Dam questions

Why does the town of Camden really want to destroy the historic Montgomery Dam and wonderful waterfall cascading into Camden Harbor?

How much would it cost to repair or rebuild the dam? How much will it cost to remove it? How much does it cost to maintain and service the dam each year? How much has the town spent on Montgomery Dam since taking ownership in 1992?

What is the town planning to do with the five other dams (Knox Mill, Knowlton Street, Seabright, East and West) on the Megunticook River? How much will it cost to build, and maintain, a fish passage all the way to Lake Megunticook?

Why does a survey being circulated by a researcher at College of the Atlantic refer to removal of all three lower dams on the river? Who owns the Knox Mill and Knowlton Street dams? Is there an agreement for the town to take possession of those dams? If those dams are removed, how much sediment and toxic chemicals will migrate into the harbor?

When will the citizens of Camden get to vote on this plan to destroy the Montgomery Dam and waterfall? And what happens when it’s voted down?

The citizens of Camden deserve answers to these questions so they can make an informed decision about the future of Montgomery Dam and our wonderful waterfall.

Ray Andresen
Camden

 

Poor fish, poor citizens 

Camden Select Board members are fixated on moving ahead immediately with plans to destroy the hardscape of the falls below the Montgomery Dam, for a $40,000 grant to establish a fishway.  Without the support of the Megunticook River and Camden Harbor communities, the Select Board feels entitled to move without that support.

A year or so ago I wrote and asked whether the board had considered the ramifications of such a change from the headwaters down to the harbor. Since then, I have not seen a report which addresses all the many issues on the river’s course.

Instead, there was published an incomprehensible drawing of what the water flow would be into the harbor when it would now be met by a proposal of Lyman Morse for additional mooring.

Poor fish, poor citizens!

Could the parties involved step back, pause and think clearly about the big picture? And explain it to the public?

Nancy Lloyd

Camden

Megunticook River restoration

I am writing on behalf of the Maine Chapter of Native Fish Coalition regarding the restoration of the Megunticook River, which travels through the town of Camden and empties into Camden Harbor.

Native Fish Coalition is a nonpartisan, grassroots, donor-funded, all volunteer, 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to the conservation, preservation, and restoration of wild native fish. Founded in Maine, we also have chapters in Alabama, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and West Virginia, with members, partners, volunteers, supporters, and followers.

Native fish have been documented in strong numbers below Montgomery Falls, but unfortunately upstream passage is blocked directly above the falls by Montgomery Dam. This includes river herring, American eels, and sea-run brook trout, a diadromous lifeform known as salters. While still found in Massachusetts and New York, most of the sea-run brook trout remaining in the United States are in Maine.

Unfortunately, salters have been greatly reduced in southern and midcoastal Maine due to dams and other factors. The health and long-term viability of the Megunticook River’s native fish depends on their ability to navigate between the ocean and fresh water that is free from obstacles such as dams, poorly designed or constructed culverts and road crossings, etc. In order to allow for unimpeded, natural passage of native fish upstream in the Megunticook River, six dams need to be addressed. There is a proposal to preserve the three upper dams, including the two at the outlet of Megunticook Lake, with the addition of fish passage mechanisms. Also proposed is the removal of the three lower dams, including Montgomery Dam just above Montgomery Falls, where the river cascades into the harbor. In addition to acting as barrier to passage for native fish, the presence of these dams alters the river flow, increases water temperatures, creates sediment buildup, and poses flood risks.

We trust that this information will help the residents of Camden make the decision to restore the Megunticook River, as the ecological recovery of an aquatic ecosystem is not complete without the restoration of its wild native fish species.

Sincerely,

Tom Johnson

Chair, Maine Chapter of Native Fish Coalition

CC: Maine NFC Board, National NFC Board

 

[Ed. note: the following letter is in response to letters in the Camden Herald, July 29, Aug. 12, and Aug. 19.]

CRT — a theory of study

I am responding to the discussion of Critical Race Theory (CRT) between Mr. Bailey and Mr. Wallace.

