In July 2005, Messalonskee Stream in downtown Waterville, Maine was scheduled to be re-dammed and killed by Synergics, LLC of Annapolis, Maryland. The Maine Dept. of Environmental Protection fully approved of the destruction. The cement mixers and bulldozers were all ready to go. But it never happened. The reason it never happened is because Friends of the Kennebec Salmon appealed the state permits for the stream's destruction in June 2005. After our appeal was denied on November 3, 2005 we filed suit in Kennebec County Superior Court on Nov. 29, 2005. Our pleadings were filed before the Court on Feb. 6, 2006.

Defending the life of Messalonskee Stream is a volunteer organization with no legal training and no legal assistance. Arguing for the death of Messalonskee Stream is the State of Maine and Pierce Atwood, the largest and richest law firm in Maine. Who is going to win? Messalonskee Stream, obviously. When you have a beautiful, living stream and strong laws on your side, you cannot lose. Friends of the Kennebec Salmon have offered the dam owner, Synergics, a win-win redevelopment proposal that will let them build a green hydro facility at the Union Gas dam site that will not harm fish. Synergics has rejected the proposal. The State of Maine has rejected our proposal. Not because it would not work, but because it would work. So to save its own life, Messalonskee Stream is now taking the State of Maine and Synergics, LLC to Court to force them to compromise. Friends of the Kennebec Salmon is proud to be legal counsel for Messalonskee Stream as the State of Maine attempts to send Messalonskee Stream to the electric chair. Messalonskee Stream is a wonderful client.

Even as the State of Maine argues in Maine Superior Court to kill Messalonskee Stream, the State will not publicize or take pride in its actions. Oh well. Messalonskee Stream is still alive and beautiful and waking to spring. Messalonskee does not know the State of Maine is trying right now to kill it. So the plants along Messalonskee are now sprouting, the birds are chirping and nesting, the muskrats, beaver, woodchucks, skunks, racoons are rustling about. Fawn deer are now kicking in the bellies of mother deer along the stream. All life is aligned in favor of Messalonskee Stream. The State of Maine is working feverishly right now to kill it. But the State of Maine is spending your tax dollars to kill it.

"What is due to Caesar, you better give it up to Caesar. What is due to I, you better give it up to I."
-- Jesus Christ as paraphrased by Peter Tosh.

Kennebec River Atlantic salmon, approx. 28 inches long. Photographed in downtown Augusta, July 2005.
If Kennebec salmon are transported in 2006 above the main-stem Kennebec dams they most likely will be
killed in dam turbines as they try to migrate back to the Atlantic Ocean after spawning.

Trucking and releasing fish above Waterville in 2006 will cause massive fish kills.
Read more ...

Mr. Ali Farka Toure -- 1939 - 2006.

Ali Farka Toure died March 6 of bone cancer at his home and birthplace alongside the Niger River in Niafunke, Mali. He was 67 years old. Mr. Toure received his middle name "Farka" -- meaning donkey -- from his parents who lost their first nine children in their infancy. His mother and father nicknamed him "Farka" because he was too stubborn to die. Over nearly 50 years, Mr. Toure created one of the most unique and lasting musical legacies of this century and inspired millions of people with his art and personal integrity. While a virtuoso musician with a guitar, the njarka (one-string violin), the njurkle (Malian lute), the Peul bamboo flute and his voice, Mr. Toure left Mali infrequently, preferring life as a father and farmer alongside the Niger River. He was fluent in seven languages and composed songs in each as the mood struck him. When he won a Grammy award in 1992 for his album "Talking Timbuktu, " Mr. Toure asked the award be mailed to him in Mali. He had no desire to travel to Los Angeles to pick it up. Asked in 1999 by his record label, World Circuit, to record a new album, Ali Farka Toure said he would do it only if the album was recorded in Niafunke. He did not want to leave unattended his family, farm, fields and animals. Since Niafunke has no electricity, gasoline generators and diesel fuel were hauled for hundreds of miles by ferry up the Niger River to power the sound board, microphone pre-amplifiers and Mr. Toure's signature Roland guitar amplifier and stereo chorus pedals.

