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

2011 mishaps sent sewage to stream, wetland

A $17 million project meant to prevent sewage from getting into Bond Brook ended up causing more than 200,000 gallons of untreated sewage to flow into the stream and into a nearby wetland. Bond Brook is also spawning grounds for the endangered Atlantic salmon and the spills happened about when the fish lay their eggs, an environmental group says.

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Headline

LURC change too risky

The initiative to improve the way the Land Use Regulation Commission functions was, at the conceptual level, sound. But the bill to tranform LURC that has won committee approval contains some fatal flaws. The eight counties that have the largest amount of Unorganized Territory could see development that permanently degrades the environment and causes long-term harm to communities.

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News Release | Environment Maine

Committee Votes to Rubber Stamp Bill that Threatens Maine's North Woods After Governor Twists Arms

At a work session in Augusta, the Joint Standing Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry voted to approve LD 1798, the LePage administration bill that would roll back 40 years of protections for the North Woods. Gov. Paul LePage met with Republican committee members earlier today to insist that they fall in line.

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Headline

Master guide opposes bill that changes LURC role

Master Maine guide Bill Stevens has been following the progress of LD 1798, a bill that would turn land use regulation of the unorganized territories over to county governments, and is wholeheartedly against it.

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Headline

LURC's role needs to be reaffirmed, not subject to local political pressure

Scenic beauty, peace and quiet, a sense of remoteness -- qualities it is impossible to assign a dollar value to -- are resources as important to the tourist industry and to Maine residents alike as a sustainable wood supply is to the forest-products industry.

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