has been meeting monthly with the  partnership team and has gathered information to consider the present condition of the dam and  powerhouse, to evaluate a series of options for them, and to make its recommendations to the select  board based on that evaluation. For each alternative option, the committee has assessed a number of  factors including flood control, dam structure, public access, fish passage, historic preservation, upfront  and operation costs, constructability, and life cycle costs. 

After much consideration, the committee has unanimously arrived at a preliminary recommendation for  the select board to consider the removal of the dam and add extensive landscaping to create a new and 

exciting gathering place for the downtown area. This public forum is to gain input on this preliminary  recommendation prior to a final recommendation. 

“We want our community members to be very familiar with this process and recommendation, not only in terms of what the recommendations is but why,” said Town Manager Jack Clukey. “The final decision  and redevelopment project will be central to the community for the next half century and beyond and  we are excited to have community members share their values and vision for the future with us.” 

The Jan. 25 event will feature a presentation with an overview of the status of the Mayo Mill Dam and associated powerhouse and fishway, compliance and regulation needs, and the Town’s steering  committee decision-making process. A panel made up of the partnership team and steering committee  members will then answer questions and capture feedback from the audience. 

Project Team members: 

The Town of Dover-Foxcroft is the largest town with a population of 4,422, and the seat of Piscataquis  County. 

The Atlantic Salmon Federation is an international non-governmental organization dedicated to  conserving and restoring wild Atlantic salmon and their ecosystems. 

The Nature Conservancy is a nonprofit conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and  waters on which all life depends, and working across Maine to restore rivers and streams. 

Inter-Fluve is an employee-owned small business that has been on the forefront of river and stream  engineering, management, and restoration practice.

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