The goal of the Kennebec River Diadromous Fish Restoration Project is to restore Maine's native diadromous fishes to their historic range and abundance in the watershed. These species include the alewife (Alosa pseudoharengus), American shad (Alosa sapidissima), blueback herring (Alosa aestivalis), Atlantic sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrhinchus oxyrhinchus), shortnose sturgeon (Acipenser brevirostrum), rainbow smelt (Osmerus mordax), Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar), striped bass (Morone saxatilis), Atlantic tomcod (Microgadus tomcod), sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus), and American eel (Anguilla rostrata).
Construction of Edwards Dam in 1837-1838 at the head-of-tide in Augusta coupled with overfishing and declining water quality caused dramatic declines in the abundance of these fishes in the watershed beginning in the mid-1800s.
Major restoration events
- 1987 - First settlement agreement signed
- 1998 - Second settlement agreement signed
- 1987 - 1999 DMR stocks nearly 644,000 adult alewife and 8.4 million American shad fry into spawning and nursery habitat
- 1999 - Removal of Edwards Dam
- 2002 - Fish passage completed at Plymouth Pond Dam
- 2002 - Guilford Dam removed
- 2003 - Fish passage completed at Sebasticook Lake Dam
- 2006 - Fishlift operational at Lockwood Project Dam
- 2006 - Fishlift operational at Benton Falls Project Dam
- 2006 - Fishlift operational at Burnham Project Dam
- 2006 - Removal of Madison Electric Works Project Dam
- 2009 - Removal of Fort Halifax Dam