Town Manager Steve Eldridge said the town and the salmon group hope to do a feasibility study on repairing the dam over the next year.

“In the meantime, they should be out there removing some of the stones that washed away and stabilizing the bank,” Eldridge said. “They’re doing that work on their own, with their own funding.”

The dam washed out after more than seven inches of rain fell over two days last June. An iron post at the center, a support for logs that blocked the river, had failed. The washed-out bridge left chunks of brick and concrete in the riverbed and eroded the banks to a park downstream.

John Burrows, director of New England projects for the Atlantic Salmon Federation, said the remaining water level is deep enough to support alewive and river herring migrations. Both species are important buffers to Maine’s salmon, providing predators an alternative to the migrating salmon.

“The flow comes up and down naturally,” he said. “Water levels are not really an issue for that migration. If you go out there, it’s moving pretty fast right now. There’s a lot of water out there.”

Burrows said the federation would perform $17,000 of stream-side stabilization.

“We’re going to be out, probably in July, stabilizing the bank and fixing the area in the park that washed out,” Burrows said. “We’ll also clean out much of the debris and make the site better for fish-passage.”

The dam was one of three that stop-up the Sabattus River as it winds its way from Sabattus Pond to the Androscoggin River. But it’s the only one of the three the the town owns. The others, the Farwell Mill dam and the Mill Street dam, south west of the Lisbon Community School, are both privately owned.

Eldridge said the town has received informal estimates from contractors that said the repairs to the upper dam would be expensive.

“In order to put the dam back the way it was, with the water would be picked up, was in the vicinity of $300,000 to $500,000,” Eldridge said. “That’s just what the people that build dams are telling us.”

Instead, Eldridge said the town needs to know what its options are.

“I think initially there needs to be feasibility study done,” Eldridge said. “There are no immediate plans to change anything. We just want to get that area cleaned up and stabilized.”

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