In 2004, Mr. Toure was elected Mayor of the Niafunke region of Mali, which comprises 53 towns and an area three times as large as France. Ali Farka Toure expressed no desire for the "modern" world nor did he believe Niafunke was "backward" for not having electricity. A man impatient with fools, Mr. Toure stated Niafunke was fine just the way it is and he preferred to live in Niafunke just the way it is. Mr. Toure noted that Timbuktu, the nearest city to Niafunke, was legendary among westerners as being at the end of the world. This was incorrect, he said, since Timbuktu is the center of the world. It is the other places which form the Earth's outskirts. Ali Farka Toure was no Luddite. During the late 1950s and early 1960s, he was employed as a sound engineer at Radio Mali and learned the technical aspects of sound recording. The double record "Radio Mali" captures well this early part of his career and displays his already frightful mastery of the 6-string acoustic guitar and keening vocal accompaniment. Like an American singer and guitarist of a half century earlier -- Mr. Lemon Jefferson of Worthing, Texas -- Ali Farka Toure's playing and singing is so unique and deft it is practically uncopyable. Part prodigy and much the craftsman, Ali Farka Toure used technology to extend his music and make it sound as good as possible. His recorded output sets the bar for vibrant, intelligent arrangement and production in any genre.

Niger River, Mali. Ali Farka Toure recording the album "Niafunke" in 1999 in Niafunke, Mali.

The Niger River is a vast and wide braid of shifting channels and islands as it bends northward and then southward through the southern Sahara Desert and northern Mali. 2,400 miles long, it is the third longest river in Africa next to the Nile and Congo. Fed by monsoon rains from the south, the Niger swells enormously for a few months each year and shrinks dramatically in the dry season. The seasonal flooding cycle nourishes the land along the river, keeping it exceedingly fertile. The Niger is as wide as it is shallow, only deep enough for ferries to navigate for a few months a year. Just like the Mississippi River used to be. Just like the Nile River used to be. Within the shallow, ever-shifting sands and gravel of the Niger's channel and flood plain lies its enormous productivity. As the Mississippi was to Samuel Clemens, the Niger was to Ali Farka Toure. Unlike the Mississippi, the Niger River in Mali has yet to be turned into a monotonous, lifeless polluted ditch, friendly to deep-draft boats and toxic to everything else. The bounty and blessing of Western civilization and intelligence has yet to bless the Niger River in Mali, has yet to enslave it, destroy it and stamp out the sustenance it has effortlessly provided for millennia. At some soon date, the International Monetary Fund will realize a vast African river is still flowing freely and has not yet been yoked and chained into blind servitude. The poor people along the Niger in Mali lack electricity. Each night, as the sun goes down, they are forced to fish and plant and sleep in the dark. A vast hydroelectric dam must be built to harness the Niger River to comfort the people and modernize them. To do otherwise would be inhuman. They have no access to info-mercials. And so the vast dam shall be built by a very large American-European Corporation which pays off the local government to stifle and silence the local people who dare question the saintly benevolence of the shiny happy visitors who touch down occasionally in airplanes and complain about the heat. And verily the vast dam will flood out the homes and villages of all the people it is supposed to help. And verily the dam will flood and kill all the habitat of the fish the people fished for. And verily the dam will destroy all the fertile flood plain cropland the people have forever farmed. And verily the people will become so poor in their dislocation and loss of sustenance they will not be able to afford the hydro-electricity they never wanted or asked for. Yet despite the long transmission wires the poor people still cannot view re-runs of American game shows without selling their goat to pay the power bill. Their Djennes and Abu Simbels and Glen Canyons and Celilo Falls and Caratunk Falls not yet flooded and left as stagnant pools of lifeless silt, the people of Mali will feel cheated by such holy neglect. And seeing this patent injustice and having been well paid in hard currency by the World Bank, and putting the government of Mali in crushing debt for decades, the European-American Corporation shall loft the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch and further smite and dam the free-flowing Niger River of Mali so it never flows freely again, but instead behaves abjectly and subservient, as a prisoner and a wage-paying serf. And having so deemed through the BBC the humanitarian project a full success the Anglo-European Corporation shall pledge to repeat the Holy Feat on every other river and nation that satellite photos show have not yet been so improved.

Two children from Bamako, a riverfront town on the Niger River in Mali.

