Written by Jen Finn
BANGOR, Maine — Two citizen conservation groups last week asked a federal judge to order the temporary shutdown of hydroelectric turbines that they say will threaten thousands of endangered Atlantic salmon when those fish try to migrate out of the Kennebec and Androscoggin rivers this spring.
According to a press release from the two groups — Environment Maine and Friends of Merrymeeting Bay — the organizations filed a motion on Thursday for a temporary injunction in U.S. District Court in an Endangered Species Act case against defendants NextEra Energy Resources LLC, FPL Energy Maine Hydro LLC, and affiliated companies.
At issue are turbines at the Weston Dam in Skowhegan, Shawmut Dam in Fairfield and Lockwood Dam in Waterville — all on the Kennebec River — and the Brunswick Dam on the Androscoggin River.
"It has been nearly four years since Atlantic salmon were listed [federally] as endangered and NextEra still has failed to take action to save these iconic fish," Emily Figdor, director of Environment Maine, said in the news release. "Time is running out to save the Atlantic salmon and we simply can't delay another season."
In June of 2009, the salmon in the Penobscot, Kennebec and Androscoggin rivers were listed as "endangered" under the federal Endangered Species Act.
The press release cites fisheries biologists that were consulted by the groups who say that this year's run is uniquely important to salmon recovery efforts.
Due to a rare large return of wild adult salmon in 2011, along with increased state stocking, this year's run of fish exiting the rivers is expected to be larger than normal — about 20,000 salmon smolts leaving the Kennebec and about 1,000 leaving the Androscoggin.
Read the full story at the Bangor Daily News>>
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