Letters!

Kennebunk Post letter……….Posted May 26, 2017

In last week’s Post, Mr. Cook expressed dismay over how the Town has changed during his lifetime, and that not all the changes are positive. He implies that the tax rate might become so high that he, along with others, might have to decide if they can still afford to live here. Except for his reference to the Waterhouse Center which I feel was a very creative solution to a vacant parcel of land, I couldn’t agree more. The dubious decision to proceed with a $58 million expansion to the high school for what I understand is a declining student population and now a proposed $2.7 million for a state-of-the-art dump are the most recent examples of questionable priorities that will increase taxes. But his concern that higher taxes will result if we choose to keep our dams is not entirely accurate. To begin with, our hydro facilities have been paid for by the residents since the Town first decided to create hydroelectric generation for street lighting and to power the mills over a century and a half ago. In 1951 KLPD was established to operate and maintain these facilities on our behalf under the custodianship of the Board of Trustees. When properly managed and competently maintained, the three dams averaged nearly 2 million kilowatts/year and ran at approximately 70% efficiency—significantly offsetting our energy costs and dependence on power off the grid. Compare that to the 16% efficiency of solar installations like the one KLPD just contracted to purchase our power from in order to dispense with our hydropower generation.

In forfeiting its birthright, KLPD is throwing away the hydro facilities that residents have paid for, the savings that residents have benefited from, and that we as residents voted overwhelmingly last November to retain. In defiance of the wishes of their ratepayers to whom they claim to be accountable, KLPD voted last year to surrender their license in June 2016 and filed that intent with FERC in March 2017. Those of us who adamantly oppose this decision do so out of the conviction that in the long run, it will cost the Town considerably more money to remove the dams, forfeiting the savings they provide us, the possibility of millions being needed for bank remediation and rectification to drainage infrastructure after the river has been eradicated, the senseless destruction of a well established ecosystem (by environmentalists no less!), and the very negative impact on property values, recreation, and tourist dollars. Higher taxes may well be required to make up for all these losses—and all for a very foolish, ideological, and romantic fantasy of returning the Mousam to the conditions we think it was in before anyone settled here.

Now that KLPD has surrendered its license, the long local tradition of independent hydroelectric generation will come to an end unless another power company qualified to obtain the license makes an offer to take over and operate the dams. No LLC can simply buy the dams and run them as if they were private property. Absent such an offer, FERC will invariably order the dams out—which is exactly what the array of special interest groups influencing KLPD have been working for and counting on for 8 years.

Yes, Mr. Cook, I too am afraid of a spike in taxes and in our electric bills, but it will not be the result of preserving of our dams, our river, and the hydrogeneration it has provided. It will be in my opinion the reprehensible consequences of a manipulative and politically motivated Board of Trustees who voted to throw away our historic yet still serviceable hydro facilities and our independent, renewable energy production in order to meet the demands of myopic environmentalists.  An election is coming up soon. A seat on the KLPD Board of Trustees is being challenged. It is time for a change. Vote accordingly.

Shawn Teague

Kennebunk

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Not Just About Looks

To his credit, in his last letter to the Post, Curtis Mildner now states that he prefers to restrict the debate to the “facts.” Fair enough. First of all, Save the Mousam-Keep Our Dams is not motivated primarily by the appearance of the river (back to the old “just a river abutters issue”).  The 5,000 plus people who voted in favor of keeping the dams may have done so because of the senseless damage and irrevocable losses that we, as a Town, will sustain if the Mousam Kennebunk Rivers Alliance and outside affiliates get their way–loss of the existent ecosystem that depends and thrives on the presence of water; loss of our sustainable and renewable hydroelectric  generation; loss of recreational opportunities and scenic beauty of the river attracting residents and tourists alike; the detrimental impact on waterfront properties; and loss of a valued cornerstone of Kennebunk’s history.

 

And for what?  So that Maine Rivers/MKRA can claim an imaginary victory in returning our rivers to the condition they were in before greedy, white Europeans came over here and employed their power for a better standard of living (see Landis Hudson’s lead-in piece on the Maine Rivers webpage). We came up with the name “Mudsam” because it aptly describes what will be left after the dams come down as documented by our photographs of the Nov. 2015 drawdown.  In selling their agenda to what they take for an unwitting public, they use pictures of current river conditions as if they are future conditions. Our Mudsam photos infuriate them because they strip away this pretense and expose the ugly truth of what will become of our river if they succeed. The discrepancy between the photos used by the MKRA to illustrate post-dam conditions and ours, which were taken 6 hours later, is due to the fact that they got into their kayaks and took photos during the middle, and not the completion of that draw-down. As for their simulated pictures predicting what the river will be like, they are indeed pretty, but no more real than virtual reality. Resorting to these images comes right out of the Maine Rivers playbook on Dam removal which teaches:  Renderings can take the form of drawings or digitally-altered photographs showing “before” and “after” images of the site. . .Renderings have been successfully used in situations where there is apprehension about the “look” of the restored river…The perception of an idea such as dam removal is more important than the actual science that backs it up… And it is important that community visioning is led by someone from the community and not by state or federal agency staff who will be perceived as outsiders. “(see “Public Visioning” and “Framing Effective Messages” from pp. 13-14).

 

I’m also astonished that Mr. Mildner identifies several sections of the Mousam as already free flowing. According to their dogma, dams must come down to make them free-flowing. Evidently the matter is settled! Now we can keep our dams because we already have a free-flowing river! These short sections of the Mousam that he refers to are indeed beautiful, but these sections represent only 2800 ft. of the river. The rest of the nearly 12 miles of the Mousam has an average slope of 0.25% (one quarter of 1 per cent). Simply put: no dams; no river—or perhaps a drainage ditch at best, according to an engineer I consulted with recently.  What Mildner admires at these locations is the result of the release of water stored up behind the dams into a channel with a half percent (0.42%) of slope between the Dane Perkins and Twine Mill dams, and a 5% slope for only 400 linear feet below the Kesslen. If drawn to a 1:1 scale, the profile of the Mousam would look like the EKG of a dead man. To put these numbers into perspective, the next time you drive down Main St. or Fletcher St., try to notice the nearly imperceptible difference in elevation between the middle of the road (crown) and the gutters. To maintain adequate street drainage, the minimum slope across a roadway is 2%. Since there are only two sources of inlet into the Mousam (what comes over the top of Old Falls Dam–which can be regulated, and surface water from rainfall–which cannot be predicted), if you take away the dams and their impoundments, what you will get is exactly what our draw-down photographs have recorded: the unsightly Mudsam.

 

Finally the most important fact that Mildner overlooks:  Last November, the residents of Kennebunk voted overwhelmingly that they not only want to keep the dams, but their hydrogeneration.  These voters were informed.  The debate was in the papers on a weekly basis and on websites and Facebook pages.  The residents issued a mandate to the Selectmen to get involved in an issue that is bigger than 4 KLPD trustees who want to surrender their license.  Now it’s up to the Selectmen to implement the loud and clear will of the voters.

 

Shawn Teague

Kennebunk

 

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Free the Mousam River? Not so fast

To the editor:

I am a marine biologist/botanist with an extensive background in marine, freshwater aquatic and terrestrial ecology. I spent a considerable amount of time in my professional career designing, implementing and managing comprehensive multi-discipline environmental assessment programs, analyzing all the data and writing environmental impact reports.

The studies included freshwater aquatic, marine and terrestrial ecosystems. Socio economic studies were also included. Projects ranged from small local projects, including dam removal similar to the Mousam dams, at the few million-dollar level to large multi-billion dollar projects.

No two projects are exactly alike. The same type of project in the same type of ecosystem, but in different locations will not necessarily produce the same expected results.

It is astounding to me to hear endless promises and absolutes that the removal of the Mousam dams will result in a beautiful river loaded with endless species of fish rushing well inland to find spawning areas, the bankings will almost instantly be overgrown with beautiful plants and the number of species of wildlife will thrive and live happily ever after. Someone isn’t being completely honest and realistic with the public or ignorance is in control. No professional, well-educated, honest and experienced biologist or ecologist will make such promises.

I don’t hear much or any talk at all by river alliance and/or fish groups (local, state or national) recognizing the significance of the current ecosystems in and along the Mousam River in Kennebunk. There seems to be nothing but tunnel vision with no understanding, or caring, that removing the dams will result in the destruction of or major damage to those ecosystems.

