BASS BARN banner
1 - 1 of 1 Posts

782 Posts
Now I got no patience
So sick of complacence
With the d the e the f the I the a the n the c the e
Mind of a revolutionary
So clear the lane
The finger to the land of the chains
What? the land of the free?
Whoever told you that is your enemy?

-Rage Against the Machine

Fish Interrupted
Eels Killed at Maine Dam

Endangered Species Petition Filed

By Murray Carpenter

Doug Watts got mad when he discovered hundreds of eels?some five feet long and decades old?killed by the turbines of a dam on Maine?s Sebasticook River in mid-October. He alerted federal and state agencies, but both chose not to take any action against the dam operator. For another month, the dam kept cranking out electricity, and killing eels as they migrated seaward to spawn. For Watts, a longtime fish advocate from Augusta, it may have been the last straw.
In November, Watts and his brother Timothy Watts of Middleborough, Massachusetts, petitioned federal agencies to list American eels as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. It?s hard to imagine an endangered species listing that would encompass a more populous and developed swath of America. Virtually every stream and river from Florida to the St. Lawrence River has, or once had, an eel population. The fish have long had culinary and commercial value in New England?Native Americans used weirs to harvest eels throughout the region thousands of years ago.
Watts, President of Friends of the Kennebec Salmon, has been working to protect the fish of the Kennebec River watershed for years. And he is no stranger to the Endangered Species Act. In 1999 he signed on to a lawsuit challenging the federal government?s decision not to list Maine?s Atlantic salmon as endangered; the feds opted to list the fish later that year. And the Watts brothers will have some reputable allies on this campaign. The American Fisheries Society and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission have expressed concern over the eels? falling numbers.
The Benton Falls eel kill is notable for two reasons. It is representative of the problems that eels face throughout their range. And it was avoidable.

BACK IN AUGUST, Watts wrote a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), requesting that the turbines at the Benton Falls dam be shut down at night to allow safe passage for the eels. Watts cited a 2001 Maine Department of Marine Resources (DMR) study that showed fifty percent of the eels passing the dam are killed by the turbines. ?Severe eels kills like those documented by Maine DMR in 2001 have undoubtedly occurred every fall at the Benton Falls Project since it went on-line in 1988,? Watts wrote. ?Severe eel kills will undoubtedly occur at the Benton Falls Project this fall and every fall thereafter.?
In response, the dam owner, Arcadia Energy of Atlanta, Georgia, called the DMR evidence of a fish kill, ?inconclusive and inadequate.? It declined to voluntarily shut down the turbines at night.

1 - 1 of 1 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.