11 April 2013: LCN Article: Clary Lake Dam owner seeks ability to sell

A Lincoln County News article on the Pleasant Pond Mill LLC Petition for release from dam ownership has appeared in this weeks paper. It does not appear to be online yet so I’ve scanned and posted it here:

Clary Lake Dam owner seeks ability to sell

It covers a lot of ground other than the petition for release from dam ownership including the recent release of the Division of Environmental Assessment’s minimum flows recommendation and the FOA request that as it turns out was filed by the mystery people behind Aquafortis Associates LLC.

Filing this under categories News, Petition News, and That Other Petition, a new category for… that other petition.

9 thoughts on “11 April 2013: LCN Article: Clary Lake Dam owner seeks ability to sell

  1. Steve Viti

    Sept 1st seems like a long way off. Perhaps it’ll be 2014 before there’s enough water to float my boat and warrant putting in my dock? I know this stuff takes time but I had my hopes up for a summer closer to the way I’ve known it for the past 20 years.

    1. George Fergusson Post author

      Steve- there is a reason for the long time line outlined in the statutes, but there is no reason to believe that the water level petition will be put on hold for the duration. On the contrary I think the Department intends to process them concurrently to the greatest extent possible so more pressure will come to bear on Kelley to get rid of the dam as the water level petition proceeds. Also, I think the Department will try and expedite Kelley’s petition processing as much as they can. Kelley has some discretion in the scheduling of things and I don’t doubt for a second he will try and drag things out as much as the law will allow regardless of whether he’s earnestly trying to find a new owner for the dam, or merely stalling for time.

      The Department is well aware of the fact that the Clary Lake Association has made offers on the dam and is still interested in owning it and I think they will take a dim view on Kelley’s wasting everyone’s time while availing himself of every opportunity afforded him by the statues to “look for a new owner” when there is one ready, willing, and available to take over the dam. They are also well aware of the fact that Pleasant Pond Mill LLC does not own the flowage rights. Will the Department rule that Aquafortis Associates must be made part of the petition or will they simply throw the petition out? I anxiously await their ruling on this.

      So for now I will give Kelley the benefit of the doubt and play along with this latest dog and pony show he’s orchestrating. Despite his assurances to me personally, I don’t think he’s got any real intention of selling the dam to anyone for the cost of preparing and recording a deed. There has been no discharge of the mortgage recorded at the Lincoln County Registry of Deeds so the assumption is he still owes Art Enos money for the dam and probably a good deal of money at that. He’s either got to get enough for the dam to pay off the note or he really can’t afford to sell it.

      1. Frank J. Heller

        HI was called into to assess the hydro potential of the site by Charlie Baeder., who was then the director of the Sheepscot river trust about 2 years ago. Charlie had the bright idea of acquiring the hydro power rights and using their leverage as a non-profit, to acquire grants to hydro seal the dam, repair the fore-bay, build a naturalistic fish way, and divert a port of the spillover into a small hydro generator with power going into the grid, unless they could org. a small rural electric coop. and sell the power to it. Sheepscot got the area on the other side of the dam designated as a protected salmon habitat.

        The owners were two developers from Boston who tried to get area rezoned so they could restore the mill into a mixed business/residential complex, and preserve the orig. mill house. I heard they paid $40k for the dam 🙂

        When I visited the site, two feet of water was overflowing the granite block dam; and spurting through cracks about 10’….pretty spectacular, but the dam’s apparently been like that for a long time, and hadn’t moved off its base–note FEMA assessment.

        Obviously, you know the rest; Charlie’s solution was rejected in favor of legal appeals which they apparently lost. Charlie now runs the Penobscot River watershed association and perhaps you should contact him for his view of it.

        My assessment was written up and basically, they stored up a lot of water in the fore-bay over night and weekend and ran a lot of it though a 3′ pipe down to the generator house with twin 67 KW GE(?) generators. Rumor has it they really drop the level of the Pond during dry periods. I roughly figured they could run a 10 KW power plant, and still have enough water for a small fish-way. This would have to be calculated again, esp. with the DEP estimates of flowage at diff. times of the year.

        A sluice and pelton turbine would run about $5k(informed guess)

        If you want to chat call me at 729 6090.

        1. George Fergusson Post author

          Hi Frank. Thanks for the information. The two Boston businessmen you referred to paid more like $60,000 for the dam making it an even more stupid investment, if that is possible. They now refer to the dam in correspondence as the “breached dam which formerly impounded Clary Lake (Pleasant Pond)”.

          There is incidentally zero interest in a fish ladder for Clary Lake. The DMR periodically stocks Clary with Alewives which spawn and make their way back into the Sheepscot River, enhancing their population but they’ve never had natural access to Clary Lake, ever and we see no reason for them to start now. Clary will not support trout or salmon. So why a fish ladder?

          However, I see no reason why the owners of the mill building and property below the dam couldn’t repair their mill pond dam so they could store up water leaving the lake (which at certain times of the year can be considerable) and generate electricity till the cows come home. But it appears they’re way beyond thinking about doing anything that sensible.

          I will give you a call one of these days to chat.

          1. Frank Heller

            Charlie Baeder brought into the fishway into the discussion, not me. I noted access—a well worn path and parking, for fishermen up from the dam so I assume they are fishing for only bass or brown trout or???

            A fishway is a nice selling point for any presentation; finding a way to pay for it and annual maintenance is another matter.

            That is a pretty steep drop from dam down to Sheepscot.. 75- 100′ making migration iffy. You could do eels; since they will migrate over grass or up a garden hose. Plant a lawn and call it an eel path?? and charge to take elvers out of the pond? Building a revenue producing fishery might be one means to the end of stabilizing the level of the pond and rebuilding the dam.

            Maine’s hydrology varies enormously. The outfall to Cobbo. has 11 gates; at times all 11 are open; there is a ratio of 100:1 in flow rates.

            Unless you can plan for a constant flow; the solution is to bank inexpensive generators…..and then gate water to each one as flow increases.

            Didn’t know the dam breached….perhaps we can meet and go over the site again….Mid May, when I get back? How far down did the lake level go?

            There is value in the Lignum Vita drive wheels under the mill building…if they are still there. Several Wooden bearing companies have contacted me re purchasing similar wheels. Turbines lining the field, not so much…..

            1. George Fergusson Post author

              Hi Frank-

              We reached the default limit on nested comments (5) prompting me to increase it to 6 so I could leave you a comment! Perhaps we should continue this discussion via email. My email address is gsfergusson@clarylake.org

              The dam “breach” is a hole about 12″ in diameter in the central cement “plug” in the middle of the dam, located about 36″ below the top of the dam so saying the dam is “breached” is a bit of a misnomer. The dam is still impounding water though the dam owner more or keeps the gate wide open in an attempt to keep the water level below about 40″ so as not to let water course through the hole, making it worse.

              The lowest the lake has gotten was a year ago mid-April when it hit -62.5″ below the top of the dam. I think it can realistically drop as low as 6′ below the top of the dam.

              I look forward to talking with you when you get back from wherever you are.

  2. Colin Caissie

    The latest episode of the not-so-popular “The Paul Kelley Show”.

    He should “put a sock in it”. The dam, I mean.

  3. George Fergusson Post author

    The overall reaction to this latest LCN article has been negative, judging from remarks, public and private. Mr Kelley is not generating a lot of goodwill with his antics.

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