Former Camden Select Board member Mark Ratner recently wrote to the Camden Herald [Dec. 15] about the need to study potential flooding of the Megunticook River during future major storms caused by climate change. He said that he seems to be the only person in Camden who’s concerned about this issue.

He may also be the only person in Camden who doesn’t understand that “restoring the river” also means protecting the town from flood damage. The risk of damage could be exacerbated by relic dams, as pointed out by Select Board member Alison McKellar and by the citizens’ group Restore Megunticook on numerous occasions in this paper. And federal grant funding recently received by the town of Camden is intended for final design and permitting for “flood risk reduction and habitat restoration throughout the Megunticook River.” Over the past 30 years, more than 45 dams have been removed from Maine rivers to mitigate flood risk, restore the river ecology and fish migrations. This is not a new idea.

Fortunately, the Select Board recently created a Community Advisory Committee to look at all river restoration issues in depth. It will also listen to community concerns and make recommendations about how best to protect all of us from flood risk and make our river healthy again based on best available science.

A member of this Committee, Courtney Cease, interviewed Camden resident Parker Gossett on April 21, 2022, for this paper. Gossett, the climate resiliency coordinator for the University of Maine’s Sea Grant Program, explained it this way: Expanding adjacent green spaces and removing dams can alleviate pressure throughout the stormwater system by increasing the land’s ability to absorb heavy rains. Such measures become increasingly important as heavy rains become more frequent.

Restore Megunticook looks forward to the potential of a restored river and its benefits to all of us who love Camden. Don’t worry Mr. Ratner, you’re not alone.

Susan Reider and Barbara Ohland
Restore Megunticook