The civilization along the Niger in Mali is one of Earth's oldest. Unlike much of Africa, northern Mali was never colonized and subjugated by European nations and mercenaries. The West African slave trade did not touch it. Since the first wave of Muslim conquest in 1,000 A.D. most people in northern Mali have remained Muslim by choice with a strong tincture of older beliefs native to the region. Mr. Toure was a devout Muslim but embraced much of the older belief systems of the Sahel, that place at the southern edge of the Sahara. The lyrics to his songs are secular and wide-ranging in topic and tone. Many are exhortations to his neighbors to make Mali a stronger, more vibrant and a better place. There are no protest songs in Mr. Toure's repertoire. No songs of lament. No songs begging for deliverance. No songs in code. Not the slightest scent of cynicism. The simple reason, as Mr. Toure once explained, is that northern Mali and its people have not suffered the scars and degradation that would cause such music to arise. When asked about the musical parallels between some of his songs and those of John Lee Hooker and other southern USA black blues artists, Mr. Toure said: "He plays tunes whose roots he does not understand. It comes from Africa and particularly from Mali. It comes from history, from the land, nature, animals. It doesn't come from beer and whiskey." While understanding the roots of the anguish and desperation central to American blues music, Mr. Toure firmly stated such emotions were foreign to him, his country and his music. This perhaps was another reason why Ali Farka Toure preferred life in Niafunke over anywhere else. Americans seem to assume everyone else in the world would prefer to live here, if we let them. Ali Farka Toure expressed no interest.

The Niger River in Niamey, Niger without much needed infrastructure improvements.

The Kennebec River in Madison, Maine. August, 2004. The dam at Skowhegan 10 miles downriver was being repaired, the river was "drawn down" and was close to its natural state for one short week. No human being has seen the Kennebec River in its natural state here since the 1800s. Atlantic salmon and American shad used to jump here by the thousands. None have swam in these waters for 170 years. Dams stop them.

In the parched, searing heat of the southern Sahara, the Niger is a precious ribbon of life. The Niger River in Mali has yet to be destroyed and made barren. It surely will be destroyed -- once someone figures out how to make money from its destruction. The Niger River's delta along the Atlantic coast in Nigeria is a vast archipelago of mangrove swamps and wetlands, steamily fertile and teeming with life. During the last two decades the Niger River delta has become filthy and fouled by oil wells that provide the gasoline for our cars. The people who live in the Niger delta can no longer fish because of the oil that coats the waters. They receive virtually nothing from the sale of the oil. Shell Corporation owns the oil wells and causes the pollution.

Youths of the Niger River Delta -- 2005.
This is what children do when you pollute their home and rob them of any future.

Shell Corporation knows how to extract oil without causing pollution but chooses not to do so in the Niger River delta. Shell Corporation knows how to share oil wealth with those who own the land from where the oil comes -- but they choose not to do so. Shell knows well that poor people are no match for lawyers, lobbyists and naked 21st century greed. A Nigerian court has recently found Shell Corporation guilty of polluting the Niger Delta and ordered Shell to pay $1.5 billion to the Ijaw people of the Niger Delta in financial compensation for losses due to the pollution and to clean up the mess which has been made of the Niger delta. Shell Corporation refuses to pay a cent. Youths of the Ijaw people have begun seizing oil wells at gunpoint and telling Shell workers to get out of the delta until Shell pays its $1.5 billion fine, the pollution stops and the mess is cleaned up. These youths are labelled by the media as terrorists and thieves. Who is the terrorist? Who is the thief?

"How much lying to yourself are you actually capable of?"

-- Howard Roark in The Fountainhead, by Ayn Rand.

Ali Farka Toure's music is the foundation stone of our video montages documenting the rebirth of the Kennebec River since the Edwards Dam was removed in 1999. These montages have been seen in 16 countries, from China to Bangladesh to Wales to Australia. We here on the Kennebec are making history. We are showing what can happen when simple citizens take back their river and allow it to live again. No State of Maine agencies have ever expressed an interest in seeing our video. But, oddly, people in Turkey are very interested. Mr. Ali Farka Toure's songs "Goye Kur," "Yer Mali Gakoyo," "Hawe Dolo" and "Cinquante Six" are the keynote of our photographic depictions of Negwamkeag, Cushnoc Island, Bacon's Rips and Messalonskee Stream. These places are the core of the lower Kennebec River, a magical place that has been buried, polluted, flooded, killed and forgotten for 160 years. You will not find these pictures anywhere else. No one will show pictures of fish with their heads ripped off their bodies by dams. We do. What are you afraid of? Reality? Mr. Toure's music uniquely captures the experience of these places on the Kennebec River. His is a music of freedom, joy, surety, liberation and bedrock strength. Nothing in Ali Farka Toure's music speaks of surrender, lies, excuses, negation or self-immolation.

