Casco to get ownership of dam

By Dawn De Busk
Staff Writer

CASCO – It’s not water under the bridge. Not yet.

Casco Town officials plan to contact the Maine Department of Transportation (MDOT) to obtain the ownership of – or simply get official permission to continue to control the dam at Webb’s Mills Pond.

By doing this, the town could manipulate the dam and prevent potential flooding like the event during the Patriots’ Day storm, when water washed out two sections of Edwards Road. That flooding occurred after the MDOT – reacting to an emergency situation - used an excavator to remove the dam.

“Since then, MDOT has backed off and has not been involved in management of dam. They would like to get rid of it (the dam) altogether. They’ve allowed it to be locally controlled,” Town Manager Dave Morton said.

For now, the Casco Board of Selectmen most liked the idea of removing one or two planks during the thaw in the spring so excess water can runoff freely, and then, replacing those boards to maintain an aqua-rich environment at the pond during the summer months. The dam control consists of two boards or planks that can be removed and replaced.

Also, the board backed a move by the town manager to contact MDOT, and see if a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is required so the town could have power over the state-owned dam.

Audience member Wayne Ward suggested the town use as its allies two local politicians, Rep. Rich Cebra and Senator Bill Diamond. The board ran with the idea – suggesting the representatives could get across to MDOT the importance of local control of the dam.

Casco residents, members of the Crescent Lake Watershed Association and people living in Webb’s Mills Village presented a myriad of reasons for maintaining local control: Using pond for fire suppression, maintaining a vibrant and diverse wildlife, creating a place for people to enjoy the pond, and keeping the water in the pond and off area roads.

Sam Brown commented on the physical beauty of the area, but stressed how vital flood prevention is.

“I think there is something to be said for the aesthetics. The higher the water the level of the pond, the more beautiful it is during the season. It has Canadian geese, ducks and beaver,” Brown said.

“The most important point is not to see Route 11 flooded again. I’d like to see us control the dam ourselves,” Brown said.

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