Restoring the Megunticook River would be good for Camden and the watershed

Letters submitted by BDN readers are verified by BDN Opinion page staff. Send your letters to [email protected]

In her May 14 letter in the Bangor Daily News about the Megunticook River, Jo Ann Simon denounces the possible destruction of an artificial dam as part of the river’s restoration. Simon states that “there is no proven history that the Megunticook has ever been a river used by migratory fish due to the granite ledge at its base that prevented the passage of fish,” and her letter references a feasibility report. The research actually says the opposite of what it claims.

It’s true: Montgomery Dam diverts water over a rock ledge, preventing fish from swimming upstream. What Simon doesn’t say is that this is not the historic path of the river. The same report cited shows that the river was diverted from its historic path – now buried under parts of Harbor Park. The same report points out that “the natural channel would have flowed down the more gently sloping approaches to the harbor that surround the bedrock.” It continues: “There is evidence to suggest that the condition of the river supported marine fish, including the ability of the fish to ascend from the harbor upstream through the watershed to the headwater lakes” and “there is evidence that an alewive historically existed .”

I respect the opinions of those who prefer a man-made structure and its waterfall over the restoration of a natural river system. And I believe a restored Megunticook River, along with a restored fish migration, would be an even greater asset to the city and the watershed.