The further tragedy is that many residents are seeing only one side of the coin. The fact that we have a very strong, beautiful, thriving, productive and rich ecosystem (aquatic and terrestrial) in and along the Mousam River that flows through the dams and impoundments is being minimized or hidden from our community, deliberately, is disgusting and a travesty. Kennebunk doesn’t need that type of irresponsibility and reckless approach to solving issues. There are two sides of every coin and there are always options and alternatives for achieving mutually acceptable goals. However, that does require a high level of integrity and responsibility.

The recent cost analysis by Albert Kolff and his suggestion of real cost-savings to KLPD rate payers by bringing the dams up to proper operating condition, and refuted by Alex Mendelsohn last week, represents a window of real opportunity.

It is but one approach that shows there are options here whether Mendelsohn and his supporters are willing to acknowledge it or not. So far, I see no evidence of that. I know of hundreds of Kennebunk residents who are looking for a way to make the dam issue a win-win for both sides. It doesn’t appear that win-win is part of his vocabulary. To start, we absolutely need a detailed analysis of all areas of the river system that will be impacted by removing the dams.

Furthermore, there has to be an unbiased description of what the impacts of removing any one or all the dams will have on the ecosystems in the area. To move ahead with removing anything without this information is incomprehensible and completely irresponsible to put it mildly.

Finally, the natural ecosystems in and around the river mostly likely to be negatively impacted by dam removal are well established and expanding by the year. The river is being used by many individuals and groups, including middle and high school classes. The river in its existing state is an important, intricate part of our history and our community. It is a significant attraction as proven by endless visitors to Kennebunk who stand on the bridge at Kesslen and take in its beauty. It is a statement of where we came from and who we are now.

Free the Mousam, Mr. Mendelsohn? Not so fast. May I invite you and your cohorts to recognize this one fact: if both sides of a proposed multi-billion dollar project can take a deep breath and open otherwise blocked minds to find ways to meet in the middle, then we can do the same and there is hope in Kennebunk. If not, a true gem in our community will be lost forever.

Dr. Doug Coleman
Kennebunk

 

 

 

Removing dams has potential for great cost to community

To the editor:

The following is a letter we sent to The Kennebunk Light and Power Company in January 2016; ToTodd Shea and the trustees of Kennebunk Light and Power District:

So the dam was removed on Goff Mill Brook in 45 minutes after years and years and years of having a small dam holding the water back from pouring into the Kennebunk River. During those many years (people differ on the length of time as there were different dams there at different times … maybe well over 100 years or more ….), wildlife created homes, breeding, and feeding grounds along the banks and in the waters. The habitat was rich with birds, fish, frogs, turtles, eels (which the experts said weren’t there but would come when the dam came down), mammals, plant life … and even humans lived along the banks and found recreation on the water … fresh water … and the humans found peace and joy in being a part of the serenity and the wilderness and all so close to the busyness of the towns. The water rose and fell with the seasons and the environment had a healthy and productive wildlife and plant life … all in harmony … vibrant and rhythmic … birds of prey, song birds, wading birds, trout, numerous kinds of turtles, many sorts of frogs, beavers, otters, muskrat, fox, mink, merganser ducks, wood ducks, mallards, kingfishers, black crowned night heron, green heron, great blue heron, sea gulls, many many species seen and many that escaped our view. This was a vibrant, healthy habitat that supported hundreds and included humans. Our lives were the better for it.

With the removal of the dam, came a decimation of this vital, vibrant environment. The water rushed out to sea to contribute to the ever growing concerns of coastal flooding and erosion, the banks were rapidly exposed and the beaver tunnels could no longer be reached by the beavers who disappeared within in the first avalanche of rushing water, the little eels lay flopping and dying on the exposed mud of the back water coves, the lily pads lay ruined and the water level dropped 6 to 8 feet. (Although the expert that presumably studied the Goff Mill Brook said the water was no more than 4 feet deep anywhere along this stretch was wrong about that along with many other claims made at the meetings.) The release did provide a banquet for many, many birds where the water rushed out belowRiver Road before entering the main part of the Kennebunk River as fish, eels, frogs, turtles (that had just hatched) were good for a final feast for those fortunate enough to have survived. But the experts were long gone by then. They had cheered, packed up their equipment, and had left within minutes of the downing of the dam. No follow-up….they’d accomplished their goal … the dam was down … whatever happened next was not their problem.

No one cared about the existing wildlife except those of us who lived along the brook and marveled at the workings of nature. At a habitat that had built up over many, many years and that was strong and healthy. No one cared that we would be releasing fresh water out to sea, and that if all dams are removed and the rivers, brooks, and streams are emptied into the ocean, this may impact the swelling ocean waters. No. What they said is that some fish and eels would come up the brook. They said it would be a different environment but they didn’t know just what. They wanted the brook to run free. Why? It was doing very nicely. They did not care about the people either. They wanted it to be like it was before people lived here. Why? This was not a polluted body of water. This habitat was valuable. The wildlife was valuable.

So what have we now? It has been six months since the dam was downed on Sept. 18, 2015. In that time, we have seen three mallards, one great blue who came to polish off what was left that was trapped in rocks now exposed, one red fox who explored the vacant beaver dens on the opposite bank. The water rushes past and acts like a storm drain. The beavers, otters, muskrats, and all the other listed animals are gone. We have no idea what the survival rate was but there are no sightings of frogs, turtles, or fish. Aquatic plants were destroyed and neighbors report that large, old trees are falling in with the collapse of the banks. We are aware this is winter now but we have lived along this brook for 12 years and our parents for 18 years before us, so we know what normal is and this is not normal.

It would seem prudent to retain our freshwater options. We may say, “Oh, not here,” when it comes to drought or additional water needs as we have seen in other parts of this country and the world. What makes it more desirable to let the water rush away; really, more desirable? We do not know what will happen when the present eco-systems are destroyed. We are replacing vital, known habitats and wildlife and human homes and values with the unknown that we truly do not know will be improvements. This decision impacts everyone.

On Goff Mill Brook (which was once called Middle River because it is the size of one, for sure), we are losing freshwater daily and the salt water that we were told would come up does not seem to be able to make the climb up from the river. This seems like a big experiment to us that has cost us all dearly. This was very poorly managed. We know that there is public grant money for the tearing down of dams. We know that there are people who are funded to see that the dams are down. We know that there very well may be rivers, brooks, and streams that will benefit by dam destruction, but we do not believe that Goff Mill Brook was one of them and we warn you that you are proposing a dangerous experimentation at potentially great cost to your community if you take down those dams on the Mousam River.

Judy and John Andrews
Arundel

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click below to read letter to Maine’s Congressional Delegation.

klpd-letter-to-congressional-delegation-1

 

Click below to read letter from Governor to US Department of Fish and Wildlife.

inlandfisheriesltr

 

As many of you have read in the editorial section of the Post, emotions have been running high between those in favor of keeping or removing the KLPD dams on the Mousam River. Each side comes at the issue with genuine caring and integrity. In an early discussion I was convinced that a free flowing river, as described by the one side, would be ideal. However, as I became more aware of the many implications of dam destruction, I’ve been convinced that it would be a mistake. To be completely transparent, I live on the river, am an avid canoeist and confirmed environmentalist. I’m also a psychotherapist and facilitator who believes that civil discourse and dialogue are always better than petty arguments.

In that spirit, I presented the idea of getting both sides together for a discussion and the KLPD Board and the Kennebunk Selectmen seemed to support the idea. With cooperation from both the Save The Mousam and the Mousam and Kennebunk River Alliance (MKRA), a meeting was held in April with 5 individuals representing each side, 6 neutral ratepayers, and staff from KLPD, the Town and the Chamber. The outcome was both a better understanding of the issues and some very broad agreement on shared values. This was followed up with a smaller meeting organized informally by Town staff and aiming at the possibility of developing specific proposals. While several ideas emerged, each was fraught with concerns that we still lack a lot of information that needs to be gathered before a decision on keeping or losing the dams is made.

Here is why, having heard the arguments from both sides, I believe that one or all of the dams should stay. First, while only now providing a small percentage of our town power needs, any renewable energy is important. With newer technology, it would not be a stretch to double that energy output in the future. Renewable energy, by the way, reduces, our carbon footprint here in Kennebunk by many tons of pollution per year. Secondly, cost is a real concern. What was initially presented showed that it would cost a huge amount more to re-license the dams than to remove them. Ironically, the latest figures, now confirmed by at least five different sources with expertise in the field, shows just the opposite. Over the next 40 plus years, it will be considerably more expensive to purchase the coal and oil generated electricity from the grid than to maintain and grow our renewable energy from the dams. Thirdly, for the many canoeists, kayakers and swimmers who use the river above the Kesslen dam, at the optimum recreational summer months, the river in many places would become a trickle and non-navigable and non-swimmable.

