Coast Guard to commence Kennebec River ice breaking

Coast Guard Cutter Thunder Bay

Coast Guard Cutter Thunder Bay

PORTLAND, Maine — Coast Guard units in Maine are scheduled to begin ice-breaking operations on the Kennebec River, March 12, 2011.

Forecasted precipitation has increased the risk that river ice may move and potentially jam, causing coastal flooding.

To reduce the risk of property damage, the Coast Guard, in collaboration with the Maine Emergency Management Agency, National Weather Service, and U.S. Geological Survey determined ice-breaking operations should begin Saturday.

The 140-foot Rockland, Maine-based Coast Guard Cutter Thunder Bay, 65-foot Portland, Maine-based Coast Guard Cutter Shackle, 65-foot Rockland-based Coast Guard Cutter Tackle and 65-foot Southwest Harbor, Maine-based Coast Guard Cutter Bridle will break and flush ice in the main channel from Merrymeeting Bay, Maine, to Gardiner, Maine.

All Coast Guard cutters have been staged in Bath, Maine, since Wednesday.

Ice-breaking operations are expected to continue until March 15, 2011.

“This major effort, made possible through the close partnership we have with federal, state, county and local agencies, will clear river ice in the Kennebec River and reduce the possibility of ice jamming and flooding as water runoff tries to drain to the ocean,” said Capt. James McPherson, commander of Coast Guard Sector Northern New England.

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