Baby native brook trout hatching from an unnamed spring brook in Raynham, Massachusetts, March 12, 2006.
This baby brook trout's life has yet to be improved by the magic of the free market.

There is no native music of the Kennebec River to capture the story of the lower Kennebec River. There is no native soundtrack for the River's death -- and none for its rebirth. For 160 years the people of the Kennebec have proven so adept at lying to themselves and their children we no longer notice. We have been lying to ourselves for so long the lies become fact. We don't even have myths of our Kennebec River. We have no stories. We have only shame and blankness. Our river is dead. We killed it. We can restore it. Instead of working to restore it, we lie to ourselves and our children that the destruction ever happened. We deny our own past. We deny our own future. A spiritually dead people have no problem with such questions. Are we of the Kennebec spiritually dead? When you go out to see the Kennebec in Augusta from Bath -- where it is alive -- you will be aspired to art. When you see sturgeon jumping you will see and hear art. When you go to the wastelands and fakeness of the Kennebec River from Waterville to the Forks, you will not feel art. You feel this vague sense of being cheated, of being lied to. That is natural. Above Waterville the Kennebec River is dead. Below Waterville the River is alive. Struggling but at least alive.

Kennebec River Atlantic salmon, approx. 28 inches long.
Photographed in downtown Augusta, July 2005.

It is not surprising no musicians, composers or writers have been inspired by the Kennebec River for the past 150 years. There has been nothing to be inspired about. There are no longer schools of leaping Atlantic salmon in the Kennebec River to inspire us to leap higher than we have before. No salmon leap 16 feet in the air at Caratunk Falls in Solon. There is only death, shame, apathy, bureaucracy and absence. Such does not inspire art. That is why the Kennebec River does not inspire art. As our river has died, we and our children have as well. During the past two years we have matched our images of the Kennebec River and its re-emerging life to music which matches the sufferings and hope of the River. The music of Ali Farka Toure, Bunny Wailer, Peter Tosh, Roger Waters, David Gilmour, John Osbourne and Adam Mazza has fit. Their songs -- songs of life, death, hope and betrayal -- fit the history of the Kennebec well. The history of the Kennebec River is extremely bitter -- lying about it will not change it. There is now hope the Kennebec will become healthy but talk will not make it so. If talk were Atlantic salmon you could walk across the Kennebec on their backs. Today we talk about Mr. Ali Farka Toure because he just died. Mr. Toure deeply touched our lives because he stood for something resolute and unbending. We are waiting for people who demand the Kennebec River should live as it used to. Where are you? Should the Kennebec River be allowed to live again? Do you care? Where do you stand? Are we so poor we cannot appreciate what is free? What is ours? Should the Kennebec River become a national park? We believe so. The Kennebec deserves it. Its salmon deserve it. Our children deserve it. We deserve it. Without music and art as a guide and vision, such thoughts are not even possible. This is why we praise the life of Mr. Ali Farka Toure and mourn his passing from Earth. Mr. Toure never saw the Kennebec River but in some ways captured its essence better than most of us who have spent our lives alongside it. For 160 years people who have lived along the Kennebec River thought their lives could be full and enriched even as the river beside them quietly suffered and died. They thought they could make poetry, art, letters, paintings and epistles to the betterment of Man even as the river outside their door suffocated in sewage, even as its fish gasped for breath in eddies of brown rotting scum, even as its salmon and alewives and shad pounded their heads into a bloody pulp trying to get past cold hard concrete dams stupidly built in the bed of their ancient home. Rivers can never be saved by science or scientists. Scientists are too often too meek to speak. Simple people save rivers. Artists save rivers. Writers save rivers. Musicians save rivers. People with voices save rivers. The human spirit saves rivers because rivers embody the human spirit. Dead rivers kill the human spirit. Our killing of the Kennebec has killed the human spirit of those who live alongside it. When the Kennebec breathes, we breathe. When the Kennebec dies, we die. When the Kennebec comes back to life, we come back to life. We can't help it. Life is a line which points in one direction -- towards greater life. We can sit on a rock along the Kennebec River and explain to our children why salmon jump or we can explain to them why there are no salmon jumping.

"Too much talk. That does not build the fatherland.
Too much wandering. That does build the fatherland.
Beware! Lying down on your back.
That does not build the fatherland."

