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Talk of the Towns 7/10/15

Host: Ron Beard, University of Maine Cooperative Extension
Studio Engineer: Joel Mann

Issue: Community concerns and opportunities

Program Topic: The Union River, Fish and Dams

Key Discussion Points:

1. The Watershed

What is the watershed of the Union River, and how does it serve/impact the region?

What do we know about fish in the Union River—historical and present?

First dams for sawmills and other industry, later for electric power

2. Current dams and purposes

? What is the current ownership of the dams on the Union River… what do we know about

Brookfield Power and its economic goals for the Union River?

? How much power is being generated on the Union River, and how important is this as part of our

overall energy mix in Maine and the overall power grid?

? How important is the Ellsworth Dam to current flood control?

3. Alewives

From colonial times, alewives were allowed to be managed at the local level… what measures do the City

of Ellsworth and it’s partners use to manage alewife populations and catch… explain the trap and truck

process, who is involved, what is accomplished, what are the drawbacks?

What is the significance of Alewives to the Passamaquoddy people, and importance of removing barriers,

on the St Croix river and elsewhere… what work/fisheries research on behalf of the Passamaquoddy Tribe

connects with the Downeast Fisheries Partnership and others

4. Relicensing

? What agencies have oversight of dams and what do they monitor?

? What specifically is the role of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and what is

the process they are using to consider a request to relicense the dam on the Union River for

electrical power generation?

? Besides the current owner, Brookfield Power, who else is involved in relicensing?

? What factors are likely to be considered in the relicensing process? (power generation, fish

passage, environmental impacts, property values on river and lakes?)

? What are some of the likely points of contention, around fish passage up and down the river,

around water levels in Graham Lake, etc.

5. Wrapping Up

? What is the process going forward and how can citizens learn more?

? What hopes do you have for what happens on and around the Union River as a result of the

relicensing process?


Dwayne Shaw, Downeast Salmon Federation

Morris Lambden, Union Salmon Association

Anne Hayden, Downeast Fisheries Partnership

Edward Basset, Sipayik Environmental Department Pleasant Point Reservation,

Alewives, eels, salmon, other species? (life cycles, etc.)

Passamaquoddy Tribe