For nearly 50-years I have lived on the banks of the Royal River in New Gloucester. That is a short time compared to the 345-years that dams in Yarmouth have leached the river’s life blood by blocking sea run fish. Since the early 1970s, the town of Yarmouth has owned two non-power generating dams. While probably 99 percent of Yarmouth residents support improving the environment and dam removal, the Town Council is in the pocket of the three marina owners who are blocking dam removal due to their unfounded concerns about sediment behind the upper dam.

Since water has been on earth, rivers have moved mountains to the sea. The two small dams do not prevent sediment transport to the marinas. Every major storm flushes sediment from behind the dams to the estuary.
If alewives could return to the river, mussels that depend upon alewives for their life cycle would return. There is sufficient mussel habit that the entire average river flow could be filtered by mussels capturing sediment and nutrients.

The river is the property of Mainers not Yarmouth. The estimated annual economic loss due to the dams from just the lost bait harvest $60,000; elvers $400,000; and loss in freshwater recreational fishing trips at $1.1 million, alone total about $1.6 million.

It is decades past when Yarmouth could plead ignorance to the damage their dams are doing. It is now negligent. With the fishing being so poor in the Royal, it’s time for the injured parties to be made whole by fishing for a class action lawsuit lawyer to sue the Town of Yarmouth for annual compensation payments.

If you must go to the Clam Festival, ask for the fried leaches. They are much more prevalent in Yarmouth than clams.

Carl Wilcox

New Goucester

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