Friends of Merrymeeting Bay
P.O. Box 233
Richmond, ME 04357
For Immediate Release:
Friends of Merrymeeting Bay Salmon Lawsuit Successful!
Contact: Ed Friedman,Chair, FOMB-207-666-3372
Dave Nicholas, Atty for FOMB-617-964-1548
Doug Watts, Friends of Kennebec Salmon-207-622-1003
Mollie Matteson, Center for Biological Diversity-802-434-2388
9/2/08----National Marine Fisheries Service [NMFS] and US Fish & Wildlife Service USFWS] today announced their proposal to redefine the endangered Gulf of Maine population of Atlantic salmon to include fish found in the Kennebec, Androscoggin and Penobscot Rivers! The proposal was combined with a 12-month finding in favor of an Endangered Species Act petition filed in 2005 to expand listing of the salmon to the Kennebec River.
The proposal will be listed immediately in the Federal Register and a public comment period will be available for 90 days. A Critical Habitat designation for the salmon will also be filed in the Register.
This decision comes in large part from pressure brought to bear by Doug Watts, Tim Watts, FOMB and the Maine Toxics Action Coalition in their 2005 citizen ESA petition to list the Kennebec Atlantic salmon and from a 2008 lawsuit filed in federal court by FOMB, Doug Watts and the Center for Biological Diversity to force the listing decision which was 2 years overdue in spite of support from a federal status review of Gulf of Maine salmon.
The proposal lists the harmful effects of dams both in blocking upstream fish passage and causing turbine mortality as one of the top three most detrimental problems adversely affecting salmon recovery. FOMB and Watts have been actively engaged in the legislature, Board of Environmental Protection and state courts in recent years advocating for immediate safe and effective migratory fish passage for salmon, American eels and other diadromous species.
The good news for migratory fish activists followed surprise news a week ago that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [FERC] granted FOMB's "Request for Rehearing" of the Preliminary Permit issued for the proposed Kennebec Tidal Energy Project planned for the "Chops." The Chops is a 280 yard narrows in the Kennebec at Merrymeeting Bay through which 38% of Maine's water drains and through which every migratory fish using the estuary for spawning and nursery habitat must pass. The project proposes an underwater array of 50 turbines/generators using propeller blades 50 feet in diameter.
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