I never get enough of being on the water, especially on Maine’s wonderful inland rivers and lakes. Each year, I make a point of paddling a few new water bodies. Last spring, I canoed a section of the Sandy River when the waters were still running high. On a warm day in early October, I canoed the Kennebec River from Solon to Madison. In August, I paddled a more familiar section of the Kennebec from Sidney to Augusta with lots of NRCM members and friends.
The Kennebec River is such a gem. The NRCM family helped to restore the lower section to some of its natural glory 20 years ago by spearheading the removal of the Edwards Dam in Augusta. There is much more we need to do so that sea-run fish can get to their ancestral spawning habitat farther upstream. Whether you are a paddler like me, an angler, a whitewater rafter, a craft brewer, or you are fortunate enough to have a house on one of Maine’s thousands of lakes and ponds, you know how important Maine’s water quality is. We are proud that our work on two initiatives last legislative session will help improve Maine’s waters. The Legislature strengthened water quality protections for 400 miles of rivers and streams, including dramatically increasing protections in the upper Penobscot River. We also worked alongside Maine tribes on a bill requiring much stronger water quality protections against toxic pollution in tribal waters. That bill passed, too, and, over the long term, will help Maine tribes exercise their sustenance fishing rights. In fact, these are now the strongest protections against toxic pollutants for tribal waters in the country.
Thank you for being an active part of protecting the waters and woodlands of Maine. NRCM is here today, celebrating 60 years of success, because you and thousands of Maine people stand with us every day. We have launched the Protecting the Nature of Maine Campaign to help ensure that NRCM is here for decades to come, bringing people together to stand up for the environment, because threats to this special place will keep coming. The Campaign will also help us reach out to more Maine people, particularly in rural areas, to listen to their concerns and get them involved in our work. Please consider joining more than 300 people who have already donated to or pledged their support. Let us know if you want to talk over our goals and plans.
Soon, Mainers will be ice fishing and skating.
—Lisa Pohlmann, NRCM CEO
Note: Blog originally printed in 2019 fall Maine Environment newsletter
Banner photo: Lisa Pohlmann paddles past the former site of the Edwards Dam on the Kennebec River in Augusta, 20 years after the dam was removed, during an NRCM 60th anniversary member paddle of the Kennebec River, co-hosted by the Penobscot Paddle and Chowder Society.