The Edwards Dam was removed on July 1, 1999, when I was just 6 months old. I have never known a Kennebec River free of fish or unpassable by boat.

However, the river was not always this way. Before the Kennebec Coalition (consisting of the Natural Resources Council of Maine, Kennebec Valley Trout Unlimited, the Atlantic Salmon Federation and American Rivers) succeeded in its efforts to remove the dam, the river was unnaturally vacant of fish and full of sediment. This is how my dad remembers the river being while he was growing up. He has lived along the Kennebec since the 1960s and has noticed a drastic change in water quality since the Clean Water Act was passed in 1972.

The river he once described as “reeking like an open sewer” and “so polluted it was difficult to see just a few inches down” is now a place I treasure.

Growing up along the Kennebec River in the same house that my dad grew up in is one of the main reasons I have discovered a passion for the environment, and also a main reason I was so excited to do an internship at the Natural Resources Council of Maine this summer.

On Monday, alongside the Natural Resources Council of Maine, I celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Edwards Dam removal at an event they hosted. Because of the removal of the Edwards Dam, I have been able to experience a healthier, more vibrant Kennebec River that Maine can be proud of.

Sarah Corkum

Chelsea

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