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

'David vs. Goliath Victory': Port Town Votes to Block Tar Sands Export

The community of South Portland, Maine made history Monday night when the city councilvoted to pass an ordinance that would block Canadian tar sands from being loaded onto tankers and exported from their port.

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Headline

South Portland approves law barring tar sands oil

SOUTH PORTLAND — The City Council gave final approval Monday night to controversial zoning changes that are expected to block the potential export of Canadian tar sands oil from the city’s waterfront.

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News Release

Environment Maine Statement on Historic Tar Sands Vote Tonight

Portland—The South Portland City Council tonight will take its final vote on the Clear Skies Ordinance, a narrow ordinance that will prohibit the bulk loading of crude oil, including tar sands, onto tankers on the waterfront, as well as new related infrastructure in the city.

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Lawsuit aimed at protecting Kennebec salmon revived

A federal appeals court has revived part of a lawsuit brought by two Maine-based environmental groups hoping to save Atlantic salmon and American shad populations from being chewed up in the turbines of four hydroelectric dams on the Kennebec River.

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News Release | Environment Maine, Friends of Merrymeeting Bay

Federal Appeals Court Deals Setback to Maine Hydro Dam Owner, In Salmon Protection Lawsuit

The federal First Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston yesterday reversed the dismissal of a Clean Water Act (CWA) lawsuit brought by two conservation groups to save Atlantic salmon and American shad from the turbines of four hydroelectric dams on the Kennebec River. 

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