AUGUSTA

Group: Removal of dams has led to more herring, eagles

Environmentalists say the removal of the Edwards Dam in Augusta and Fort Halifax Dam in Winslow has allowed river herring populations to prosper in the Kennebec River.

The Edwards Dam was removed July 1, 1999, and the Fort Halifax Dam on July 17, 2008. The Natural Resources Council of Maine said the number of alewives that have reached spawning habitats has surged since then. The group said the number was just over 500,000 in 2008 but has topped 2 million every year since 2011.

The group said the resurgent herring population has also allowed bald eagles to thrive. Maine state officials counted 58 bald eagles on June 6 along a five-mile stretch of the Sebasticook River leading from the Kennebec River to the Benton Falls fish lift.

Events during river festival continue through July 4

Maine’s annual celebration of the Kennebec River is entering into its final week with its signature family day.

The Great Kennebec River Whatever Family Festival started June 18 and concludes July 4. The event brings music, food and events to Augusta, Gardiner, Hallowell and Winthrop.

The festival began in 1978 to commemorate the cleanup of the Kennebec River. The event concludes with fireworks at Waterfront Park in Augusta on Friday.

A full schedule of events is available online at www.augustamaine.com/chamber–whatever.asp.

– From news service reports