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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Letter to the editor, June 8, 2011: Save LURC

Thomas Varney writes about his positive experiences with LURC in a letter to the editor.

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Letters to the editor, May 29, 2011: Abolishing LURC would do North Woods no good at all

As a Mainer, hiker and resident, Laura Suarez is disappointed at the little coverage given to Gov. LePage's attacks on the North Woods.

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Legislature should take more time on LURC

A legislative committee took a step in the right direction this week by saying it needed more time to implement a plan to abolish the Land Use Regulation Commission and shift all its authority to county governments. The committee ought to go a little further, however, and take the time to ask if abolishing LURC is really a good idea at all.

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Abolishing LURC won't solve anything

While there may be issues with LURC, abolishing it would fix nothing, and would poorly serve the state. The counties are, at least at present, a very poor substitute for what has become a state function. Historically, counties have not engaged to any significant degree in the planning, permitting and enforcement functions that are an absolute necessity.

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Keep the Dark Patch Dark - Don't 'Reform' LURC

The Maine Woods are much different now. But they still display a great patch of darkness on the iconic nighttime satellite photos. This remote, largely undeveloped region has been privately owned for 1½ centuries. But the pressures for change are growing stronger. Resisting those pressures, with its finger in the dike, has been the Land Use Regulation Commission.

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