OTISFIELD — Pleasant Lake boaters and others beware.
Starting the week of July 3, the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife will begin a month-plus-long project to lay some 3,900 feet of pipe out from the Pleasant Lake Dam into the south end of the lake.
The project will restore water flow into the Casco Fish Hatchery, located downstream from the dam on Route 121 in Casco. The facility was closed in June 2016.
On Thursday, July 6, the DIF&W will hold an informational meeting at the Casco Community Center on Route 121 beginning at 6 p.m. The meeting is for lake residents of both Otisfield and Casco and any other interested parties, said Todd Langevin, DIF&W’s superintendent of hatcheries.
Langevin said residents will get details of the work to replace intake pipes to the Casco Fish Hatchery at that meeting. The fish at the hatchery were relocated in June of last year. The target date to reopen the hatchery is Oct. 2, he said.
The fish hatchery and rearing station in Casco, built in 1955, is responsible for approximately 12 percent of the Department’s annual hatchery production. The facility raises landlocked salmon, brook trout, rainbow trout and brown trout, according to information from DIF&W. At least part of the pipe is more than 50 years old – which is older than a typical expected lifespan.
The Casco Fish Hatchery, one eight statewide, is supplied with water by a single pipeline from Pleasant Lake. The intake pipe at the facility was identified as needing improvements in an infrastructure study that was conducted on all of the Department’s hatcheries and rearing stations last year.
The 1,332-acre Pleasant Lake is 4 miles long and a mile wide, with a maximum depth of 62 feet and an “excellent” water quality rating as determined by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.
The lake hosts numerous year-round and seasonal homes, as well as the internationally known Seeds of Peace camp and other children’s camps.
The project, which is expected to start just after the Fourth of July, will bring in machinery and obstructions on the south side of the lake for several weeks only, if all goes according to plan, said Langevin. It is expected to wrap up in early August.
The pipe will be laid from the newly-built Pleasant Lake Dam extending out some 200 feet into the lake. Once it reaches its full length, the pipe will be sunk, Langevin said. Residents are being asked to steer clear of any buoys or barges that may be present in the lake during the work.
Langevin said the timing of the replacement dam project worked well so the sleeves that were placed in the mill pond at the dam can now be extended into the lake to restore flow into the hatchery.
The dam was in jeopardy of failing and was replaced last fall using $500,000 that was approved by voters in Otisfield and Casco, who jointly own the dam on Route 121 in Casco. Temporary piping was put in place after water above the dam was emptied to create a coffer dam.