While these are major reasons in favor of keeping the dams, there are other concerns. From a safety point of view, fire departments have had to draw water from the river to put out major fires. Depth required for this would disappear and, in many places that safety outlet would be lost. Similarly, with the steep banks in places, there are safety issues for children playing. We also do not know what lies under the layer of sediment now on the river bottom. We do know that many pollutants were dumped into the river from various manufacturing plants and we don’t know if toxic wastes will be uncovered if the river is allowed to dry out with dam destruction.

The MKRA group wants to have an eco-system re-develop similar to what was present almost 200 years ago. This would allow better fish passage. Interestingly, both sides agree that this would be ideal and with proper fish ladders, this could be achieved with the dams in place. However, with dam removal, certain endangered amphibians and plants could be placed at greater risk. The MKRA cites the river below the Kesslen dam as what the river might look like with dam removal but, given the slope upstream of from 1%-3% this defies the laws of physics.

The bottom line is that for renewable energy, cost, recreational use, safety, reducing pollution risk, and general appearance for the Town, dam destruction could hurt us with unintended consequences, never really discussed. Our environment, our pocketbooks and the quality of our special environment could be irreparably damaged. Again both sides care and are pushing at what they see as the right choice but stepping back, at least for this tax paying ratepayer, the right decision is obvious.

David A. Wayne, Ph.D.

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WRITTEN PRIOR TO KLPD DECISION – ISSUES STILL RELEVANT
It’s time to pay attention! If you are not aware of the pending Kennebunk Light & Power decision regarding the relicensing of its 3 dams, please stop and take a minute. KLPD has announced that March or May will be their decision month. If they decide to stop generating electricity and to remove the dams, the decision may be irreversible.
I want to take this opportunity to introduce to you the community group “Save the Mousam.” We are NOT “Free the Mousam” that wishes to remove all 3 dams. Save the Mousam is not a formal group; we are not a non-profit or a lobby group. We are not paid to do anything, and when we have a financial need, we donate without any tax deduction. And we are clearly not all rich or river abutters. We are your neighbors, coworkers, business leaders, your friends; we meet you in Hannaford, at the transfer station, our kids go to school with your kids. We are Kennebunk residents and KLPD ratepayers.
KLPD has been working on this decision since 2011; the Mousam Kennebunk Rivers Alliance at least since 2009. Somehow we were not aware of the discussion until March 2015 when Wright-Pierce presented its photo simulations of what the Mousam would look like if the dams were removed. That was our wakeup call!
For a year now, we have come together for one goal: to keep and enhance the eco-system that has developed over the past 200 years. We wish to keep the dams; to keep generating hydropower, a renewable, green energy source that can help make Kennebunk sustainable. We wish to invest in this asset that we consumers own and have financed for decades. We want to join those who are seeking to pursue hydropower as part of our nation’s efforts to achieve a clean environment.
Beside that common goal, we are diverse in opinions, backgrounds and life experience. We come together to be educated, to offer our expertise, and to get the word out that decisions are being made that will affect every resident of Kennebunk.
Please do not sleep through this decision. Please contact us if you would like more information. Our email is savethemousam@gmail.com. If you agree that consumer-owned KLPD should keep the dams and continue to produce power that benefits our Town, please let them know and sign our petition at http://www.change.org/organizations/Mousam. Otherwise, you may wake up wondering what happened. Then it will be too late!
Donna Teague – Kennebunk
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An Open Letter to the Board of Selectmen
Tom Murphy
June 28, 2016

The June Election is now past us and the reconstituted boards—Selectmen and KLPD Trustees, have resumed their duties. The elephant in the room for both boards is the future of the 3 KLPD dams on the Mousam River.

In the KLPD Trustee race, both candidates made their two contrasting positions on the future of those dams very clear to the voters. The incumbent favored taking them down and received 37.7 percent of the votes cast. The challenger favored keeping the dams and received 62.3 percent of the votes.

Two weeks ago, after reviewing the generation, maintenance, and safety update costs of the hydro-electric generating infrastructure, the KLPD Trustees decided to notify FERC of their intention to surrender their license to produce hydro-power when the current KLPD license expires 6 years from now in 2022.

The poor and outmoded condition of the generating machinery, reminiscent of Kennebunk High School’s recent plight, is the result of historic and continuing neglect.

Necessary and reasonable modernization steps were not taken over the previous decades, and as a result KLPD electricity generation has declined and the District’s ratepayers have had to pay for the replacement power, purchased off the grid, in their monthly electric bills.

Where does this decision to surrender KLPD’s license 6 years from now leave the Town of Kennebunk?

Between now and the beginning of the lengthy relicensing process, another company could enter the scene, purchase the dams and equipment, and seek FERC approval for its own electric generating license.

A major capital equipment modernization plan with long-term financing would bring hydro-electric production on the upper Mousam into the 21st century and profitability.

Another option would be for the Town of Kennebunk to take up KLPD’s offer to transfer ownership of the 3 dams to the Town.

Because of the upper Mousam’s historic importance to our town, its unique eco-system developed over 350 years of manufacturing and dams, its contribution to our quality of life, and the unlimited upside potential for recreation and community involvement, the “Town Option” is a very serious decision to consider.

In addition, a growing number of residents believe that the removal of the 3 dams would be a major back-stepping blow to our already more than 3 million dollar investment in our continuing Main Street revitalization efforts.

The Board of Selectmen should take advantage of this open “window of opportunity’ taking the time to launch a serious full-town effort to explore this option.

The Selectman can call upon the expertise and energy of the various town committees, local organizations, talented professionals, and our residents who have proven that they belong to a creative, “can do” community.

The Board of Selectman

In the misfortune following if the dams are torn down, there are serious concerns that will need to be answered during the next year.

1. Clarification of property boundaries for a much diminished river.

2. Property valuation uncertainties.
Meet with local Realtors and Property Appraisers to determine what
is already happening

and the possible future impact to property owners and the Town itself.

3. The Property Tax Abatement Process.
Would these abatements be retroactive?

4. Potential cost of these possible 220 plus abatements to the Town’s stream of annual property tax revenues?
Would that annual revenue loss to the Town exceed the cost of the Town’s ownership assumption and relicensing costs, including the unnecessary fish ladders(based on the 2009 Alden Fish Census Report), over the life of a bond?

5. Current storm water drain systems will be stranded some distance to a much narrower river.
Whose liability and cost?

6. Liability concerns if now sealed hazardous toxins are swept onto abutting properties, down river, and also in the Gulf.

Board of Selectman
Intervener Status

For the Town and its residents to have a voice in the FERC relicensing process, the Town must file as an Intervener.

1. Authorize our Town Manager to meet with the KLPD General Manager to discuss matters in the relicensing process.

2. Establish a schedule of Public Workshops between the Selectmen and the Trustees.

3. Meet or talk directly—no second hand information, with the FERC Liaison who has already been pre-assigned to this relicensing process.
Learn the ABCs for the role of an Intervener.

4. Contact the town officials of Madison. Within the past 10 years, they’ve completed the FERC relicensing.

Madison Electric, like our KLPD, is 1 of only 3 consumer-owned, non-profit utility companies in the State of Maine, so their recent process through the regulatory process mirrors our soon-to-be process.

5. Talk with the town officials of Yarmouth who successfully fought a recent 3-year campaign against outside interests when they made the decision to keep their dams.

Their concerns mirror those now shared by a growing number of
Kennebunk residents.

Historical Importance to the Fabric of Our Town

Town Historian, Brick Store Museum, Kennebunk Free Library, and Local Historians

You don’t know who you are today,
until you first know where you’ve been.

Local historian Ken Joy fixed 1670 as the date for the first sawmill and dam on the Mousam River. For the next 300 years, the mills with their water wheels and later with hydro-electric power manufactured lumber, textiles, cordage, shoes, paper, leather board and ground the farmer’s corn and wheat.

Shipbuilding may have created many great local fortunes and the Summer Street mansions, but our mill town heritage was an important economic cornerstone of this once small village.

Our younger generations and newer residents in most cases are unaware of this history and the role that our dams and manufacturing have played.

We’ve discovered that when local historical information becomes available, they have a huge appetite to learn more about this place called “home.”

