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March 21, 2023


Yesterday, NOAA Fisheries released an analysis that pushes Atlantic salmon closer to extinction by dismissing the threat posed by four outdated dams on Maine’s Kennebec River. Mainers have a long legacy of restoring our rivers to bring back wildlife, rejuvenate riverfront communities, and support a vibrant outdoor recreation economy. We won’t back down now. NOAA’s analysis, called a Biological Opinion or BIOP, is a requirement of the Endangered Species Act and is meant to protect endangered species. But NOAA yielded to pressure from the international mega-company, Brookfield, that owns these dams and chose to ignore the science and the facts from the past decade, which show that the dams block migration of Atlantic salmon and other important sea-run fish species. 

•    Fish passage plans like those proposed by Brookfield haven’t worked for Atlantic salmon anywhere in the world, and they’re not going to work on the Kennebec.

•    Removing these dams is the best chance we have to prevent Atlantic salmon from becoming extinct and would benefit other sea-run fish that are important to the health of the Gulf of Maine.

•    NOAA’s decision ignores these realities, harming wildlife, our environment, and our commercial fishing industries.

While this is a disappointing setback that ignores science, this effort is far from over. The legal case against Brookfield for violating the Endangered Species Act will continue, and we will remain deeply involved in the federal dam relicensing process. NRCM will continue working with Maine tribes, our conservation partners, and supporters like you to save Atlantic salmon from extinction and restore a healthy, free-flowing Kennebec.   

Maine TU Council is a conservation partner working with NRCM and other organizations including Maine Rivers and ASF to prevent Atlantic salmon from becoming extinct in Maine.

Click here to read the BIOP.