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

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LURC reforms stronger without county opt-out, if members face legislative review

We are pleased that the LURC reform task force has rejected the extreme proposal to eliminate the commission, and has instead focused on how to increase the role the counties play in governing the land. While we support the majority of the task force's recommendations, we have serious reservations about the provision to allow counties to opt out of LURC.

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Fine-tune LURC Fix

Legislators, who represent more divergent views than those on the LURC Reform Commission, should not hesitate to tweak the task force's recommendations.

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Maine environmentalists gearing up for battle this legislative session

While closing another budget gap will be their top priority, lawmakers are expected to grapple with a number of complex and potentially contentious issues dealing with the environment, land use and Maine's energy mix during the shortened legislative session that began Wednesday.

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Our View: Northwoods regulation should maintain balance

Maine's North Woods are a state treasure, a vast stretch of undeveloped land big enough to support wildlife habitat and the forest products industry, a leading source of jobs and wealth for the state. Altogether, it is a precious resource that feeds our state economy and sense of place.

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News Release | Environment Maine

Coalition Concerned About Impact of LURC Proposal on Maine's North Woods

Planners, conservationists, and citizens throughout Maine are concerned about the impact of proposed changes to Maine's Land Use Regulation Commission (LURC) on Maine's North Woods and are urging the Legislature to examine the proposal carefully and think long and hard about the importance of Maine's signature natural resource.

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