To the Editor:
The Leonard Lake Dam on the Union River in Ellsworth Maine must be removed.
We in Bar Harbor who enjoyed the rush of electricity to all of Mount Desert Island since 1908, when the dam’s builders, the Bar Harbor and Union River Electric Co. closed the gates. That blocked returning fish. Then they turned on the turbines, killing thousands of outgoing fish. We bear a special responsibility for this ecological disaster.
We have choked off the fish and eels trying to return to their breeding and raising ground in the Union River Watershed. Endangered Atlantic salmon used to call this river home. Those fish and eels trying to make it back to the ocean are sliced and diced in the turbines. The current 29-40 percent viability rate is a disaster.
There is a better way to make electricity and a much better way to support the populations of alewives, shad, blue-black herring, short-nosed sturgeon, smelt, Atlantic salmon and eels. We are fish people who rely on catching and eating fish and seafood such as salmon, cod, haddock and lobsters, that many of the river’s species are bait and food for.
Stop the fish kill. Be a protector of the future.