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Senator Collins Visits Whiting to Celebrate $2.9 Million for Mill Pond Dam

Mill Pond Collage

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Whiting, ME—U.S. Senator Susan Collins participated in an event at the Whiting Town Office yesterday to celebrate a $2.9 million grant to restore a fish passage for the Mill Pond Dam.  Senator Collins, the Vice Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, secured the funding in the government appropriations bill that was signed into law last month.  The project will preserve the pond and will take a key step to help restore critical habitat for the endangered Atlantic salmon throughout the Orange River Watershed.


The Mill Pond Dam is located at the site of a former mill that was initially constructed in the early 1800s and equipped with a wooden fish ladder system.  A fire destroyed the mill and fish ladder in the 1950s, and the dam subsequently fell into a state of disrepair.  


“For generations, Mill Pond has served as a focal point for the Town of Whiting.  In addition to its scenic beauty, Mill Pond is a crucial water source for firefighters, which proved instrumental in saving the town from the destructive Bell Mountain forest fire in 1985,” said Senator Collins.  “The funding for this project will protect the pond while restoring critical habitat for native fish populations, benefitting current and future generations of anglers.”


Following the event at the town office, Senator Collins stopped by Whiting Village School.  Principal Scott Johnson and nine students were among the dozens of local residents who wrote letters in support of the Mill Pond Dam project. 


One young student wrote, “Without the Mill Pond, my house would have had a lot more damage done to it when we had our fire, since they would’ve had to go to the nearest water supply other than the pond.”


Another resident wrote, “My Dad…was in a battle for his life in the Battle of the Bulge.  When boxes of ammunition appeared on the battlefield stamped CRANE’S MILL ~ WHITING, MAINE, he proudly said to his men, ‘This is my hometown.  THIS is what we are fighting for!’  How do you put a value on that?  I think of the history of that millpond and dam each time I drive down Route One.”


“Many of you wrote letters supporting this exciting project,” Senator Collins told those who gathered at the school.  “When I discussed this funding with my Senate colleagues, your letters really made a difference.”


The Mill Pond Dam project will establish a fish passage at the first dam on the Orange River while maintaining critical water levels for regional firefighting efforts.  The Orange River is a coastal river system with a watershed of approximately 32 square miles.  The watershed includes approximately 12 miles of river channel and nearly 2,000 acres of lakes and ponds.  The river has been designated as Critical Habitat for Atlantic Salmon, and records confirm the system historically supported river herring and other diadromous fish species.




Senator Collins successfully sponsored more than 285 projects in Maine totaling more than $500 million in FY22 and FY23 by state government, municipalities, colleges and universities, and non-profits.  These projects will promote job creation, workforce training, and economic development; expand access to health care; improve public safety, infrastructure, and community resources; and protect our environment. 



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