1. The two panels—the river/mills and Kesslen, in the “Museum of the Streets” is a great place to build upon.

2. Use the extensive collections at the Brick Store Museum, the Kennebunk Free Library, and in the Ken Joy Collection to begin crafting a continuing series of articles and photographs featuring the Mousam mills from sawmills to shoe shops for our local publications.

3. Begin to collect over time these articles, photographs, and research materials into an illustrated history of the Mousam River.

The book could be incorporated into the Middle School curriculum as
part of their Maine History and Local Studies course requirement.

4. Encourage the support for the establishment at the Brick Store Museum of an annual exhibit and illustrated lecture series highlighting the mills and the men and women who labored in them.

Many don’t realize that beginning in the late 19th century and for the next 75 years, the social life of the mills workers revolved around many company sponsored dances softball teams, picnics, excursions, and seasonal celebrations. Many of the workers found their future spouses through these company events.

5. Similar to our WWII veterans, the numbers of our former mill workers, now mostly shoe shop employees, is dramatically declining. Some are still among us here in Kennebunk. We need to honor them.

6. As a minimum in the short-term while many of them are still with us, we need to dedicate a commemorative plaque could be fixed on the Main Street Mousam River bridge honoring their contributions to their town.

For the long-term, it would be proper if by public subscription a town
monument could be designed and erected in their memory at the river’s edge at the old Kesslen Mill.

Family members could buy commemorative bricks honoring their family members who worked in the mills.

Increasing Access and Use of the Upper Mousam

Selectmen, Kennebunk Recreation Department, Town Engineer, Town Public Works Director, Chamber of Commerce, and Kayak/Canoe/Paddleboard Outfitters

The upper Mousam is one of Kennebunk’s best kept secrets, a hidden treasure, visible from a public road only at the Route 1 bridge and at the Mill Street bridge in West Kennebunk.

Those who have lived along it through the generations or who today paddle it know how fortunate we are to have this river in the geographic center of our town.

If the 3 dams are town down, almost all recreational activity on the upper Mousam will cease because of the loss of 80 to 90 percent of the water impoundments, a rocky bottom, a depth of around a foot-and-a-half on most stretches, and the loss of almost all of the current public and private access points.

That would be the “last paddle” for this generation. Our goal as a town should be to increase access to the upper Mousam, not end it.

1. The Selectmen should create the “Upper Mousam Recreation Area” to make it easier for the Town and local organizations to pursue grant funding.

2. Locate and map all public access points.
Evaluate ease of access and parking, make recommendation to improve if necessary, and seek State or private sector grant funds.

3. Meet with the Trustees of the Kennebunk Land Trust. Their newly acquired large Kimball Hill parcel has access to the Mousam River.

Determine if the Town can help the Trust pursue grants for parking and increased access to the river.

4. Meet with the new owners of the Lafayette Center and the owners of the Twine Mill property to help facilitate parking access for kayak/canoe/paddleboard users and those who just want to take in the beauty of the scene.

5. Evaluate the Cross Country Team’s practice trail in West Kennebunk for use as a potential low-impact, unpaved wild “River Walk” along the Mousam.

6. The Eastern Trail will someday soon build south from the Kennebunk Elementary School and when the bike riders, visitors or locals, reach the granite, old railroad bridge at the Mousam River, it’ll be one of those “Oh my Gosh” highlights of their ride. That impoundment area behind the Twine Mill is one of the prettiest places in southern Maine. It takes your breath away, especially in the fall.
If the dams come down, it will be lost forever.

7. Use of the river by the Recreation Department as a paddle activity within their Summer Program.

8. Create a brochure and a link on the Chamber website with a map detailing access points and parking, distances from dam to dam, and photographs showing the beauty of the waterway.
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An Open Letter to the Board of Selectmen
Tom Murphy
July 5, 2016

The June Election is now past us and the reconstituted boards—Selectmen and KLPD Trustees have resumed their duties. The elephant in the room for both boards has been the future of the 3 KLPD dams on the Mousam River.

In the KLPD Trustee race, both candidates made their two contrasting positions on the future of those dams very clear to the voters. The incumbent favored taking them down and received 37.7 percent of the votes cast. The challenger favored keeping the dams and received 62.3 percent of the votes.

The Vote

Three weeks ago, after reviewing the generation, maintenance, and safety update costs of the hydro-generating infrastructure, the KLPD Trustees decided to notify FERC of their intention to surrender their license to produce hydro-power when the current KLPD license expires 6 years from now in 2022.

Though this notification decision didn’t need to be made until the Spring of 2017, Chairman Kilbourn, seeing the local support for the dams growing, had been pushing since the first of the year for an early vote without studies on
1) the condition of the generating equipment, and 2) the long-term potential with modernization for increased production. The first is still grossly incomplete and the second still hasn’t been done. Both should be demanded of the trustees by the rate payers, the real owners of KLPD.

The chairman that night said that he was surprised by the trustees’ decision to vote on notifying FERC. He shouldn’t have been. We weren’t. Some of us had been told the day before by officials at Town Hall that there was “the 99.9 percent certainty” there was going to be a vote on the dams. Pretty good acting on his part.

Another result of that night’s “rush to vote,” was that the 1,276 citizens who had elected Dan Bartilucci as the newest Trustee were effectively disenfranchised. They may have spoken on Election Day, but they weren’t allowed to be heard.

The Trustees that night had responded to the General Manager’s “Report,” complete with his recommendations, all based on his short tenure at KLPD and with no prior electric utility experience.

We now know that the General Manager failed, as Paul Harvey used to say, “To tell the rest of the story.”

Due diligence research of the District’s hydro-generating infrastructure maintenance records would have shown and then should have then included the normal, necessary, and emergency actions previous Boards had taken to meet their fiduciary responsibilities to the rate payers. Were “previous trustees” and “previous administrators” consulted to make sure the current trustees were receiving an accurate and balanced report?

The electric panel and switchboard controls at Kesslen are in excellent condition having been completely redone in recent years. The draft tube on the Kesslen turbine was replaced in 2010 after it failed so the District could regain lost generation. A new operating system for the gates at Kesslen was installed to prevent the loss of the use of the gates and possible personal injury.

The roof at the Twine Mill structure was completely replaced, concrete work was done, and a part of the structure that was unstable was removed to protect the generation equipment within. All this was done in recent years.

Dane Perkins received major attention after the two back-to-back 100-year floods in 2006 and 2007. Are there any current Trustees who were on the Board
at that time?

The electric bank cited as ready to collapse due to rust is in fact secured to the building by rods at the top of that unit that are intended to prevent such an occurrence.

We’ve been told that there are numerous heat activated sprinkler heads located in the turbine area at the Layette Center that are connected directly to the building’s sprinkler system. The building’s system is the responsibility of the building owner, not KLPD. If that system isn’t functioning, that building is at risk from a fire anywhere in the building.

It is our understanding that previous Boards operated with a formula for repairs which had a pay back provision. Would the repair have an adequate pay back within the ever narrowing, remaining years of the current license term? If yes, it was done. If it did not, it would continue to be monitored and it would be delayed to wait for one, large, all-inclusive bond issuance to cover everything at relicensing with the cost of those improvements spread out over the life of a new 40-year license.

It was anticipated that all deferred repairs, corrections, or modernization would be made at the time of re-licensing if that was the alternative option chosen. If not, rate payer money wouldn’t be lost on facilities that were to be torn down.

The General Manager also did not include in his “Report” that KLPD’s generating machines have passed every FERC rigorous inspection in the last two decades. Nor was it reported by him that previous reviews determined that the necessary fixes could be rolled into the re-licensing processing and funding if that should have been the avenue of the District’s choice.

The Wright Pierce Report option for retaining electric generation includes infrastructure maintenance and repair funds during the multi-year relicensing process.

That night was when a lack of due diligence smacked into a lack of institutional history and memory. The Trustees did not challenge or question either the Clewes Report which was misrepresented or the General Manager’s recommendations. That would have been the time to initially discuss, ask questions, seek more information, and then table the issue. The Option decision time is still more than eight months away.

There was still plenty of time for the Trustees to schedule a Public Work Session with past Trustees, Administrators, and management to get a clearer picture of KLPD’ infrastructure needs, previous actions, and projected costs.
But no one was interested, because they were in a rush to vote.

Not only did they vote not to spend any more funds, except for safety, on the infrastructure, but they also rejected a key, one-day inspection trip to Kennebunk by hydro-generating experts for their recommendations and the estimated costs for modernizing or replacing the equipment, thus increasing the hydro-generated output, possibly substantially.

