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 draws large crowd, strong emotions

Lawmakers heard hours of passionate testimony Thursday on the economic and cultural importance of Maine's vast, undeveloped forests as they began work on a bill that could affect planning and permitting on nearly half of the acreage in the state.

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Headline

Hearing Highlights Struggle over Future of Maine's North Woods

The struggle over the future of some of Maine's most pristine lands continued inside a hearing room in Augusta today. A bill incorporating changes proposed by a special commission would limit the power of the Land Use Regulation Commission and give land owners and counties more say over planning and zoning in the state's Unorganized Territory. Supporters told memebrs of the Legislature's Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee that the measure restores balance to a decision-making process too heavily weighted in favor of conservation. But environmental groups say the proposed changes will roll back 40 years of protections and destroy the character of Maine's North Woods.

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News Release | Environment Maine

Citizens and Experts to Testify Against LD 1798 in Effort to Protect North Woods and Keep LURC Strong

Today at the Maine State House in Augusta, concerned citizens, experts, and legislators will testify in support of strong protections for Maine’s North Woods at a public hearing in front of the Legislature’s Joint Standing Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. The citizens will testify on LD 1798, which would roll back 40 years of protections for the North Woods by diminishing the scope and power of the Land Use Regulation Commission (LURC).

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Headline

Judge: Salmon protection case can move forward

A federal judge has ruled that a lawsuit brought against the operators of a dam on the Kennebec River in an effort to protect the endangered Atlantic salmon can move forward.

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News Release | Environment Maine

Environment Maine Rallies Citizens to Deliver 17,000 Messages on the North Woods

Citizens concerned with the fate of Maine’s natural heritage gathered in Augusta today to urge their legislators to protect Maine’s North Woods and vote against legislation that would undermine Maine’s Land Use Regulation Commission (LURC). Environment Maine, a statewide environmental advocacy organization, collected the 17,000 messages from every state legislative district and hosted the event at the State House for citizens to deliver the messages to their legislators in the Maine House of Representatives.

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