-- Ali Farka Toure

Now wasn't that rather negative? Yes, but no. The Kennebec River is today more healthy than it was 50 years ago; and much healthier than it was just 5 years ago. The Kennebec River is coming back to life. People are coming back to the river. The Kennebec's people are coming back to life. New memories that will last a lifetime are now being made on the Kennebec River. Children are now swimming in the river, canoeing the river and watching sturgeon jump. Children now possess indelible memories of a healthy river that children have not had for more than a century. This is a victory. This is real. This is truly worth celebrating. Think of the Kennebec River and its people today like a stroke victim. The first good news is that the stroke was not fatal. The second good news is that the doctor says it is quite probable we will be able to move our paralyzed limbs again, that we will regain our ability to talk, to move our hands, to play a musical instrument, to hold a baby. That is the good news. But the doctor also tells us these abilities will only come back if we work diligently to bring them back -- progress is dependent on how hard we work to make the progress happen. If we stop our physical therapy -- if we stop trying -- our progress will stop in its tracks. Our progress will stop at the place we have stopped trying. It is not easy, the Doctor cautions, but it is eminently possible. It has been achieved many times before. He mentions the Cuyahoga. We do not profess to have all the answers. We do not profess to possess superior intellect or wisdom. We only know that the alternative to trying is much worse trying. We have lived with the alternative for 100 years. The alternative produced a dead, lifeless river and thwarted human dreams and ambitions. Even such simple expectations as a river clean enough for fish and to swim in without fear of disease is not allowed by the alternative. A friend of ours, who was born in 1972, grew up along the Androscoggin River in Rumford, Maine. He calls the Androscoggin "Shit River." He will not go near it or let his son go near it. This is the psychological damage that pollution causes in children and is passed to the next generation. It is time to stop this damage from occurring ever again. We can do it. But it requires work. The work is not easy. Unfortunately, even in 2006 there is lots of money to be made in keeping the Kennebec River dead. So long as there is money to be made keeping the Kennebec River dead, people working for law firms, corporations and the State of Maine will accept financial compensation for defending practices that keep the Kennebec River dead. These people will accept this financial compensation and carry out the tasks necessary to receive this compensation even though these tasks prevent their own children from ever enjoying and seeing a living Kennebec River. For this reason alone, very intelligent, college educated women and men with children and houses feel compelled to defend fish kills and pollution on the Kennebec River so as to receive financial compensation so they can own a house and clothe, feed and educate their children. We feel no animosity to these people. These people adhere, in exchange for financial compensation, to the ideology of the zero-sum game. The zero-sum game is what fuels racism, a false and empty ideology. The ideology of racism holds that any increase in the dignity, self-respect and hope of one group of people requires another group of people to surrender their dignity, self-respect and hope. It is a discredited and false ideology. The ideology that the Kennebec River must stay dead so that people of the Kennebec River can clothe, feed and educate their children has also been discredited as false and life-deadening. The Kennebec River today is free of raw sewage and pollution. Its waters today exude life, not the aroma of decay and death. No living person today weeps and mourns for when the Kennebec River used to be dead. A small financial and physical adjustment is all that is required to allow the Kennebec River to come fully back to life. This financial adjustment is far smaller than the $100 million or more spent over since 1970 to build sewage treatment plants along the river. As former Maine Governor Angus King said, this is an investment where nobody loses. As former Maine Governor John McKernan decided, the benefit of restoring a large swath of the Kennebec River by removing the defunct, timber-crib Edwards Dam in Augusta vastly outweighed any benefit the dam provided to the people of the Kennebec River. Today, almost seven years after the removal of the dam, the people of the Kennebec and Augusta, Maine barely recall the dam's once perennial and perpetual presence. Nobody laments its passing. Were it not for a number of pragmatist visionaries extending over a century, the Edwards Dam would still be lodged in the bed of the Kennebec River, killing the river, like a painful abcess from the point of a thorn stuck deep in paw pad of a dog. Pragmatist visionaries of today realize the Kennebec River and its tributaries must be allowed to live again because no logical reason exists for them to stay dead. Dams on the river, most built 80 to 100 years ago, only exist because they generate dollar revenue for bulbous multi-national corporations. These dams can be reconfigured, using 21st technology and science, to nearly eliminate their negative affects on the river they occupy. In some instances, such as the Edwards Dam and the Fort Halifax Dam at the mouth of the Sebasticook River in Winslow, the most logical and scientific mitigation solution is to remove them from their respective rivers. What remains unspoken is the fact that none of the dams which exist today on the Kennebec River could ever be built today because of the damage they cause to the river they occupy. These dams were built well before people and laws understood their profound, negative impact. Their impacts were not even examined and studied. They are artifacts from a bygone era when citizens were deprived their legal rights to preserve their own property -- their own rivers. Yet the dams still physically stand. There is a curious blank in the legal and cultural history of the Kennebec River from the 1860s to the 1970s. This blank occupied over a century, more than half the entire history of the State of Maine. During these 110 years, virtually nothing was written about the Kennebec River, or of how people used and related to the great river alongside them and their towns During this period, the river became dead from dams and pollution. There was not much to write about. During the 1820s every child along the Kennebec River knew what an alewife, salmon, shad and sturgeon was, when they appeared in the river, how big they got. By the 1980s and even today, few children growing up along the Kennebec River know what an alewife, shad, salmon or sturgeon is. They don't even know what these words mean, nor do their parents. They do not know these English words refer to animals which used to be exceedingly common in their river, that fed their families, and whose leaping antics in the Kennebec River used to be a common wonderment and spectacle for the eyes and ears children of the Kennebec. 100 years of no history is a long time, enough to completely erase memories and family tradition. Imagine if a child had never seen a bird before and could not believe an animal could fly. That is what has happened to the people of the Kennebec River. We are now at a point and date -- 2006 -- when no child of the Kennebec River has even seen an Atlantic salmon jump in the Kennebec River. No child sees them because they are virtually gone from the river from Augusta to the sea. No child above Waterville has seen a leaping Atlantic salmon in the Kennebec River since before 1837. This raises a question of intellect and community pride. Why have we sunken so low? Why have we settled and surrendered for so little? Have we of Maine dropped all pretense of being an intellectual and forward-looking community of human beings? Have we sunk so low that we now lie to our children that Atlantic salmon even swam and leaped in our Kennebec River for fear they may ask what happened to the salmon? Do we, as adults, aspire to anything? Are we a culture of the defeated, the demoralized, the narrowed? Do we pass this vision of no future to our own children? Is it right to imbue our own children with our negativity, abandonment of vision and quiet hopelessness? Can't we adults at least dream and work toward a better future for the sake of our children and their dreams and aspirations? Stevie Wonder wrote, "My love lives outside my window." He is blind. We are not blind. We can actually see the Kennebec River. Is it too much to ask that we adults work to restore the Kennebec to its grandeur so our children might see it more healthy than it was when we were their age? Is that too much to ask of us?