Then only an hour later, they topped it all off with the most important decision of their five-year term by “opting out,” 8 months early, on electric generation, knowing full well the consequences of that decision that without the electric generation, the odds are pretty long for Kennebunk keeping the 3 dams.

To put it simply, the Trustees were steamrolled. Copies of the Clewes and General Manager’s Report were not available for the public, the vote was taken before the newly elected Trustee could be seated, and public comment was scheduled at the end of the agenda, so no questions or comments could be presented until well after the vote was taken.

During my years in Augusta, I witnessed some really impressive instances of steamrolling, but that KLPD Trustees meeting was the slickest one I’ve ever seen, by far.

If I was serving on that Board of Trustees, now that I would have had a few weeks to think about what happened that night, I’d realize that maybe I let myself get caught up too quickly, and I’d be asking for the opportunity to have a “do over,” so due diligence could be done.

Our Community and the Environment

Kennebunk is an eco-friendly, green community as evidenced by our recycling rate, our land conservation successes, and the recent passage of the local plastic bag referendum.

Not mentioned in any of the KLPD reports so far is the historical role KLPD’s clean, non-polluting hydro-electric production has played in keeping our country’s environment healthy.

Every kWh produced at our 3 dams means nationally a reduction in the petroleum that has to be drilled, transported by rail or pipeline to a refinery, and then transported again to an electric-generating plant and then out onto the grid.

Using the 1,400,000 kWh generated locally by our 3 dams in 2014 (Wright-Pierce Cost Analysis Alternatives) would annually remove 97,090 gal. of oil or 1,442,480 lbs of coal from the national production demands—transportation (twice), refining or processing, and converting to electricity. Pipeline risks, smokestacks, and possible fiery train derailments are all a part of that process.

Extend these annual calculations out the next 5 years of the FERC review process and you can save 485,450 gals. of oil (12, 136 40-gal. barrels) or 7,112,400 lbs. of coal (3,606 tons).

Where does this decision to surrender KLPD’s License 6 years from now leave the Town of Kennebunk?

Possible new directions or available options that could be considered:

1. Maybe realizing that they didn’t get “the full story” and didn’t take due diligence, the KLPD Trustees will decide to reverse their relicensing decision.

2. Between now and the beginning of the lengthy relicensing process, another company could enter the scene, purchase the dams and equipment, and seek FERC approval for its own electric generating license.

Their major capital equipment modernization plan with long-term 40-year financing could bring hydro-electric production on the Kennebunk upper Mousam into the 21st century and profitability.

Will the District provide the necessary information to potential buyers or will they scuttle all such inquiries? Has Surge Hydro received all of the information that they would need to submit a purchase proposal and to seek the necessary financing?

At the June 28th KLPD Business Meeting, Deep Lake Holdings, a New York
company, had earlier requested information on the “Book value of our hydro, but the General Manager told the Trustees, “We don’t have that data.” Why not? Are they going to get it? Will it be sent? A good newspaper reporter should follow up on these requests.

Maybe it’s time to get their heads out of the solar panels and take care of the rate payers’ hydro assets that they threw under the bus 3 weeks ago.

3. Another option would be for the Town of Kennebunk to take up KLPD’s offer to transfer ownership of the 3 dams to the Town.

Because of the upper Mousam’s historic importance to our town, its unique eco-system developed over 350 years of manufacturing and dams, its contribution to our quality of life, and the unlimited upside potential for recreation and community involvement, the “Town Option” is a serious decision to consider.

Additionally, a growing number of residents believe that the removal of the 3 dams would be a major back-stepping blow to our already more than 3 million dollars investment in our continuing Main Street revitalization efforts. Also, the “stranded costs” of the hydro dams investment further exacerbates the potential blow to both rate payers and the taxpayers.

4. A “Win Win” Option for Everyone

The Town would negotiate with a potential purchaser an agreement that would, after the generating equipment is brought forward with new technology into the 21st century, establish a base minimum annual subsidy from the Town to the Operator.

The precedent has already been set because for decades, recognizing its value to the town and our quality of life, the Town has provided an annual taxpayer-paid appropriation to the Kennebunk Free Library.

The Town has recently contributed substantially to The Kennebunk Land Trust’s purchase of Mousam River frontage land and will probably do so again in the future when other purchase opportunities arise.

The Town/Operator Agreement could also include an annual achievable generation production goal set by an Industry Engineer. If the Operator exceeds that target a per kWh bonus would be added to the annual subsidy. If the Operator failed to reach that goal, there could be a likewise reduction per kWh in the annual subsidy.

The annual subsidy funds could come from the TIFF account or any other source the Town Meeting determined to be appropriate.

All Solar and some high MPG/low fuel cars are non-cost effective for the consumer to buy, so national and state environmental policies have been enacted to pay substantial federal and state subsidies to make their purchase and use more attractive.

Note: KLPD has been exploring a lease option for Solar Power generation. The State’s failure to extent the solar subsidy or tax incentives for solar has caused other such municipal inspired projects to collapse during the past two months. It’s not “cost effective” to go forward without the State incentive.

Hydro-generated power isn’t as sexy to some environmentalists, but it just keeps producing clean, non-polluting power, which helps reduce the national appetite for coal and oil. Here in Kennebunk for more than a century now, we’ve been doing our fair share in that reduction.

I believe that this Option is the most attractive “Win Win” Option because it would retain our hydro-generation, provide for new technology, generation at a much lower cost of locally consumed power, while providing accountability to the District’s rate payers and the Town’s taxpayers.

Where To from Here?

The Board of Selectmen should take advantage of this “open window of opportunity,” taking the time to launch a serious full-town effort to explore these options.

The Selectmen can call upon the expertise and energy of the various town committees, local organizations, talented professionals, and our residents who have proven that they belong to a creative, “can do” community.

Intervener Status
The Board of Selectmen

At this time, I won’t even get into the “camel’s nose under the tent” that the local “rivers” group has had with KLPD since 2011, two years before KLPD’s first Public Hearing on relicensing. Most “non-connected” Kennebunk residents were not aware of the issue until late summer/fall of 2015. Now you can understand the chairman’s “ rush to vote,” as our citizens are beginning to understand the out-of-town agenda and discovering what’s happening within our local, consumer-owned KLPD.

I do have to warn you, though. Be prepared. You’re about to be on the receiving “don’t become involved” end of the “friends group,” which is the local face of the out-of-town and national groups who are running, funding, and staffing the tear down of our Mousam dams campaign.

For the Town and its citizens to have any voice and to protect its interests in the FERC relicensing process, the Town must file as an Intervener.

1). Authorize our Town Manager to begin meeting with the KLPD General Manager to discuss matters in the relicensing process, remembering that our concerns will not overlap or be shared by the Board of Trustees. Two different interests.

2. Meet or talk directly—no second hand information please, with the FERC Liaison who has already been pre-assigned to this relicensing process.
Learn the ABCs for the role of an Intervener.

3. Meet on a regular basis with our Town Consul on this upcoming relicensing process.
You will quickly discover that the parent groups behind this “tear down,” effort have already reached into a majority of southern Maine law firms with even a smidgen of hydro or electric generation expertise, claiming a “conflict of interest” refusal if the firms are approached by any potential interveners. Another subject for a good newspaper reporter.

Immediate “Need to Answer” Concerns
The Board of Selectmen

Out of fear of what would happen to their properties if the dams are torn down, there are serious concerns among the property owners that need to be addressed now. So far, a lack of creditable answers only increases the anxiety that’s already out there.

1. Clarification of property boundaries for a possibly much diminished river.

2. If the dams are removed, current storm water drain systems will be stranded some distance from a much narrower river. Whose liability and cost?

3. Loss of river frontage and safety concerns from the scouring by the changed river, as outlined in the reports?

4. Liability concerns if now sealed hazardous toxins are swept onto abutting properties, down river, onto Parson’s Beach, and out into the Gulf?

Property Valuation Uncertainties
1. The Town Manager, Assessor, and Board members meet with local Realtors and Property Appraisers to determine if the decrease in valuations are already occurring, two incidents have been already cited including one where the “cloud”
over the dams has caused one cancelation of a sale. One homeowner was told that the reduced value of her home would probably be 25 percent less right now.
Chairman Kilbourn (The Village, June 2016) wrote that “over time property values likely will not suffer.” I don’t think any mortgage lender would bank on that “assurance” when assessing property for a possible sale or purchase.

