Remarks by NRCM Executive Director Brownie Carson
Good morning and welcome to the 10th anniversary celebration of the removal of the Edwards Dam.
Ten years ago, many of us who are here today stood on the opposite bank of the Kennebec to witness the beginning of a new chapter for this great river.
On that day, July 1st, 1999, I joined with then Governor Angus King, then Secretary of Interior Bruce Babbitt, and others, and we rang a bell which signaled to the backhoe waiting on this shore to make the final scoop that would unleash the river.
Then we stood in awe as the Kennebec surged through that initial opening in a dam that had blocked upstream fish passage for more than 170 years.
Today we stand in awe again at the revival of the Kennebec that has marked the past 10 years.
We stand in awe at the improved water quality and the millions of fish that have returned to long-lost spawning habitat.
We stand in awe of a river that provides food and breeding habitat that is so important for healthy populations of bald eagles and osprey.
And we stand in awe at the power of nature to repair a river if given a chance to do so.
Those of us who worked for more than a decade to achieve the decision requiring decommissioning of the Edwards Dam knew that the Kennebec would rebound.
And, hallelujah, has it ever.
On this day, I extend my heartfelt thanks to everyone who played a part in achieving the removal of the Edwards Dam. This new chapter for the river could never have been written without you.
Our collective efforts and shared vision resulted in a river reborn.
I would now like to recognize some additional individuals who have important perspectives on this anniversary occasion.