I am writing in regard to the recent article by Colin Woodward, “4 dams, the future of Kennebec fish runs and salmon’s survival at stake in federal licensing battle” (Jan. 3).

I am a frequent user of the Kennebec for many years. While the river is immensely improved compared to the days when raw sewage floated along and pulpwood jammed it up, it still is not close to reaching its potential. Rivers are the arteries that provide the ebb and flow of life from estuaries inland and back again. Nutrients are carried to the rivers, streams, lakes and ponds by fish migrating to spawning grounds. They feed each other and many other species of wildlife.
Dams are a damaging impediment to restoring a watershed to its full potential. Each dam removes a significant number of migrating fish even with a highly efficient fish passage system in place. That is because no fish passage is highly efficient unless there is no dam.

Brookfield Renewable has not been a good steward of a public resource, the Kennebec. It has dragged its feet at every turn in providing state-of-the-art fish passage at its four dams between Waterville and the Sandy River, the most important habitat for salmon and shad. It has missed FERC deadlines and submitted incorrect documents to them.

I am urging the rejection of a new license for continued operation of the Shawmut Project. I am hoping that the other three dams will receive consideration for removal. In aggregate, they produce minimal power for us. Solar will produce five times more power within the next five years and will grow rapidly from there.

Removal is the best chance to restore the natural rhythms of the Kennebec for the betterment of all but especially for endangered Atlantic salmon.


Jack Gibson


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