2. The Property Tax Abatement Process.
When would the process begin for an impacted homeowner?
Would these abatements be retroactive?

3. The potential cost of these possible 220 plus abatements to the Town’s stream of annual property tax revenues?
Would that annual revenue loss to the Town exceed the cost of the Town’s ownership assumption and relicensing costs, including the unnecessary fish ladders (based on the 2009 Alden Fish Census Report) over the life of a 30 or
40-year bond?

Note:
The Alden Report said basically there aren’t any fish waiting to come upriver, but there were 444 invasive crabs waiting, and the results “do not indicate that there are sufficient numbers of diadromous species in the Mousam River to warrant the installation of fish passage structures at the dams.”

The fish ladder issue has never really passed the straight-face test since there are 8 other dams that would remain between Kennebunk and Mousam Lake and fish ladders at our dams would be like that Alaskan “Bridge to Nowhere.” Our ladders would become known as “The Fish Ladders with No Passengers.”

The fish ladders were proposed because the “rivers” group and their out-of-town friends believed that their addition would dramatically drive up the projected costs for keeping the dams, which it did, forcing local citizens to more quickly support the cheaper “tear them down” alternative without closer examination. An increasing number of local citizens are seeing it for the ruse it is.

Would there be costs to the Town for the relicensing process and the annual upkeep of the dams?

Yes, as there now is for maintenance and staffing at our 3 beaches and the planting, tending, and watering of the beautiful flower beds along our revitalized Main Street. The Town’s investment in the recent acquisition of the Kennebunk Land Trust’s purchase of a large undeveloped property along the upper Mousam shows that our town has a long-term vision to the future for the generations to come after us.

Would you rather see the dams come down and then suffer the property valuation rebates and the resulting loss of substantial property tax revenues (how much, 1 to 1 ½ million dollars annually? More?) from more than 220 properties along the 9-mile stretch of a much reduced river, basically turning it into a muddy creek, and then be left with nothing to show for it?

Wouldn’t it be better to keep the 3 dams, retain the current property valuations and property tax dollars which wouldn’t have to then be rebated, and still have the current 9-mile waterway and the upside potential to maintain and enhance our quality of life?
A Sample Community “Blueprint”

Historical Importance to the Fabric of Our Town
Town Historian, Brick Store Museum, Kennebunk Free Library, and Local Historians

You don’t know who you are today,
until you first know where you’ve been

Local historian Ken Joy fixed 1670 as the date for the first sawmill and dam on the Mousam River. For the next 300 years, the mills driven first with their water wheels and later with hydro-electric power manufactured lumber, textiles, twine, cordage, shoes, paper, leather board, and ground the farmer’s corn and wheat.

Shipbuilding may have created many great fortunes and the Summer Street mansions, but our mill town heritage was an important economic cornerstone and the major source of income for a majority of Kennebunk families in this once small village.

1. The two “Museum of the Streets” panels—the river/mills and Kesslen, are a great place to build upon.

2. Use the extensive collections at the Brick Store Museum, the Kennebunk Free Library, and the Ken Joy Collection to begin crafting a continuing series of articles and photographs featuring the Mousam mills from sawmills to shoe shops for our local publications.

Cynthia Walker, Executive Director of the Brick Store Museum, has launched a series of excellent monthly articles featuring Kennebunk history in The Village.

3. Begin to collect over time these articles, photographs, and research materials into an illustrated history of the Mousam River. This book could be incorporated into the Middle School curriculum as part of their Maine History and Local Studies course requirement.

4. Encourage and support the establishment at the Brick Store Museum of an annual exhibit and illustrated lecture series highlighting the mills and the men and women who labored there.

Many do not realize that beginning in the late 19th century and for the next 75 years, the social lives of those mill workers revolved around numerous company-sponsored dances, team sports, picnics, excursions, parades, and seasonal celebrations. Many of our local mill workers found their future spouses at these company events.

5. Similar to our WWII veterans, the numbers of our former mill workers, now mostly shoe shop-workers, are dramatically declining each year. Some are still among us here in Kennebunk. We need to honor them now.

6. As a minimum in the short-term, while many of them are still alive, we need to dedicate commemorative plaques which could be affixed on both side of the Main Street Mousam Bridge honoring their contributions to their town. A Labor Day ceremony each year would be appropriate.

For the long-term, it would be proper if by public subscription and working with Maine Unions a town monument could be designed and erected in their memory at the river’s edge at the old Kesslen Mill site. Family members could buy commemorative bricks honoring their family member who worked in the mills.

Note: The Kesslen Shoe Co. was in business until 1978 in what today is now the Layette Center. In 1952, Kesslen Shoe made 3 million pairs of shoes.

Increasing Access and Use of the Upper Mousam

Selectmen, West Kennebunk Village Committee, Town Engineer, Town Public Works Director, Chamber of Commerce, Kayak/Canoe/Paddleboard Outfitters, Kennebunk Recreation Director

The upper Mousam is one of Kennebunk’s best kept secrets, a hidden treasure, visible from a public road only at the Route One bridge and at the Mill Street bridge in West Kennebunk.

Those who have lived along it through the generations or who today paddle it know how fortunate we are to have this river in the geographic center of our town.

If the 3 dams are torn down, almost all recreational activity on Kennebunk’s upper Mousam will cease because of the loss of 80 to 90 percent of the water impoundments, a rocky bottom, a new depth of around a foot-and-a-half on most stretches, and the loss of almost all of the current public and private access points during the summer recreational season.

Their loss would mean the “last paddle” for this generation. Our goal as a town should be to increase access to the upper Mousam, not end it!

1. The Selectmen should designate and create The Kennebunk Upper Mousam Scenic Corridor or the Kennebunk Upper Mousam Recreation Area to make it easier for the Town and local organizations to pursue grant funding.

2. Locate and GPS map all public access points and parking.
Evaluate the ease of access and parking, make recommendations to improve if necessary, and seek State or private sector grant funds.

Steps should be taken to provide boat ramps and floating seasonal docks above each of the dams, as well as design canoe, kayak, and paddleboard “carries” around the Dane Perkins and Twine Mill dams.

3. Meet with the Trustees of the Kennebunk Land Trust. Their newly acquired large Kimball Hill parcel has access to the Mousam River.
Determine if the Town can help the Land Trust pursue grants for parking and increased access to the river.

4. Meet with the new owners of the Lafayette Center and the owners of the Twine Mill property to help facilitate parking access for kayak, canoe, and paddleboard users and those who just want to take in the beauty of the scenery.

5. Evaluate the Cross Country’s practice trail in West Kennebunk for use as a potential low impact, unpaved and wild “River Walk” along the Mousam.

6. The Eastern Trail will soon build west from the Kennebunk Elementary School and for the bike riders and walkers, both visitors and locals, when they reach the granite old railroad bridge on the Mousam River, just upriver from the Twine Mill and powerhouse, it’ll be one of those “Oh my Gosh” moments. That impoundment waterway behind the Twine Mill Dam is one of the prettiest places in southern Maine. It takes your breath away, especially in the fall.

If the dams come down, that beautiful place will be lost forever.

7. Use of the river by the Recreation Department as a safe paddle activity within their Summer Program.

8. Create a brochure and a link on the Chamber website with a map detailing access points and parking, distances from dam to dam, portage “carries” around the dams, and photographs showing the beauty of the waterway.

9. With the upgrades and increased access to the Kennebunk’s Upper Mousam, the West Kennebunk village will be a winner both economically and in the enhanced quality of life.

A New Generation’s Appreciation of Their River
RSU 21, The New School, and Home Schoolers

Kennebunk’s upper Mousam River could be a great educational opportunity for our students. Some at first may say, “Never heard of it” or “Where is it”?

A few possible activities

1. Incorporate into the State-mandated Maine History and Local Studies Course for Middle School students a teaching unit which incorporates the articles, photographs, and eventual book chronicling the history of the Mousam River.

2. Guest classroom lectures with illustrated presentations featuring the seasonal life of the early Native Americans on the Mousam River and Great Hill, the first European settlers, the hardships of life along this first colonial frontier, the Sgt. Larrabee Garrison, the sawmills, fishing stands, shipbuilding, manufacturing, and the early years of local tourism.

It’s a story worth learning for all generations.

3. Working with State Biologists on the possible restocking of fish appropriate to the upper Mousam. The State has just finished restocking one million fish throughout Maine this spring.

