It is too bad that the summer river flows in the Androscoggin are so restricted now in the late spring and summer because of a mindset to limit natural summer fluctuations in storage ponds and watershed lakes for recreational purposes. I would guess that there is a flow volume change from summer to winter in each of Maine's larger rivers equal to one Lake Tahoe sixteen feet deep. That is a lot of water in a few months that could oxygenate the river and the estuary and support the migrational cues of atlantic salmon, shad, and alewives. It would also make the river and canals more pleasant and attractive to be around. It would also be more hydropower efficient.
This is an important start to resurrecting the fishery in the Gulf of Maine. The article does not mention how corrupted the natural flows of the Kennebec River watershed are. Timing and amounts of flow volume has been greatly changed over the last 40 years. Storage lakes at the headwaters and ponds feeding the Kennebec are now keep full all spring, summer, and into late fall. Many ponds are not drawn down at all like they historically were. China Lake is a good example. This change in flows upsets migrational cues among other impacts. It is very easy to screen off turbines so the young salmon do not become minced by the blades and build working fishways. We need leadership in Augusta who want to restore a once great industry.
There is a good WQC story also on Sebago Lake also.
DEP delayed Water Quality Certification for 8 years for Eel Weir Dam controlling Sebago Lake. Then in 2011 DEP finally issues a WQC for Sebago Lake and much of it is about having lake levels and outflows closer to the historic pre 1982 management. The DEP plan since 1997 has greatly harmed Sebago Lake shorelines, water quality and caused proliferation of milfoil. Dana Murch produced a detailed 50 page plus WQC in the last days of his tenure . DEP earlier in 2011 was threatened with legal action if they didn't file WQC and SAPPI finally had someone in charge who recognized they were losing millions in power production with the present plan. A SAPPI modified by DEP plan was produced which Friends of Sebago Lake (DEP's main critic) conditionally supported. It has been over 90 days since an appeal by a marina owner before the BEP was filed and a lawsuit before Superior Court by an Augusta resident vs the DEP water quality Certification. Probably, the reason no action has been taken by the State court or BEP is because no one now on the payroll understands anything that has occurred for the last 25 years on Sebago or understands the Clean Water and the Great Ponds Acts. It should be interesting.
About 30 to 40 years ago the lake associations and other interests pushed the State to change how lakes were regulated. Instead of using available storage of dammed lakes, which applies to most of the lakes in Maine, lake levels are now kept high in the summer and fall. Drawdowns now are also often reduced in the winter to guarantee spring refill to full pond.
There is significant less storage capacity in many river watersheds since lakes are always kept near flood stage in the spring, summer, and fall. The potential for a disaster is increased. This present lake regulation policy which increases stress on dams is not wise especially since the dams are not inspected. The present regulation policy is also very harmful to lake, river , and coastal ecosystems. The former policies provided levels and flows that mimicked the natural flow cycle.
The Sun Journal should do a story how Industrial Arts and Home Economics
have been steadily eliminated from public school curriculums. You will find that certain Superintendents have been notorious for axing these programs as they move from district to district. First they cut the funding for materials, equipment, and maintenance then they kill the program. Instead of year long programs in younger grades, they are "exploratory" of a few weeks duration. The former goal was that each kid would have at least one industrial job skill when they graduated from high school is gone. The high school vocational centers and community colleges only reach a small percentage of the population. The State university opted out of providing industrial arts teching degree full programs because of the community college and vocational center focus. The teachers would come from industry instead. The army when they had a draft supported industrial arts programs because they needed trained soldiers . Now they do not care because they can can pick the cream of the crop.
If every school child in Maine could be taught how millions of salmon would once migrate up Maine's formerly passable rivers and live and reproduce in its inland waters and complete their journey to the ocean every year and how this along with billions of other fish accompanying them was the pulse of life for the ecosystem then we would not have a citizenry so ignorant about how they are being robbed of a great fishery resource. These dam companies are willing to spend more money on lawyers than they are on salmon ladders. Restored fisheries would help our Maine economy, only, as usual, we have the best "environmental attorneys" from Portland willing to prostitute their souls to prevent Maine from having again one of the greatest fisheries in the world.
Are we spending taxpayer money to do the move? Take that money and put up some murals in the same location with Maine businesses on it from the mast trade, a sardine cannery, a maple syrup stand to a paper mill and Bath Ironworks. Have some middle school art teachers outline the murals and some more talented school kids could fill it in. They do this all the time for school plays. It might cost just a couple of thousand for materials and a stipend. It would probably look better than the content of the murals Lepage's advisers found offensive.
I work with young teenage boys. Also, being one myself once, I can tell you that legal fireworks are a bad idea. What type of fireworks are to be legalized; M-80's, Cherry Bombs ? Have you ever seen an eyeball blown out or half a thumb just hanging by the skin. This damage is for life.
It may be illegal for anyone under 21 to buy them but we know how successful that is with other substances.
The algae blooms in China Lake were caused by the abrupt change in lake level management back in the 1970's. The four to six foot lake level seasonal variation was ended and replaced with very constant higher lake levels. Lake wetlands ceased to filter nutrients entering the lake and safely sequester phosphorus in lake wetland bottom sediments. Shorelines underlain with marina clays began to erode with clay "fluidization" filling the lake waters with clay particle turbidity. The China Lake Syndrome is real but it is not the abrupt demise of a lake cause by road wash and roof runoff. True this soil runoff pollution must be addressed but more importantly the poor lake level management that is now common in Maine lakes needs to be corrected. I would surmise that Thompson Lake's water level management is highly unnatural and shoreline erosion is evident and lake wetlands are not healthy.