2016-08-12 / Letters

Letter was full of ‘meaningless metrics’

To the editor:

The recent letter entitled “It’s a Win-Win for Fish and Dams,” written by Kennebunk resident and my friend Albert Kolff was replete with metrics about the cost-savings to Kennebunk Light and Power’s rate payers. However, like similar letters recently posted, this one included meaningless metrics and cost analyses.

Albert referred to schemes for trucking fish around dams and then releasing them upstream. At first glance this may seem appealing, but a bit of analysis reveals the foolishness of such schemes. What would happen to an anadromous sea-run fish when dumped into an upstream impoundment behind a dam? The relatively stagnant and unnaturally warm water found there is low in dissolved oxygen. That’s a fact proven over and over again by Wells Reserve studies. Pity the poor fish that suddenly find themselves suffocating in low dissolved-oxygen waters.

In recent letters by Albert and Dan Bartilucci, et al, we find metrics upon metrics about how much money is going to be saved. But, there is never a mention of ecology. There is no mention of the intimate relationship between sea-run fish and their free-running fresh water spawning grounds.

Holding a bachelor’s degree in human ecology, and having worked in the electronics engineering field for 35 years, my studies tell me trucking schemes are a bad idea. Steven Hawley, an environmental journalist who wrote about the Edwards Dam removal on the Kennebec River, confirmed this to me.

I met him when he lectured recently at the behest of Wells Reserve. In his 2011 book entitled “Recovering a Lost River,” Hawley talks about “people who spend too much time in artificial environments.”

Hawley’s book, subtitled “Removing Dams, Re-Wilding Salmon, and Re-vitalizing Communities” discusses the negative effects of what he dubs “creative accounting procedures.” He also laments “questionable” science methods.

Hawley also relates the experience of dams that were removed on a small tributary. At the time, folks felt a few sea-run fish might return. Imagine their amazement when literally thousands of fish swarmed up the river in spawning season.

I urge Albert and his misguided Save-The- Mousam kin to get a copy of Hawley’s work to gain insight and begin to comprehend the Mousam River ecosystem. This is essential to anyone concerned about riverine habitat, especially in this era of environmental degradation in general.

Planet Earth and its inhabitants are at an eco-crossroads. We should plot a proper course in our corner of the world. Free the Mousam.

Alex Mendelsohn

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