4. Locate, map, and monitor centuries-old established wildlife habitats which have included American Bald Eagles.

5. Participation in the State’s Blue Heron tag and monitor program.

6. Camping overnights with parents and teachers along the undeveloped stretches of the river.

7. The upper Mousam and its eco-system could be a treasure house for Kennebunk High School, The New School, and Home School biology students.

8. Every May and early June in every Maine elementary and middle school, it’s time for the annual “Get them out of the classroom” field trips. We see our Kennebunk Middle School and Kennebunk Elementary students and teacher on their bikes trekking through the Kennebunks.

With the help of parents and canoe/kayak outfitters, the teachers could have the additional option, planning a paddle and backpack lunch on the upper Mousam.

New generations could come to appreciate and enjoy the upper river as did our generations who grew up “messin along the river.”

Quality of Life, Eco-Tourism, and It’s Impact on Our
Local Economy

The Economic Development Committee, Chamber of Commerce, and West Kennebunk Business Owners

Eco-Tourism is big business in southern Maine. For the proof, just look to the car tops along Route One and the Maine Turnpike.

Explore:

1. What role does a nature-based quality of life play in the decision to relocate a business, begin a startup in our area, or move your family to Kennebunk?

2. Meet with local outfitters and listen to their professional recommendations for improving access and promoting the use of the upper Mousam for kayakers, canoeists, and paddleboarders.

3. Meet with current business along or near the river and gather their recommendations about the potential use of the upper Mousam.

4. The Yankeeland Campground family has said that the removal of the dams would impact their business. Their guests fish, paddle and swim the Mousam. The trailers and Rvs of these seasonal guests are substantially taxed annually as personal property by the Town.

With the loss of the river attraction if the dams are torn down, if these now long-term guests lose the quality of an extended experience and are then replaced by more transient overnight, weekend, or weekly campers, what would be the loss of income to the campground owners and the loss of personal tax revenue to the Town?

5. Even more importantly, I believe, the long-term guests at West Kennebunk’s two campgrounds have become an important part of our reverse flight “snow bird” community.

Over the years, we’ve talked with some of these “campers” at West Kennebun Bean Suppers and local plays, and they proudly consider themselves part-time residents of Kennebunk.

6. These long-term summer and fall residents at West Kennebunk’s two campgrounds spend their money at Kennebunk restaurants, grocery stories, shops, gas stations, and the bean suppers. They attend our churches and local events and are very much a part of the fabric of our community.

7. Do we know which businesses and the cost of a negative impact to them if the dams are torn down? Shouldn’t we find out?

The Main Street Revival
The Down Town Committee, Chamber of Commerce, and Main Street Business Owners and Workers

1. The Town and State have spent over 3 million dollars in the revival of our Down Town District. Today’s Mousam River and its Kesslen Dam is “the binding” tying together the two now reinvigorated sections of Main Street.

2. How often have you seen a photo of the Mousam spilling over the Kesslen Dam with the historic Layette Center and its iconic Kennebunk sign in newspapers, travel articles, Town Reports, and Chamber of Commerce promotional materials?

That scene is the “face” which greets you as you enter the Kennebunk Light and Power website. For travelers coming up Route One from the south, it’s their first “We’re now in Kennebunk” moment.

3. It’s rare when a pedestrian—resident or visitor alike, crossing the Main Street bridge isn’t stopped in their tracks when they first hear the roar of the river spilling over the dam. They always pause to drink in the sight of the Mousam and the first bend up the river. During the fall foliage season, the cameras are always snapping away and their owners carry these memories back home to relatives and friends.

4. During the spring thaw or after a major rain storm, many Kennebunk families make the trek to stand bravely on the mist-shrouded bridge and hear the Mousam roar.

If the Kesslen Dam is removed, its current depth of 14 feet will be reduced to 1.8 feet or water or less in the summer tourist season.

5. It’s no accident that the owner of Main Street’s fastest growing business prominently displayed in his large front windows the oversized photographs of the “before” and the “after” of the recent river “draw down,” labeling the
“after” (no dams) as “The Mudsam.”

Why, after the 3 million dollar investment and the expenditure of thousands of hours of creative planning and energy by our residents would we allow a major back-stepping from our Main Street Revival?

Celebrating Our River Heritage

Linda Johnson and the Down Town Committee, the Chamber of Commerce, and Main Street Businesses and Workers

What future role can the upper Mousam River play in the Down Town Revival?

1. In one short year, we’ve seen the positive impact The Waterhouse Center with its “coming together” events has had on renewing the spirit of our town. How many Maine towns can boast that they have volunteers who can drive a Zamboni?

2. Meet with the new owners of the Lafayette Center to discuss possible additional access to their parking lot for evening or weekend community-based gatherings—such as an evening “bring your own chair” summer drama or musical events along the river’s edge.

3. Consider launching a Great Outdoors event, celebrating our magnificent Maine rivers, lakes, and woods.

It could feature outfitters, conservation groups, outdoors-centered craftspeople, fish and game clubs, speakers, State of Maine Wildlife Biologists and Game Wardens, entertainment, and community and church food stands. A “Fish Fry” or BBQ would be a natural. Others could come share with us our appreciation for the great outdoors.

I can’t imagine LL Bean, Cabelas, or the Kittery Trading Post not being interested in participating or possibly not co-sponsoring such an outdoors celebration in the late spring and early fall.

4. Begin an annual Upper Mousam Fishing Derby for youngsters with prizes for the winners in all age groups.

5. The annual “Paddle Battle” held for charity at the Nonantum in Kennebunkport draws paddle race enthusiasts from throughout New England.

Kennebunk could launch its own “Dam to Dam” paddle races on the upper Mousam with separate race days for Kayaks, canoes, and paddleboards.

The “Dam to Dam” race days could become an annual event for spectators and homeowners who could host “Race Day” parties, big floppy hats optional, for their neighbors and friends.

The possible river-centered events on Kennebunk’s Upper Mousam which could be created is unlimited, and much like the Waterhouse Center has already done, could bring our town closer together.

The Challenge Ahead

All of Us, Together

This is one of those rare moments in a town’s history where a decision will have to be made for its future.

Over the past year, many of us have been accused by the “tear down the dams” groups of being too “sentimental,” that was the word used, when it comes to the dams and their possible removal. I stand “Guilty” as charged because I’ve had a 44-year-long love affair with the Kennebunk and Mousam Rivers.

Those out-of-town groups, who are really running this show, don’t want to hear our sentimental memories—they even describe in their “Maine Rivers Handbook” how to combat them, and they’re sure not going to stick around and pick up the tab for what they cost us. Plus, they’ll be too busy rushing off to other Maine towns so they can tear down their dams as well.

So, you’ll continue to hear many of the upper Mousam stories, some drawn from now distant memories of our Kennebunk neighbors. They are the ones that we should be listening to!

The boys and girls who learned to swim in its safe waters. The joy of catching your first fish. The students of the 1950’s who used the family rowboat to and from the junior high and the high school. The numerous Native American villages, settlers’ camps, and pirate forts built by generation of Kennebunk youngsters.

We’ve listened to stories of winter-time ice-skating as far as the Turnpike bridge and the cherished memories a family shared of the family’s matriarch in her mid-90s asking to be paddled around in the family canoe at the beautiful lake-like waterway behind the Twine Mill Dam.

Members of the Board may have memories of their own of the upper Mousam.

How many similar memories to be made are waitingout there in the future?

Today though, there also worrisome concerns. Many-long-time homeowners along that 9-mile stretch are afraid that their biggest life-time investment, their home, has already lost value and will continue to do so. For some, that home is their retirement fund.

Newer homeowners fear that the loss of equity in their homes will put them financially “under water,” making it difficult to finance a child’s future college education or to even recover their investment if they have to sell.

As a priority, we as a town should always put people first. That’s why this question of the possible dam removal is so important and a fight worth fighting.

The Challenge
Can we come together—town boards, local civic organizations, business owners, and residents to first craft and then carry out a “Community Blueprint” for the future of the upper Mousam River.

We believe that it can happen, because over the years, we’ve seen time after time what this Town can accomplish when complex but crucial decisions had to be made.
Kennebunk is a creative “can do” Town and future generations will thank us if we take up and win this challenge.

Now that the dams issue is moving to your court, the Board of Selectmen, we felt that you should know why so many of your constituents, and that number is growing, have such strong concerns and feelings about this issue.

Note: If you’ve completed the daunted reading of this lengthy missive, you might feel as if you’ve just finished Gone With The Wind Two (talking quantity here, not quality), which I can understand.

