September 25, 2017

Letter from the President

Winter 2012

John Burrows and Jacob Amon studing sampling sites on the Mousam River

John Burrows and Jacob Amon studing sampling sites on the Mousam River

Dear Friend of Maine Rivers,

The challenges that face our waters are vast and profound, but I am pleased to let you know that Maine Rivers has been busy working on efforts throughout the State of Maine to protect and restore our rivers.  For over a decade Maine Rivers has worked to raise awareness of the threats to our rivers—and to defend them.   I am writing to ask you to join me in supporting this vital work.

Our rivers and streams are Maine’s natural wealth, traveling some 32,000 miles through the mountains, hills, fields, towns and cities of our state.  Rivers provide critical habitat for Maine’s twelve migratory fish species that must move between saltwater and freshwater systems to survive.

Maine Rivers is working to reduce fragmentation of our aquatic ecosystems.  Obsolete dams significantly reduce the resilience of our streams and rivers; poorly designed road culverts similarly fragment our waterways and prevent the movement of fish and aquatic species.  To reduce the fragmentation of our waterways and improve their natural aquatic connections, we are:

  • Working to organize Maine’s first dam removal training workshop with the goal of preparing more organizations and individuals to take on dam removal projects.
  • Creating Maine’s first unified list of river and stream restoration projects to coordinate restoration work
  • Providing logistical support to the improve communication and coordination among state and federal natural resource agencies.

Mainers are curious and passionate about the rivers that run through their communities and lives.  We know that local communities must be active partners and work to improve rivers and streams. To support local efforts we are:

  • Actively supporting local river restoration efforts in the watersheds of the Mousam and Kennebunk Rivers, the Royal River and the Sebasticook River.
  • Collaborating with land trusts, conservation commissions, municipalities, and state and federal agencies to share technical information about river restoration, funding opportunities, and success stories.

Maine Rivers remains vigilant about threats to our rivers.  We continue to:

  • Advocate for the restoration of native alewives to the St. Croix River. The St. Croix has the potential to produce a self-sustaining run of more than 20 million alewives. They are a critical food source for the numerous other species of fish, birds, and wildlife that inhabit our rivers, estuaries and the ocean.
  • Investigate the impacts of recreational gold dredging on fragile river ecosystems.
  • Fight against the ill-considered plans to rebuild a dam at Scribner’s Mill on the Crooked River.

Last winter Maine Rivers responded to the wave of anti-environmental bills introduced to the Maine Legislature and worked to protect the laws that safeguard water protections.  These included challenges to shoreland zoning laws, snow dumping policies, and allowable levels of arsenic in drinking water.  With your support we will be able to maintain our vigilance and share critical information as new threats emerge. 

Alewives can’t vote, eels don’t call their legislators and salmon don’t know how to fill out the permits required for dam removal.   With your help we are able to organize, advocate and educate on behalf of our rivers and the creatures that depend upon them.  Thank you for helping support our work.

Sincerely,

Nick Bennett

President of the Maine Rivers Board of Directors