Letting Rivers be Rivers

Another nice story on projects around the county –unfortunately not copied around the world: China, Chile, Pakistan  — to take dams out of once free-running rivers, and helping nature return to its native state.

..dismantling the Veazie Dam this week … is a decade-long $60 million effort that, in combination with two other major river restoration projects on the Penobscot, will give 11 species of fish, including river herring and Atlantic salmon, better access to 1,000 miles of spawning habitat for the first time in two centuries. “I can’t think of another river restoration project in our lifetime that is opening up this much habitat to these many species,” said Josh Royte, a senior conservation planner for the Maine chapter of the Nature Conservancy

A cormorant surfaces from the water after catching an alewife.

A cormorant surfaces from the water after catching an alewife.

… Since the 1999 breach of its Edwards Dam, the Kennebec River has seen river herring runs more than two million fish strong, and many river-watchers hope that will foreshadow what can happen here. “The potential here is much bigger,” said Laura Rose Day, the executive director of the Penobscot River Restoration Trust, which says the river could eventually see runs of four million to six million river herring.

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