Environmentalists: Maine Dam Operator Not Protecting Salmon

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Environmental groups and a Native American tribe accused the operator of a Maine dam on Monday of not fulfilling its obligation to protect the country’s last remaining Atlantic salmon river run.

The last wild Atlantic salmon live in a group of rivers in Maine and have been listed under the Endangered Species Act since 2000. The Penobscot River, a 109-mile (175-kilometer) river in the eastern part of the state is one of the most important habitats for the fish.

The Penobscot is also the site of the Milford Dam, which is owned by renewable energy giant Brookfield Renewable. The company is required under the Endangered Species Act to maintain fish passages that allow 95% of adult salmon to pass the dam within 48 hours.

According to the Natural Resources Council of Maine, Atlantic Salmon Federation and Penobscot Indian Nation, documents obtained using the Maine Freedom of Access Act show that Brookfield isn’t living up to that obligation and that data compiled by the Maine Department of Marine Resources last fall show that only about 21% of salmon pass the dam in the required timeframe.

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