CAMDEN — “A group of Camden residents has proposed to offer a ballot referendum to restore the Megunticook River at the town’s annual meeting on June 14,” a press release from group spokesman Tony Grassi states.

Grassi went before the Select Board Feb. 15 to update them on the effort. The group, called Restore Megunticook, must collect 331 signatures on its petition by March 15.

The proposed town meeting question reads: “As part of the restoration of the Megunticook River, do you favor the Select Board proceeding with activities such as seeking grant funding on behalf of the town to improve river water quality, reduce flood risk and facilitate fish passage at the outlet of the river, including the removal of the Montgomery Dam, to allow for a natural waterfall?”

“Last July, the board completed a feasibility study for restoring the river to its natural course from Camden Harbor to Lake Megunticook,” the press release states. “It intends to hire an expert consulting firm that will develop a detailed engineering proposal.”

Grassi is described in the release as “an internationally acclaimed environmental leader with decades of experience in watershed restoration.”

Grassi told the board that his group does not want the process derailed by what he called a special interest group that only is interested in one portion of the river.

Another group calling itself “Save the Dam Falls” has expressed strong opposition to any effort that involves removal of the Montgomery Dam, arguing it is historically significant and part of the scenic beauty that attracts visitors to Camden.

In the press release, Grassi said he is concerned that opponents are trying to shut off public discussion before it even begins.

Grassi argues restoration would mean expanded recreational activities along the river, increased tourism and better flood control. He said climate change will increase the risk of flooding. “It would also allow fish passage from the harbor to Megunticook Lake, which would significantly improve water quality throughout our region,” he said in the release.

Camden residents who want to sign the Restore Megunticook petition should contact the group at

Related Headlines