Maine Inland Fisheries and Wildlife

Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) preserves, protects, and enhances the inland fisheries and wildlife resources of the state. Established in 1880 to protect big game populations, MDIFW has since evolved in scope to include protection and management of fish, non-game wildlife, and habitats, as well as restoration of endangered species like the bald eagle.

In addition to its conservation duties, MDIFW is also responsible for enabling and promoting the safe enjoyment of Maine’s outdoors — from whitewater rafting to boating, snowmobiling, hunting, fishing, and wildlife observation.

The agency’s constituents include the fish, wildlife, and people who call Maine home, as well as the visiting outdoor enthusiasts and ecotourists who call Maine Vacationland and contribute hundreds of millions of dollars each year to the state’s economy.

The Orange River Dam

Electric Power House, Lubec, ca. 1930 From https://www.mainememory.net/artifact/60546

The original Orange River Dam, just downstream from Orange River Hand Launch, was built in the 1820’s by the Whiting Lumber Company, which operated a sawmill adjacent to the Orange River and flowage. The dam and water rights were sold to the inhabitants of Lubec on March 29, 1921. The Town of Lubec formed the Lubec Power and Light Company and installed a water wheel, turbine, and generator that same year. Power was generated at the site until 1965. The generating facilities were removed in 1966.

A dilapidated, 75 foot long, concrete dam existed on the property when purchased in 1967. The deep gate was inoperable, and the wooden walkways and gate covers had rotted.

The dam, flowage easement, access lot, and right of way were acquired by the State of Maine in 1967.

The dam and associated structures were reconstructed in 1982. The dam was redesigned with a fixed crest six inches below the allowed elevation to maximize levels of productive wetland types. Provisions were made for development of a fishway. A new shaft to raise the deep gate was installed in 1988.

A right-of-way for public access to the dam site was laid out and graveled in 1973.