After consulting with fish-way engineering experts, we learned that the design SAPPI had put forward was faulty, based on inadequate technical studies and poor assumptions, leading to a high chance of failure. Equally distressing was that SAPPI was intending to transfer ownership to the City of Westbrook, and leave the city responsible for raising the funds required to build this flawed fish passage system. The citizens of Westbrook would then be forever responsible for trying to correct this environmental failure, and SAPPI would have been removed from all future legal responsibility. Furthermore, if the passage were to fail it would then negate the continued upstream restoration on four dams for which SAPPI is responsible under the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Licenses.
Through our relentless advocacy and countless meetings with SAPPI, the fisheries agencies and City of Westbrook, we have attempted to advance an alternative design and ownership structure that has a much better potential for success. We have done so through thoughtful, reasonable and scientifically grounded arguments. We have also listened and compromised. With the Little River much good habitat exists between Saccarappa and Mallison. It is critical to the rest of the river that Saccarappa is done right. Our effort is to come up with a settlement and design that would allow the best possible "safe, timely and effective fish passage”.
Much legal and scientific work was done. We have presented what we feel offers the best possible ecological restoration of the river AND holds multiple major benefits to SAPPI. We have and will continue to push for the best possible restoration of this river’s fishery. The pursuit of a settlement is in full swing and we should know by the end of summer if anything comes out of it.
As we move forward, member action and support will be critical. We will let you know what you can do as the time for action draws closer. Your donations for our scientific, legal and community actions are always necessary, and we will also need your voices. Please send us an email address so we can keep you updated throughout the process.
Newly released Presumpscot River Paddling Map.
With 9 dams in 26 miles between Sebago Lake and Casco Bay, the Presumpscot, unlike the Saco, is not an easy one for a long day of floating. However, the portages are worth it if you'd like to see Southern Maine's best kept paddling secret a mere 15-30 minutes from Portland. My favorite section is the Mallison Falls to Saccarrappa Dam section, which runs from South Windham to Westbrook through a pristine undeveloped stretch. A good guide for that section HERE
Much of the copy in the guide was pulled from the 1994 'Presumpscot River Watch Guide to the Presumpscot River', written by Amy MacDonald, Brian Butler and Chris Ricardi. For more information about the guide, contact Casco Bay Estuary Partnership at (207) 780-4820| or email firstname.lastname@example.org