Some recent news, a blatant plea for money and a picture of a tiny flower.

1. On February 6th, Friends of the Kennebec Salmon filed its 65-page pleading in Kennebec County Superior Court to stop the destruction of Messalonskee Stream by a proposed new dam. Our lawsuit is against the Maine Dept. of Environmental Protection which issued the permit allowing the new dam to be constructed. The State of Maine has said that fish kills are legal in Maine so there's no problem with permitting a dam that will cause large, annual fish kills and destroy one mile of very good Atlantic salmon habitat. Apparently, the State of Maine is determined to bring our rivers back to where they were in the 1950s ... dead. The State of Maine has 30 days to file with the court a response to our pleading. We will publish it here when it arrives.

2. On January 19th 2006, the Maine Board of Environmental Protection voted 6-3 to schedule a public adjudicatory hearing to require immediate safe downstream passage for fish on the Kennebec River at four dams below Madison, Maine. The hearing request came from individual citizens, including FKS members, and the organization Friends of Merrymeeting Bay. Due to a loophole in the 1998 agreement which secured the removal of the Edwards Dam at the Kennebec River's head of tide in Augusta, Maine there are no requirements for safe downstream passage for any fish at the Kennebec River's first four dams. This lack of safe passage is now causing annual fish kills of eels, alewives, American shad and Atlantic salmon. These kills will increase greatly in spring 2006 when fish are planned to be moved by aerated tank truck above the lowermost of these dams. Restoring the Kennebec River's alewives, shad, salmon and eels cannot occur if the same fish are being chopped up in dam turbines as they swim to the ocean. But that is the way it is now. The Maine Department of Environmental Protection, keeping with its position that fish kills are legal, adamantly opposes effort to stop these fish kills in 2006.

