Paul Christman straddled the boundary of Waterville and Winslow on a sun-splashed Wednesday, stepping across a small valley of exposed shale that forms the bedrock of the Kennebec River near the Ticonic Bridge.

Christman, a marine scientist with the Maine Department of Marine Resources, carried a large pole with a net that he had been using to help scoop up a handful of fish that has been stranded by the lowered water levels.

“We’ve had a few Atlantic salmon, eels, smallmouth bass,” Christman said. “There haven’t been that many, because it’s not early in the season.”

The daylong creation of two worlds on that chunk of the Kennebec — an alien rock-planet landscape below the falls on the eastern shore, and a flowing river on the western side — was part of annual maintenance performed by the Brookfield Power company, owner of the dam facility.

Brookfield crews worked to replace flashboards along the dam walls in the river, which Christman said become damaged during the winter by ice. Workers substantially lowered the water on the eastern side of the river, exposing the bedrock below the falls, as workers attached fresh wooden flashboards to the dam walls.

By mid-morning, Christman estimated, the marine resources department had rescued a dozen or so stranded fish. The water level was due to rise back up in the afternoon.


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