2017-07-21 / Letters

A vote for a restored Mousam River

To the editor:

I urge anyone interested in the future of the Mousam River to read the front page article in the Maine Sunday Telegram (July 16): “River herring making dramatic comeback” (http://www.pressherald.com/2017/07/16/maines-river-herring-making-dramat...).

The article documents the “ … dramatic comeback of (river herring) in Maine’s rivers with the recent removal of dams that blocked their spawning runs for decades.”

It was also noted that the recovery of the herring “ … is having dramatic secondary effects, as they represent a perfect food source for everything from bald eagles to Atlantic cod …” and lobster.

The head of the Alewife Harvesters of Maine stated that the alewife (bait for lobster) harvest this year was really good and “the trends are positive because Maine is doing a great job cleaning up its streams and rivers.”

It’s worth noting that that assessment was made by a Republican lawmaker, not an environmentalist from away. And, a former groundfisherman from Stonington who co-founded the Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries believes that the collapse of the river herring fishery helped decimate near shore stocks of cod and other ground fish. More river herring, the return of the cod fishery, perhaps.

All in all, very encouraging news. Hopefully, before too long the Mousam River will be supporting the pilgrimage of herring from the Atlantic Ocean to their spawning grounds in the streams which flow into the Mousam.

What will the Mousam River look like in 20 years – a healthy river with a vibrant fishery supporting a growing riparian ecology or a river which is the victim of an antiquated and crumbling series of dams?

I cast my vote for a restored Mousam River governed by nature not concrete and wood.

Bob Wuerthner

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