Walton’s Mill dam will be removed in 2022 and improvements to the Walton’s Mill Pond Park made. The dam impedes access of endangered Atlantic salmon to spawning grounds. File photo/Livermore Falls Advertiser

FARMINGTON — Selectmen Tuesday evening, April 26, were given an update on plans for Walton’s Mill Park improvements this year.

Last year there was a delay of the project, Maranda Nemeth, project manager with the Atlantic Salmon Federation, said. “COVID-19 caused a lot of shifts,” she noted.

Work is set to begin this spring.

The first sign of activity will be the clearing of the gate opening at the dam this week to meet permitting and regulatory requirements, Nemeth said. “It won’t be drawn down immediately, it will be gradual,” she noted. The draw down through May and June will start the wetland vegetation transition and stabilization of streambanks, causing some different aesthetics, she continued.

“If things change, I will stay in touch,” Nemeth said.


On June 20 the park will be completely closed.

“There will be a lot of activity, will not be a safe place for people,” Nemeth said. It will be closed until the project is finished in November or December depending on weather and anything else that may come up, she noted.

During that time invasive plant species throughout the park will be removed, Nemeth said. Some were removed last year, she noted. Japanese knotweed, buckthorn and non-native honeysuckle will be treated intermittently between May and August by Hunter Manley, a member of the town’s conservation commission and state licensed forester and pesticide applicator, Nemeth said.

According to Nemeth’s report, dam removal is expected to begin on July 15 and completed in a month. Restoration of the heavily altered and degraded streambank will start afterwards and be completed by Sept. 30, the report continues.

Other park improvements include a pavilion, walkways, bathroom, parking areas, and landscaping that should be completed by November.

A public dedication ceremony will be held in 2023.


Selectman Joshua Bell asked if the gate opening or the debris behind it would be removed.

There are some wooden panels that need to be removed, Nemeth said. “A lot of debris has built up – probably from a beaver,” she said.

What are the plans for the beavers if they keep coming back, Bell asked.

“We are not managing any of the wildlife, letting those species respond naturally,” Nemeth said. “Maine Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, other agencies are requiring us to do this draw down. Early on there won’t be as much of a shock to some of the wildlife.”

In 2018 voters approved plans for the dam removal and park improvement work in partnership with the Atlantic Salmon Federation. The replacement of two road-stream crossings over Clover Mill Road were included and completed over the last two years.

Project partners include the town, the Atlantic Salmon Federation, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Maine Department of Marine Resources, Maine Department of Environmental Protection, Maine Natural Areas Program and Land and Water Conservation Fund. Funding is also provided by Trout & Salmon Foundation, Fisher Foundation, Cascade Foundation, and several other private foundations.

H.E. Callahan of Auburn was awarded the construction contract for the project through a competitive bid process, Nemeth said. There are subcontracts with E.L. Vining, Adrenaline Electric, and Lakeside Landscape, she noted. The design team and construction firms are all based in Maine, her report indicates.

“It is important to use local contractors,” Selectman Scott Landry said. “We know they can do the work, do it right.”

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