BANGOR, Maine — When paddlers begin their treks downstream on Saturday during the 46th annual Kenduskeag Stream Canoe Race, they may be thinking that they’re seeing more rocks than normal.
They’ll be right.
Water in the stream is much lower than it was two years ago, which many paddlers called the lowest they could remember. And though full historic water-flow data isn’t available, the statistics that are accessible point to historic low water in the Kenduskeag for this time of year.
A U.S. Geological Survey water gauge in Kenduskeag village, which had been inoperable for a number of years but returned to service in time for the 2010 race, shows that the water flow on Friday was similar to that found in the stream last July and August.
As of 10:15 a.m. Friday, the water was measured at just 3.58 feet in Kenduskeag. Two years ago, on the Wednesday before the race, the water was at 4.98 feet, and was considered extremely low at that level.
According to the USGS streamflow page, just 104 cubic feet per second of water was flowing through Kenduskeag at 10:15 a.m. Friday. The lowest level ever recorded on April 20 (in 13 years of on-and-off service) on that gauge came during 2010, when the flow was 272 cfs.
The race, however, will go on as scheduled, just as it has 45 previous times.