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

News Release | Environment Maine, Friends of Merrymeeting Bay

Citizen Groups Seek Court Order to Save Spring Run of Endangered Atlantic Salmon

Two local conservation groups have requested a federal judge to order the temporary shutdown of turbines at four hydroelectric dams on the Kennebec and Androscoggin Rivers this spring to save thousands of out-migrating young Atlantic salmon. Without a shutdown, the endangered salmon smolts will be forced through the rapidly spinning turbine blades at each dam, where a high percentage will be killed in violation of the Endangered Species Act.  The dams involved are the Weston, Shawmut, and Lockwood dams on the Kennebec River, and Brunswick dam on the Androscoggin River.

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Headline

Acadia National Park generated $186 million for Maine economy in 2011, report says

Visitation to Maine’s only national park in 2011 injected more than $186 million into Maine’s economy that year and supported nearly 3,000 jobs in the Mount Desert Island region, according to a report released Monday by the National Park Service.

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News Release | Environment Maine

Environment Maine Delivers 5,000+ Messages in Final Push to Protect Acadia National Park

Environment Maine delivers over 5,000 messages to the outgoing U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe asking her to protect Acadia National Park before she retires. The messages came from all across Maine – collected at doorsteps, on street corners, and online – and all urged her to ensure that every acre of the park is permanently protected as the capstone on her legacy to Maine.

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News Release | Environment Maine

Pipeline Application Means “Dirtiest Oil on the Planet” Is Headed to New England’s Doorstep

Canada’s mega-oil pipeline company Enbridge filed an application today to move forward on the reversal of its Line 9 pipeline, likely bringing tar sands oil eastward to Montreal.  If approved, this would open the door to bringing the corrosive tar sands through Ontario, Quebec, and New England for export.  

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City nears resolution with EPA over Clean Water Act violations

Portland is still negotiating with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over violations of the Clean Water Act that occurred between 2007 and 2009 and at the same time moving forward with upgrades to the city's wastewater systems.

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