Saturday, July 28, 2007

FOSL Photos

All of the photos taken by Friends of Sebago Lake depicting the shoreline's condition as of 7/07 can be found at foslphotos.blogspot.com or clicking here.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Some Maine Dam History

Richard Fecteau: A little dam history
Friday, July 27, 2007 - Bangor Daily News

If we really need "green power" so badly then we might as well rebuild the Edwards Dam across the Kennebec River in Augusta. Sound absurd? Well it is no more absurd than promoting industrial wind-power development in the protected mountain areas of Maine.

The Land Use Regulation Commission created mountain protection areas above 2,700 feet in 1972 for the simple reason that industrial development was not environmentally acceptable in the fragile alpine and subalpine areas of the Maine mountains.

The current rush to develop industrial wind power in the Maine mountains is reminiscent of the rush to build large hydroelectric dams on Maine rivers during the first half of the last century. Twentieth century politicians saw hydroelectric dams as a sign of progress and economic development much as politicians today see industrial wind-power development as progressive and economically rewarding.

In 1922, the Bangor Hydro-Electric Co. got legislative approval from Maine politicians to dam the Union River above Ellsworth and create 13,000-acre Graham Lake by flooding parts of three towns. Land was purchased under the threat of eminent domain, roads were closed and work started on an earthen dam to impound the river four miles above the center of Ellsworth. Impounding the river to create Graham Lake was such a rush job that Bangor-Hydro never even cut the trees about to be drowned. In the spring of 1923, the impounded waters breached the hastily built earthen dam and flooded all of downtown Ellsworth, whole buildings were swept away that crashed into and broke steel bridges off their abutments along the Union River on Rt. 1 and Main Street. Property damage totaled almost $8 million, at the time the most expensive disaster in Maine history. Lawsuits entailed, which took more than two years to settle and, in the end, the electric utility ratepayers footed the bill. This event marked the end of Ellsworth’s prominence as a shipping center for Down East Maine.

In 1949, Central Maine Power Co. got permission from Maine politicians to dam the Dead River and create 20,000-acre Flagstaff lake for "the public benefit of hydroelectric power generation". Private property was purchased under the threat of eminent domain with legislative approval. Parts of five towns were flooded, three villages had to be moved, along with all the graves in the local cemeteries.

This time the politicians required that the trees be cut before flooding commenced. The brush was burned in immense fires that got out of control and burned out anyone that had dared to resist the political power of CMP. Property owners that had resisted selling to CMP and that were not burned out by the fires were flooded out when the waters held back by the new dam rose during the spring of 1950. The Long Falls Dam, now owned by Florida Power and Light Co. that impounds Flagstaff lake, has never produced electricity, yet it still costs the electric utility ratepayers of FPL almost $1 million per year.

These two examples of political will to put private profits above the public and environmental costs of promoting industrial development can still happen in Maine.

Gov. Baldacci , in the July 12 BDN: "Maine is prepared to host thousands of megawatts of generation capacity from wind and biomass" to serve southern New England’s "insatiable appetite for energy."

Gov. Baldacci has also created a task force to study wind power siting in Maine. This study commission is mostly made up of wind industry employees, consultants and their political supporters.

Corporate interest in industrial wind power has much more to do with profits from taxpayer and ratepayer subsidies than the perceived benefits of "green power." If Maine politicians really want the environmental benefits of being "green," then they should start seriously promoting energy conservation before promoting ill-conceived industrial wind-power development in the protected mountain areas of Maine.

Richard Fecteau is a resident of Farmington.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Good News for Another River

Utility blasts its Oregon dam to make way for fish

PORTLAND, Oregon (Reuters) - The largest dam removal in the Pacific Northwest in 40 years began on Tuesday with blasts of 4,000 pounds of explosives, the dam's owner, Portland General Electric, said.

Eight feet of the 47-foot-tall Marmot Dam was removed by Tuesday afternoon and over the next two months there will be five more blasts, along with jackhammers working daily, company spokesman Mark Fryburg said.

"Today, this partnership took a great step toward restoring a breathtaking river for fish, wildlife and people," Portland General Electric CEO and President Peggy Fowler said in a statement.

"We celebrate the future of a watershed that will provide unimpeded salmon and steelhead passage from the slopes of Mt. Hood to the Pacific Ocean."

The Marmot Dam on the Sandy River about 40 miles east of Portland was built almost 100 years ago along with the nearby 16-foot-high Little Sandy Dam, which will be destroyed next summer, the utility said.

Removing the two dams will allow the Sandy to flow freely from Mt. Hood to the Columbia River.

Portland General Electric, the biggest utility in Oregon, is spending $17 million to remove the two dams in coordination with 23 environmental, governmental and civic organizations.

When the dams were built, they ruined a natural fish run that biologists say the fish will rediscover and repopulate once the dams are removed, Fryburg said.

The river is home to winter steelhead, spring Chinook and coho salmon, all listed on the federal Endangered Species Act, Portland General Electric said.

"Steelhead and salmon need free-flowing rivers to survive," said Mike Myrick, a member of the Sandy River Chapter of Northwest Steelheaders. "Removal of Marmot Dam is a historic moment in salmon recovery taking place in the backyard of metropolitan Portland."

The dam removal will take 22 megawatts of power generation capacity from Portland General, leaving it with hydro capacity of 487 megawatts.

The Marmot Dam has a fish ladder but once the dam is destroyed, the fish will be able to pass without a ladder made by humans, Fryburg said.
---

The six tiny hydro dams on the Presumpscot River produce in total less than 10 megawatts. They impound and flood nearly all of the Presumpscot River from Westbrook to Sebago Lake. None are planned for removal.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Hayden Bog -- Destroyed

The following photos, taken on July 22, 2007 by Doug Watts and Roger Wheeler, depict the destruction of Hayden Bog at Long Point on Sebago Lake in Standish, Maine due to artificially maintained water levels at Sebago Lake.















