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Sappi Paper to Explore Removing Saccarappa Dam
03/07/2013 11:57 AM ET  

Sappi Fine Paper North America and the city of Westbrook announced yesterday that they plan to look at removing the dam, located at Saccarappa Falls in downtown Westbrook.

After fighting efforts to provide fish passage on its dams on the Presumpscot River, a Westbrook paper manufacturer says it's now considering removing the Saccarappa Dam.

Sappi Fine Paper North America and the city of Westbrook announced yesterday that they plan to look at the impact of taking down the dam, located at Saccarappa Falls in downtown Westbrook. Sappi is also considering donating land along the river to the city.

"The Presumpscot River runs through the heart of our community and we think it is the key to our environmental and economic revitalization," says Mayor Colleen Hilton, in a statement. "The more natural and accessible this stretch of river becomes, the more likely it is that fish species will flourish, and recreational use of the river will expand."

Westbrook officials say removing the dam could help boost the city's ongoing effort to improve a series of walking trails along the river, and encourage recreational opportunities such as kayaking.

The battle over removing dams on the river began in the mid-1990s, and environmentalists remain skeptical. Sean Mahoney of the Conservation Law Foundation told the Portland Press Herald that Sappi has "done nothing to date voluntarily," according to the paper.

Westbrook officials say the city has applied for a federal grant to explore the potential impact of the dam's removal.



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