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Coast Guard continues to break ice on Penobscot River and will start operations on Kennebec River

by U.S. Coast Guard 1st District Northeast 21 Mar 05:37 PDT
The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Thunder Bay breaks ice along the Kennebec River, in Gardiner, Maine, March 27, 2014. The Thunder Bay began icebreaking on the river to relieve flood potential as spring appears on the horizon. © U.S. Coast Guard / Rob Simpson

The Coast Guard urges the public to remove all ice fishing shacks as soon as safely possible from the Kennebec River as the Coast Guard begins ice breaking operations Thursday.

Crews of four Coast Guard ice-breakers are scheduled to begin the operation known as "Spring Breakout" to reduce the risk of land-side flooding as snow and river ice begin to melt and spring rains arrive. Individuals should refrain from being on the river when the tugs are breaking ice.

The operation will include the following assets:

  • Coast Guard Cutter Thunder Bay, a 140-foot tug homeported in Rockland, Maine
  • Coast Guard Cutter Shackle, a 65-foot tug homeported in Portland, Maine
  • Coast Guard Cutter Tackle, a 65-foot tug homeported in Rockland, Maine
  • Coast Guard Cutter Bridle, a 65-foot tug homeported in Southwest Harbor, Maine

"Our ice-breaking crews have done a tremendous job ensuring the waterways of Maine and New Hampshire remained open and safe throughout the season," said Lieutenant Matthew Odom, Chief of the Waterways Management Division for Coast Guard Sector Northern New England. "As temperatures rise, we intend to clear significant portions of the Penobscot and Kennebec Rivers of ice to mitigate flood risks."

Coast Guard Sector Northern New England in South Portland will partner with Maine Emergency Management Agency, National Weather Service, U.S. Geological Survey, Maine Department of Transportation, and Maine Marine Patrol to manage the Spring Breakout. These agencies have been meeting bi-weekly to assess the risk of flooding along the Kennebec and Penobscot Rivers.

Coast Guard ice breaking operations will be visible from the shoreline and bridges that span the Kennebec and Penobscot Rivers. All media queries should be directed to LTJG Chellsey Phillips at (207) 347-5009.

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