Thursday, 18 August 2016 08:46

Salmon fishery could be damaged if feds lose dam control Featured

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GRAND LAKE STREAM - Last Monday several people from the town of Grand Lake Stream told us they believe the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission wants to open the fish passages on the dam leading to drastic problems for the salmon and trout fisheries.

Now a group of salmon restoration proponents said almost the exact opposite.

 

Federal legislation introduced by Congressman Bruce Poliquin is the key to whether the federal government retains licensing approval for hydroelectric dams. Currently, the West Grand Dam is owned and operated by Woodland Pulp and Paper, and its operating license was renewed by FERC with no mention in the license of opening the fish-ways.

 

Chubba Kane of Downeast Salmon Federation said "I think this was done in haste. We don't know the repercussions of this bill."

 

Some opponents of federal control say the salmon and trout fisheries will be ruined by invasive fish species. Others say that's not the case.

 

UMaine wildlife professor, Gerard Zegers said "I don't see how alewives would affect the salmon and trout at all, other than that they're more food for them."

 

Those that want FERC to leave the dam alone say water levels will drop drastically. Again, there are those that say that's not the case.

 

Paul Biscula of Passamaquoddy Schoodic River Keepers said "It is in the mill's best public relations interest, it is to their advantage to maintain good relations. They are not going to reduce the water levels to the detriment of the people with shore-front property."

 

Some people said stripping FERC of its authority over the re-licensing process is just what's needed, giving control back to the locals. However, others say, it will damage the habitat for Passamaquoddy, Canadian and American fishermen.