Respectfully,
Tom Murphy 985-3904 tsmurphy@myfairpoint.net
Kennebunk Landing
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Win win Fish and Dams
It turns out there is a New Alternative for relicensing the dams that ends up making a $4,400,000 profit YES A PROFIT. All previous alternatives studied by Wright-Pierce (W-P) were going to cost us from $(6,000,000) to $(11,000,000) or more. KLPD ratepayers or Kennebunk taxpayers were going to lose money no matter which of the previously proposed alternatives we chose. It was going to be a loose-loose and no one was going to be a winner.
However, in 2011 the ALDEN Research Laboratory, Inc. contracted by W-P conducted an evaluation of, Fish Restoration Drivers and Passage Options for… KLPD dams. It suggested an alternative option based on the lack of fish.
“… a small-scale… study by the Wells Reserve in 2009, …. Of the diadromous species that may be targeted for passage; 2 blueback herring, 6 alewife, 1 American shad (9 FISH) and 17 American eel were collected. Although these results may be useful for establishing presence or absence of species in the lower estuarine portions of the river, they do not indicate that there are sufficient numbers of diadromous species moving in the Mousam River to warrant the installation of fish passage structures at the dams.”
A New Alternative to Seek License with Fish Transport (not fish passage) saves or avoids the $4,813,000 cost for construction and maintenance of fish passage.
A cost analysis spreadsheet for this New Alternative: including inflation, provides a profit of $4,400,000. When Madison Electric Works took out one dam eleven years ago, there were still three hydropower dams downstream in the Kennebec River. To restore Salmon to the Sandy River, now and for the last 11 years, fish are “Trapped, Trucked and Put” into the river. Hay a win win for fish and dams here!!
Albert Kolff, Kennebunk
********************************************************************************If you do a search for Mousam and Kennebunk Rivers Alliance you will immediately be directed to the Maine Rivers website. In the April 22 Kennebunk Post a letter was written by Mr.  Burrows and associates stating that the MKRA was a local group and wanted us to believe that in no way his so called LOCAL group is affiliated with any outside groups or funding. If you click links under “more info” you will find “Removing Dams in Maine: A Basic Guide for Project Managers” (Notice the reference to MAINE, not KENNEBUNK)
On page one you will find logos from four groups that are not MKRA. Scroll to page 13, under Public visioning  ” with some CREATIVE community visioning, the fear of loss can be
turned into a sense of gain”. Page 14 ” the perception of an idea such as dam removal is more important than the science that backs it up”. In the letter they state “the science of removing dams and restoring natural processes, habitats, and fisheries is
beyond question” Really ? A number of scientists felt that way about the Connecticut river and were forced to give up when the funding dried up after 50 years- of failure. (see the Boston Globe 08/04/12 article by Beth Daley)
The river groups have been meeting periodically with the KLP board since September 2011. Why did they not invite the public ?
The first PUBLIC KLP hearing was in July 2013. If they were truly interested in intelligent, respectful conversations the public would be included from day one. Five years is a long time; Many only learned about the issue in the last year.Many have requested  from KLP a breakdown ratepayers how each alternative would affect their monthly bill. The people of Kennebunk deserve this information from the KLP board, which has a fiduciary duty to represent them, first and foremost. Surely  Maine Rivers has many years
of experience with this type of analysis (dam removals), so they would know how to find ACCURATE numbers to assist with
an informed decision. All we hear is it will cost MILLIONS, so we must remove the dams. (fear sells)

I for one do not believe the numbers that have been put out there. The latest Wright – Pierce report showed a mysterious decrease in the projected cost of replacement power if the dams are removed, via a vis the prior report. A resident calculated keeping the dams might cost a couple of cans of coffee per year.
I believe keeping the dams will actually pay, rather than cost us, in the long term. (Think inflation hedge). That says nothing about increasing our reliability of supply. If we have blackouts due to a very hot summer
every little bit helps.

Ward Hansen,

Kennebunk

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To DAM or not to DAM, it’s all about the FISH

The KLPD trustees have voted to cease generating electricity and will issue a Notice of Intent (NOI)… one year prior to the filing date based on one alternative recommended by Wright Pierce (W-P) consulting engineers. The Federal (Government) Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) requires KLPD to renew its license every 40 years. However, the bureaucracy of our government is so slow and onerous, review takes 5 years before the license is given. Once the NOI is filed they will talk to FERC about relinquishing the license, the reality is the KLPD trustees just want to remove the dams!
Because the regulatory licenses are for 40 years, hydropower economics is based on long term costs. Funding grants for efficient energy production (identified as Class 1 facilities) are based on 40 year projections of costs and revenue. The Federal government makes grants and low rate loans available to the utility industry. Brokers deal in Clean Energy Credits, buying credits from Class 1 hydropower utilities and selling credits to utilities that must meet the regulations to purchase 30% renewable energy.
The W-P feasibility report did not project the [power purchasing] costs over the next 46 years (2016-2062) in the recommended alternative to ceasing operations and removing the dams. W-P did not add the lost avoided cost (the revenue not generated by the dams) estimated at $5,648,000 over the next 40 years (2022-2062). The real cost for removing the dams and losing the revenue the generators no longer produce totals $7,970,202.
Our three dams will be removed if (a) the financial value is not greater than the costs (including expenses for relicensing) and (b) they do not meet FERC requirements to maintain clean, efficient energy and provide for fish passage when justified.
The recent election of Dan Bartilucci for KLPD was a grass roots campaign resulting in a 2 to 1 mandate from Kennebunk voters to save the dams. The trustees voted to relinquish the license the very next day, before Mr. Bartilucci could be present at the July Board meeting. Now, the KLPD Trustees wants the Town of Kennebunk to take over the responsibility of retaining or losing the dams.
A ”facilitated” group of residents (Dam or not to Dam) have met in an effort to find a middle ground. These meetings provided the inspiration for another alternative. The February, 2011 ALDEN Research Laboratory, Inc. report, Fish Restoration Drivers and Passage Options for Kennebunk Light & Power Hydropower Facilities suggests an alternative option based on fish, or the lack thereof.
The Alden report found: “Other than a small-scale, unpublished monitoring study by the Wells Reserve in 2009, there are very few data available…” and “This study was designed to determine the species present in the Mousam River estuary. Samples were collected with fyke nets in May, June, July, and September, 2009. The predominant species collected were 444 invasive crabs. Of the diadromous species that may be targeted for passage at the 3 KLPD dams, a total of; 2 blueback herring, 6 alewife, 1 American shad, and 17 American eel were collected. Although these results may be useful for establishing presence or absence of species in the lower estuarine portions of the river, they do not indicate that there are sufficient numbers of diadromous species moving in the Mousam River to warrant the installation of fish passage structures at the dams.” If there are no fish in the Mousam, what would use a fish ladder? No conservation group would want to be associated with a fish ladder “bridge to nowhere!”
In considering the ALDEN report and eliminating the $2,869,000 cost of a fish ladder from the (3/15/2016) W-P alternative to seek a new license, there is a new alternative. The remaining costs for a new license is estimated at $5,700,000. Then add $500,000 as a budget for a new study to determine the current presence of diadromous species in the Mousam and provide for the construction of a fish attraction pond below the Kesslen dam (allowing for fish trucking, a common practice by the state). As explained by ALDEN, the new study would determine “…the quality and extent of spawning/rearing habitat and determination of the ultimate number of target species that the river reach can support.”
This new alternative a new license with “Fish for a Healthy Mousam River”, would result in a positive Net Worth of $683,000 (total cost of $6,200,000 and revenues of $6,883,000).
One must look realistically at the unique characteristics of the Mousam River including its 11 dams. The fifth dam at Estes Lake was created as a catch basin for hazardous wastes from Sanford’s tanning industry. If its owner was forced to remove this dam it would expose the hazardous wastes in the sediment, creating a Super Fund site and the resultant costs. The long term economics do not support removing dams on the Mousam River.
Let’s renovate the hydropower generators, stock the Mousam River with fish and promote access to the ponding above all three dams, include docks and boat ramps. Then I can invite my fishing friends to put their fishing and recreation dollars into Kennebunk’s economy instead of the Grand Lake Stream’s economy. Let’s work with the Economic Development Committee and Selectmen. There is an alternative and the Town of Kennebunk has to pull together to KEEP OUR DAMS.

Albert Kolff, Kennebunk, ME. 6/19/2016