3. The Kennebec River is actually two rivers, since the Kennebec and the Androscoggin River share the same freshwater estuary, Merrymeeting Bay, and the same outlet to the Atlantic Ocean at Popham Beach. Individual citizens and Friends of Merrymeeting Bay have petitioned the State of Maine to require Androscoggin River dam owners to provide safe and convenient passage for American eels -- just as many of the same dam owners have begun doing on the Kennebec River. On February 2, 2006 the Maine Board of Environmental Protection voted 4-2 to deny this petition, once again holding that severe, annual fish kills at dams are legal in Maine. The Maine Department of Attorney General says we cannot be appeal this decision to the Maine Superior Court. Only the Maine Supreme Court and the Maine Legislature are delegated the authority under Maine's Constitution to make this decision. We are testing the Maine Attorney General's opinion by filing a lawsuit against the State of Maine in Kennebec County Superior Court. The lawsuit was filed Feb. 21 at 3:54 p.m.

4. 2006 marks the first year in the history of Friends of the Kennebec Salmon that we have filed lawsuits against the State of Maine to protect Atlantic salmon and other native fish of the Kennebec River. These lawsuits are not cheap to launch, write and file. Kennebec County Superior Court requires a check for $120 to file one. Printing them out costs a $25 ink jet cartridge. Registered mail for service costs $5 per recipient. So if you have $10 lying around and can send it to us it would make a huge difference in our ability to work on behalf of restoring the Kennebec River. Right now volunteer labor and the donations of about 4 people is what is fueling this entire restoration and defense enterprise. Our little organization was founded in 1997 and has always been little -- sort of like a shrew. But we do make up for our small size by doing lots of research and closely hewing to our mission to make the Kennebec River once again a place where its native Atlantic salmon, alewives, eels, shad, stripers, sturgeon, sea lamprey and tomcod and people are at home. Filing lawsuits against the State of Maine is not something we want to do. But we are proud to do it. If the State of Maine says that the outright killing of the tiny number of native Kennebec river salmon, alewives and shad and eels at dams on the river is 100 percent legal, then we are proud to fight this decision in court. The Kennebec River and its fish have been through far too much trauma and death and hopelessness for 160 years for us now to do otherwise. Even as we inform you of not-so-good news, we do it only because we see every day all the good news. The Kennebec is coming back to life. But we would be lying to you if we said it's now time to lie back and relax and assume everything from now on will work out perfectly. It won't. Every victory has been hard fought and has to be defended 24-7. We want you to be part of it because it feels good very deep inside to fight for the right thing and win. The River speaks for itself. Help us make sure its voice gets louder and stronger like a snapping twig when you're in your sleeping bag. If you don't have $10 to give please write a letter to the Kennebec Journal or the Waterville Morning Sentinel that just says what the river means to you. Thanks.

Friends of Kennebec Salmon v. State of Maine
Friends of the Kennebec Salmon celebrates 2006 by having to file a lawsuit in Kennebec County Superior Court to stop the State of Maine from allowing an annual slaughter of pregnant, female American eels for the next 20 years on Messalonskee Stream. It is gratifying to see that in 2006 Maine citizens are forced to file lawsuits against their own State to stop fish from being slaughtered in their backyard. So be it. The eels will not die. Our lawsuit, filed 6 February 2006 is Here ...

On October 16, Mr. Clemon Fay died. Mr. Fay was the most insightful and most caring person who has ever fought for all of the life that dwells -- and used to dwell -- in Maine's rivers. Clem Fay saw the future by looking squarely at the past. In our degraded times the deep past is our only window to the future. The present is a short moment to get there. Clem's moment was far too short. We know that every generation, children will be born like Clem Fay. They will be gifted with insatiable curiosity about the world around them. They will ponder dragonflies before they can speak. They will wonder why nobody hears them. Millions of alewives running up the Penobscot each spring, flowing over the rocks like silver. Clem Fay worked his life for this, never saw this and now he will never see it.

Here ...

Top Ten Reasons it is Wrong to Kill American Eels in Dams.

Here ...

United States has 5 months to decide if American eels are going extinct.

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FKS Appeals Destruction of Messalonskee Stream.

Here ...

The Maine Department of Environmental Protection sentences Messalonskee Stream to death.

Here ...

Thoughts on this from Pakistan.

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Blueback herring spawn in Messalonskee Stream.
Look ...



Why Not Visited Yet
Special Report ...

Why do adult salmon and baby alewives like to leap?
Here ...

A Glimpse Back to the Good Old Days.
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Where do the Kennebec Atlantic Salmon hide?
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Thoughts While Watching A Sandpiper
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Kennebec Sea Lampreys give medical hope for paralyzed people.
Read about it ...

Citizens petition to list the American Eel as endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.
Read the Petition ...