Despite what Mr. Wallace and many in the media portray, CRT is not a diversity and inclusion “training” program but an advanced academic framework for legal analysis, developed in the 1970s, that broadly examines the role of race and racism in society. According to the nonprofit “Education Week,” an independent source for topics about elementary and secondary education, CRT says that racism is part of everyday life, so people — white or nonwhite — who don’t intend to be racist can nevertheless make choices that fuel racism (edweek.org/leadership/what-is-critical-race-theory-and-why-is-it- under-attack/2021/05).

The crux of this discussion relates to the word “theory.” A theory is a hypothesis assumed for the sake of contemplative and rational investigation. As in any theory, including Einstein’s theory of relativity, we should objectively explore CRT as an academic study into what it posits and how it influences today’s society.

Mr. Wallace shows his bias when he categorizes CRT as “woke.” Like many labels, it carries little meaning but is pejorative and inflammatory and its use demonstrates intellectual lethargy. The idea that racism is limited to something that happened in the era of slavery ignores recent history and real-world realities. The well-documented and ongoing institutional bias against minorities encompasses voting rights, housing policy, education, police violence, criminal justice, highway planning, healthcare and hiring practices. One would think an education administrator would welcome the opportunity to analyze the impacts of these historical practices upon our modern society and explore methods to improve conditions for all Americans.

Simply said, our nation has a long history and continuing practice of bias and if we want to do right for the following generations, let’s be clear-eyed about our history as we educate our children.

Rich Tranfield

Camden

 

[Ed.note: Rockport resident, Doc Wallace, has known Curt Gilroy for over 20 years. Dr. Gilroy is a retired senior Defense official and recently shared his thoughts on the Afghanistan situation. He has given Doc permission to share his article with the news media.]

Afghanistan

As a former senior Department of Defense official who had oversight of all active duty recruiting and officer commissioning for over a decade, I am both saddened and outraged over how the current White House has handled the withdrawal from Afghanistan. As Director of Accession Policy in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, I bore some of the responsibility for sending America’s finest men and women — enlisted and officers — into harm’s way. For many years, I also served as the Defense Department’s spokesperson for our All-Volunteer Force. For nearly 50 years, this country has successfully and proudly recruited the best fighting force in the world. I am, quite honestly, very concerned about what message this pathetic withdrawal sends to our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines in the current active and reserve forces. How can we continue to ask young men and women to serve our nation in a world climate that questions our commitments and effectiveness? How can we justify the consequences of this disastrous and haphazard withdrawal to our veterans who served so bravely, and to the families of our wounded warriors and those who gave of their lives?

The question of whether to withdraw is not at issue. It is how we did it — with total ineptness. For the world to witness a scramble by the U.S. to withdraw is an embarrassment as well as a frightening fiasco. Did the president not listen to the senior military leadership? What did the intelligence community tell the president? What did the State Department say? Why did the military withdraw first, leaving 10,000 to 15,000 U.S. citizens in country? And the administration tells us they don’t know how many there really are! What about the 60,000 – 75,000 Afghanis who helped us all these years? Why does the president refuse to widen the perimeter beyond Hamid Karzai Airport as the British and French are doing to get their citizens out? Why hasn’t the president spoken with our allies? Why would the president now say that there is no national interest in Afghanistan? So many unanswered questions. What we do know is that the withdrawal has demonstrated absolute incompetence on the part of the Biden Administration. This debacle was so unnecessary.

So much damage has been done. For an administration allegedly committed to women’s issues and human rights, it is a total abandonment of the Afghan people who will now be subjected to the ruthless rule of the Taliban and Sharia law. It is an embarrassment to the U.S. internationally. It destroys much of the trust and commitment we have made with our allies. But most importantly, it is a national security failure of immense proportions as it now sets the stage for an entire country to be a training ground for terror activity and export. We are less safe now that at any time since 9/11.

Dr. Curtis Gilroy

Sarasota, Florida