Unprotected dams push salmon to the brink

The Kennebec and Androscoggin rivers once teemed with salmon runs of 100,000 or more — but now almost no Atlantic salmon return to the rivers each year.

Unprotected turbines at dams along the rivers are among the leading causes of the declining salmon populations. The dams kill and injure migrating salmon when they attempt to pass through the dams’ rotating blades — akin to having fish swim through the rotating blades of a giant window fan.

To make matters worse, dam owners have refused to implement simple protection measures that have been successfully adopted elsewhere, such as installing effective devices to divert salmon from turbines.

Environment Maine sues to save the salmon

With the number of Atlantic salmon perilously low, the need for action to protect the fish and their habitat is urgent.

In early 2011, Environment Maine and Friends of Merrymeeting Bay sued multiple dam owners and operators on the rivers for failing to take simple, inexpensive measures to protect the salmon.

Since the salmon populations in both rivers are on the Endangered Species List, the dam owners’ negligence violates federal law.

This summer, in a preliminary victory, the courts rejected attempts by the power companies to dismiss the cases.


Preservation Updates

Headline

LURC reform bill already generating political tensions

If their first two meetings are any indication, lawmakers on the committee that oversees the Land Use Regulation Commission could face a rocky road as they prepare to take up a list of recommended reforms to the state agency.

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News Release | Environment Maine

Coalition Concerned LURC Reform Proposal Headed Off-Track

Members of a broad coalition of conservation and planning groups are raising concerns about reforms proposed for the Land Use Regulation Commission (LURC) and how those reforms are being addressed in the Legislature. Maine's legendary North Woods - the anchor of our forest products and tourism economies and our natural outdoors heritage - stands to pay a high price.

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Headline

Planning in the North Woods an issue for all Mainers

At 10.4 million acres, the North Woods cover more than half of the state of Maine. They are also the lungs of the state, and the headwaters of most of our major rivers. Control of the majority of the state's land must rest not in a minority of its citizens, but in a body appointed by elected officials who represent all of us.

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News Release | Environment Maine

LURC Task Force Recommendations Threaten North Woods' Future

Department of Conservation Commissioner Bill Beardsley presented the findings of the LURC Reform Commission to the Maine Legislature’s Joint Standing Committee on Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry. The task force’s report recommends that the Legislature alter and significantly weaken LURC, rolling back 40 years of protections for the North Woods.

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Headline

Lawmakers tell conservation commissioner: Give us a LURC bill

Members of a state task force created to reform the Land Use Regulation Commission urged lawmakers Tuesday to quickly pass changes to LURC’s structure and rules. Many lawmakers balked, saying quick action was premature.

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