Kennebec River Healthy One Year Later
5/31/2000 -- -- News from The Kennebec Coalition:
American Rivers, Atlantic Salmon Federation, Natural Resources Council of Maine, Trout unlimited
Margaret Bowman, American Rivers: (202) 347-7550
Andy Goode, Atlantic Salmon Federation: (207) 725-2833
Laura Rose Day, Natural Resources Council of Maine: (207) 622-3101
Maggie Lockwood, Trout Unlimited: (703) 284-9425
May 31, 2000. Falmouth, ME...The Kennebec Coalition applauds the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for affirming its decision to retain its dam removal order in the Edwards Dam proceeding. At a public meeting today, the Commissioners voted 3-1 to deny requests by hydropower trade associations for rehearing of the Commission's September 1998 decision to accept the settlement agreement that led to the removal of Edwards Dam. The vote also served to deny the hydropower industry's request to vacate the Commission's November 1997 order to remove the dam.
"The Commissioners have rightly confirmed that, in certain circumstances, dam removal can be in the public interest," said Steve Brooke of American Rivers. "This is a huge victory for everyone who cares about keeping America's rivers flowing free where dams no longer make sense."
The removal of the Edwards Dam has demonstrated that, used judiciously, FERC's ability to order dam removal can improve rivers, restore fisheries and revitalize local communities.
"Anyone who is wondering whether FERC's decision to order Edwards Dam removed was a good idea should immediately get on a plane and come to Maine to see the incredible rebirth of the Kennebec River." said Betsy Ham, Coordinator of the Kennebec Coalition.
"We knew that this river community would benefit from the dam's removal" observes Laura Rose Day, Watershed Project Leader for NRCM, "but the early signs of recovery are remarkable! From the osprey and anglers enjoying the rebounding fish migrations, to the towns and businesses planning river festivals, communities along the Kennebec are reaping the benefits of their new river!"
"FERC has confirmed what the Kennebec Valley TU members knew 15 years ago. The environmental benefits of the Edward's dam removal outweigh any economic or power benefits of the dam," said TU New England Conservation Director Jeff Reardon. "The proof is in the return of the American shad, striped bass and alewife."
"The single best act we can do for dwindling Atlantic salmon populations is to allow them access to their historical habitat, the removal of the Edwards Dam is a giant step in the right direction," said Andy Goode of the Atlantic Salmon Federation.
To mark to approaching anniversary of the Edwards Dam removal, the groups involved are organizing a press briefing on the Kennebec River the last week in June. Since the completion of the removal last July 1, the Kennebec River has seen a number of strong improvements.
Migratory fish are swimming up the river past the historic Edwards Dam site in great numbers for the first time in 162 years.
Water quality has significantly improved in former impoundment.
Recreational activity on the River has increased dramatically.
Chronology of legal events leading to Edwards Dam removal:
Events celebrating the one-year anniversary of the removal of Edwards Dam are scheduled of June 28th on the banks of the Kennebec River. For more information as this date approaches, contact Judy Berk  or click here