2017-01-20 / Letters

Time for dams has come and gone

To the editor:

Oh, my. In his letter of Dec. 9, Shawn Teague substituted a personal attack on me for a discussion of the facts in my letter. This is counterproductive. I’ll stick with my plea for facts, fairness and openness when discussing the fate of dams

As I see it the Save the Dams folks are primarily motivated by the potential appearance of the river. This is understandable, many live on the Mousam so the river is in their backyards.

They have coined the term “Mudsam” to describe what they think the river will look like – but this term is misleading and creates unwarranted fear. Here are the facts.

The images of the muddy bottom of the Mousam publicized by the Save the Dams folks were taken when the river was drained.

The gates at the Kesslen Dam were opened and the flow at the dam above was stopped. It’s akin to draining a bathtub with faucet closed, of course the bottom shows. The Mousam will never be the Mudsam unless the faucet above is turned off.

You can see what the Mousam will look like on the Kennebunk Light and Power website. There are photo simulations prepared by an independent consultant for the Kennebunk Light and Power Trustees. These show a river, not a mudflat and in the worst case – the lowest water flow of the year.

You can also visit the Mousam to see for yourself what it will look like. Go to the three places where the Mousam flows naturally, below the Kesslen Dam, below the Twine Mill Dam and below the Dana Perkins Dams. These are beautiful places. Don’t take my word for it, go see.

Of course, if you think about it, the idea of a muddy bottom river defies our experience. You may have seen dozens of free flowing rivers. Excepting ones that are tidal, how many are mudflats? Spring flows wash mud away leaving the waterfalls, rocks and sandy banks that we cherish. That is what the Mousam will look like.

Dam removal will not lead to the dire consequences claimed by the Save the Dams folks.

I could let this issue pass, as I do not live on the Mousam and some would say I have no skin in the game. But, I won’t for a couple of reasons. First, so far, every fact and study conducted by the KLP trustees has been ridiculed and dismissed by the Save the Dams folks. We can’t let hearsay, innuendo and fabrications power over independent facts and thoughtful analysis.

Second, as a resident I have a say in the expenditures of the town and spending many millions of my taxes to keep uneconomical dams operating makes no sense.

Third, removal of dams will restore the Mousam to its natural state. Just like air and water pollution, the time for dams has come and gone. Let us restore our river, too.

Curtis Mildner

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