State of Maine says Sebasticook Eel Slaughter is LEGAL
The Killing Continues ... More ...

Why This Senseless Slaughter Continues ...
Here ...

More on the Plight of the American Eel ...
Here ...

Native sea lamprey return to spawn in the Kennebec.
Look ...

Kennebec Desecrated at Five Mile Island
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Thousands of Alewives and Bluebacks Stopped by Dam at Ticonic Falls.
Look ...

The American Eel -- An Endangered Species

Merrymeeting Bay is the nursery of the Kennebec River.
Support the Friends of Merrymeeting Bay

ATLANTIC STURGEON CELEBRATE !!! ... See them jump !!!



WELCOME TO MAINE: ALEWIVES NEED NOT APPLY ... Good information for you.




Friends of the Kennebec Salmon is a non-profit group of volunteers dedicated to restoring wild Atlantic salmon to their native home in Maine's Kennebec River.



FKS comments on National Academy of Sciences report as it regards Kennebec River wild Atlantic salmon.

Help this chopped-up American Eel !!! Visit the website of MAINE RIVERS !!!

To explore the restored Kennebec River you need a MAP. Here's ours.

The Kennebec River from Augusta to Waterville is one of the most undiscovered rivers in the world.

To decide for yourself, be a 21st century pioneer and take a trip on the river.

Or, look below at what you will see. Click here for our short diary of observations in late June, "Three Days on a River Nobody Alive Has Ever Seen."

1. Bacon's Rips at sunset, June 17, 2000.

2. Thunderstorm coming, Five Mile Island, June 17, 2000.

3. Downpour from beneath the river bank, Five Mile Island, June 17, 2000.

4. Unnamed Rips below Six Mile Falls, June 9, 2000.

5. Seven Mile Stream at 200 year old wooden dam, June 17, 2000.

6. Seven Mile Stream, wild Atlantic salmon habitat, June 17, 2000.

7. Bedrock gorge at Fisher Brook, Augusta, June 15, 2000.

8. Buttercup below Six Mile Falls, Vassalboro, June 9, 2000.

9. Huge Sand Beach, Five Mile Island, Sidney, June 17, 2000.

10. Striper Fishing at Ticonic Falls, Waterville, June 2, 2000.

11. Baby striper at Six Mile Falls, Sidney, June 18, 2000.

12. Heading to Coon's Rips, Augusta, June 21, 2000.

13. Stoneflies Mean Clean Water, Six Mile Falls, June 18, 2000.

The Kennebec River has a very large run of NATIVE SEA LAMPREYS. Click here to learn how Friends of the Kennebec Salmon is helping the Kennebec's sea lamprey after decades of scorn, superstition and abuse. Click here for lots of links about our native sea lamprey.

Need a field guide to all the different native fish species of the Kennebec River? Here it is.

Take a photo tour of the wild Atlantic salmon homes of the Kennebec River ...

Bond Brook, Augusta

Togus Stream, Randolph

The NEW restored Kennebec River

Cobbosseecontee Stream, Gardiner

Messalonskee Stream, Waterville

We can be reached at PO BOX 2473, AUGUSTA, ME 04338.
Donations are always accepted ($10 suggested).
Checks payable to Friends of the Kennebec Salmon. Send your questions, comments and suggestion to

Friends of the Kennebec Salmon Link Index.

Some folks care very deeply about the future of this baby wild Atlantic salmon from the Kennebec River. Their sites are below.

www.glooskapandthefrog These folks are long-time friends of the Kennebec River's Atlantic salmon.

The Atlantic Salmon Federation.
They helped remove the Edwards Dam, so please give them money.

Trout Unlimited.
They helped remove the Edwards Dam, so please give them money.

The Natural Resources Council of Maine.
They helped remove the Edwards Dam, so please give them money.

American Rivers.
They helped remove the Edwards Dam, so please give them money.

Saco Salmon Club
Volunteers working hard to restore one of North America's finest Atlantic salmon rivers, the Saco.

Friends of Sebago Lake
Volunteers working hard to restore the health of Sebago Lake and its native sea-run and lake dwelling Atlantic salmon.

Friends of the Presumpscot River
Volunteers working hard to clean up and restore the most brutalized Atlantic salmon river in the United States, the Presumpscot.

More about restoring rivers by retiring old dams.
See the site of River Alliance of Wisconsin.

Check out a great new Maine conservation news site from the Maine Environmental Policy Institute.