2015-05-22 / Community

Environmental groups sponsor dam forum

Three environmental groups are co-sponsoring a public forum at which they plan to share “factual information and answers to some of the questions” surrounding three Mousam River dams owned and operated by the Kennebunk Light and Power District (KL&P), which are due for relicensing by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in 2022.

To date, the groups say, KL&P has not adequately answered their questions about the current health of the river, the cost and benefits of relicensing the dams, and whether fish runs can be adequately installed – if the dams remain – among a host of other concerns.

The event, staged under the auspices of the Mousam and Kennebunk Rivers Alliance, the Sierra Club Climate Action Team, and Maine Rivers, will begin at 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 28, in the auditorium at Kennebunk Town Hall.

Dr. Christine Feurt, professor of environmental studies at the University of New England and director of the coastal training program at the Wells Reserve, will serve as moderator for the evening.

Featured panelists will include:

Eric Hutchins, who works on habitat and ecosystem restoration projects across the Northeast for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the Gulf of Maine Council;

Michael Chelminski, an engineer and principal at Stantec Consulting Services, who has worked on river and stream restoration projects throughout Maine and across North America;

Jacob Aman, a research associate for the Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve who has monitored the water quality and health of the Mousam River for several years; and,

John Burrows, director of New England Programs for the international Atlantic Salmon Federation and a founding member of the Mousam and Kennebunk Rivers Alliance.

One person not expected to speak is KL&P General Manager Todd Shea. Although forum organizers have said Shea will offer an update on dam relicensing efforts, Shea said Monday he has nothing to add to a public presentation he gave on March 31. He’ll only be on hand to introduce himself and answer questions, he said, adding, “They kind of made that sound like a little more than it is. I don’t really have any new information.”

Questions for the panelists may be submitted in advance by emailing landis@mainerivers.org.

Return to top