2016-03-04 / Letters

Be careful what you wish for: Mousam Creek

To the editor:

When we attended the November meeting held by the Kennebunk Light and Power trustees on the future of our three Mousam River dams, we had our first opportunity to observe the rivers group that is part of a larger statewide group.

They had their clipboards handy as they checked off their well orchestrated and programmed speakers, almost all of whom represented outside-of-our-town groups who have a statewide agenda of dam removal, all Maine dams, no matter their history, scenic beauty, green power production or recreational value.

During that evening, the rivers group heard the laughter of their own supporters when they tried to use a cherry-picked study when they declared that the removal of our dams would create an increase in the property values for homeowners along the river.

The whole evening reminded us of a onetime only experience of being forced to listen to a slick team of condo time-share pitchmen trying to sell us on a bad deal.

As a prime example of their tactics, the Wright Pierce Report has identified the rivers group, with their demands for very expensive fish ladders as a force in pushing up the keep-the-dams costs. The rivers group then turns around and urges the removal of the dams because it’ll cost us so much less. Push the costs up and then declare it’s too expensive to keep them.

Some in that group call themselves sport fishermen. If they get their way and tear down our dams, all they’ll have to do is pull on a pair of waterproof boots, slosh through the new mud and weeds, and catch the fish bare-handed in 1.3- to 1.8-feet of water. Some sport fishermen.

That evening some locals got caught up in the rivers spin. One owner of a building on the southwest, upriver side of the Kesslen Dam told the trustees that she’s looking forward to putting in a kayak behind her building and paddling away.

The reality is that if that dam is torn down like the rivers group wants, she’d first have at least 12 feet of steep and newly exposed former river bank that she and her kayak would have to vertically slide down. She’d then have to pull on short, shallow-water waders and then stomp through the now exposed mud and weeds, dragging her kayak behind her. She’d have a struggle, because the water that is now 128 feet wide behind the dam, will have been reduced to only 40 feet wide or less directly behind her building.

Her troubles wouldn’t be over yet, because she’d be trying to launch her kayak into 1.3 feet of water. It was formerly 14 feet deep behind the dam. Her final challenge? Trying to paddle that kayak around and through the rocks.

Be careful what you wish for, you might just get it – Mousam Creek.

These outside groups have brought their statewide agenda – tear them all down – to Kennebunk. We’re just another stop of many in their campaign. They’ve gotten pretty smooth at it and are running a well-orchestrated and expensive campaign on our local trustees. After you tear down so many dams, you get pretty good at the public relations side of it, even coordinating letters from New Hampshire and all other parts of Maine in support of it to our trustees.

These tear-them-groups have zero concern or appreciation for the local folks and the ratepayers who’ll be dramatically impacted by their demands – tear-downs that can never be reversed.

They want to leave us with huge bills and a whole lot of mud and weeds. Their Mousam Creek is a lose-lose for those of us who call this special place home.

Tom Murphy
Kennebunk Landing

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