These photographs depict a southern Maine springfed peat bog being destroyed in July, 2007. Normally, at this time of year, most of the water you seen in the pictures would not be present. Instead of wide pools of water, the bog would feature a narrow, deep brook with noticeable current, joined at spots by smaller brooklets. Because Hayden Bog is just slightly above the elevation of Sebago Lake, which it flows into, the artificially high water levels of Sebago now act as a "dam" at the mouth of Hayden Bog and prevent the bog from reaching its normal (low) summer water level. The result is the conversion of the bog's wetted area into enormous masses of filamentous algae which prevents virtually anything from living in the water, including normal, native aquatic plants and aquatic insects. The bottom of the bog is carpeted with thick plumes of pink, green and grey filamentous algae.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Comparison



Songo Beach, July 21, 2007. No beach.



Same place. 1960s. 50 feet of beach.

Comparison




Songo Beach, Sebago Lake State Park, July 21, 2007. Lake level 265.3 msl.



Same spot. Summer, 1960s.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

FOSL Newsletter, Summer 2007

No FERC license still - Last January DEP asked SAPPI to withdraw their State water quality certification application for the Eel Weir dam hydro project. SAPPI complied. This has delayed issuance of a FERC license for at least a year. SAPPI must reapply next January. According to DEP, the licensing delay is necessary because a lower river flow model must be developed that reflects the changing condition of the lower river. In 2001 the Smelt Hill Dam was removed coinciding with a substantial reduction in waste discharges from the SAPPI mill in Westbrook. These two changes have improved dissolved oxygen in the lower river. Marina leadership on Sebago Lake has complained that minimum flows from Sebago are too high and this causes lake levels to drop below the lake level management plan(LLMP) . DEP desiring to please the Marinas now wants to reduce minimum outflows to a level where minimum class C river standards can still be met. Class C minimum standard is the dissolved oxygen which can still support life. What does this mean? Sebago Lake’s water level average will increase. The quality of the lower Presumpscot as well as the upper Presumpscot will in drier times be of a poorer quality. This will place an unnecessary stress on the fishery.

FOSL supports a Flow Model- FOSL has mailed a letter to FERC outlining why a Sebago Lake flow model is necessary. The letter is in support of PWD’s flow model request for the Final FERC EA.

Steve Kasprazak also wrote a letter in support of a flow model. A flow model with real time monitoring would provide flood warnings and information for making decision that could help ameliorate a flood. The Patriot’s Day storm was a scary reminder of how poorly this lake is managed for flood prevention. Steve’s letter clearly shows how fast Sebago Lake can rise from a moderate 3 day rain event. A rainfall doubling the Patriot’s day storm could have sent the lake 1 to 2 feet above the dam. A rain which hit Southern Maine a year ago could have sent the lake level at least four to five feet over the dam. Because of the LLMP Sebago Lake is at significantly more risk of severe flooding. These two letters can be read on the internet. Go to FERC elibray, enter p-2984 in the docket box and then adjust the date range from January 1, 2007 to the present.

More Erosion Damage

Erosion damage was severe on many west shore properties. Long Beach and the shorefronts just north of the Northwest River were hit hard by the Patriot’s Day storm,

The damage occurred when levels were one foot below full pond. FOSL has informed FERC and other agencies of the damage.

Let’s Blog

Friendsofsebago@blogspot.com

All FOSL members should receive the username and password. These may be passed on to trusted people. The blog will also be open to other lake organizations like ourselves.

Username________________ password__________________

New FOSL poster is available. This poster has 3 then and now beach comparisons. Email friendsofsebago@yahoo.com if anyone would like a copy(ies). The web address on the poster(oops) should be www.friendsofsebago.org

An Agreement with SAPPI and River organizations:

An agreement with Friends of the Presumpscot(FOPR) and SAPPI have been reached for removing Cumberland Mills dam and creating fish passage on other dams. FOSL in an intervenor in the lower river dam relicensing and will comment on these events. FOSL does not share the perceived enthusiasm for this agreement for many reasons. From experience we learned that SAPPI does not honor agreements. The time frame is so distant that we have to wonder if SAPPI will even exist in Westbrook in ten years or 30 years as projected in the agreement. FOSL believes that according to law, upstream and downstream fishways should be present on all dams of the Presumpscot. FOSL was completely left out of the negotiations and was not even aware they were occurring.

President’s message: The present LLMP is bad for beaches, flood prevention, lake wetlands, the ecosystem and water quality. The FERC proposed LLMP is a slight improvement in that the maximum target point has been dropped 6 inches to 266.15 msl but accepting this new plan dooms Sebago Lake to a future of harmful unnatural regulation. We can not support any plan which does not restore the world’s finest inland lake beaches and halt shoreline erosion. Also, we can not allow any plan which places riparian owners at an elevated risk of flooding. In addition, we can not accept a plan which is destroying lake wetlands. The constant lake levels during the growing season and the reduced annual fluctuation has eliminated the wetlands ability to filter and absorb nutrients from water shed runoff. The Songo River and its wetlands through which 60% of Sebago Lake’s input drains through has radically changed since the 1980’s. Erosion has made the river 20 to 40 feet wider. Many oxbows have been cut off. Instead of a sandy bottom river it is mucky and silty. Water clarity is poor. Vast patches of pond weed fill the river. The regulated lake levels are just what the milfoil needs to proliferate. The ancient oxbow wetlands never dry out in the summer so organic matter is not oxidized and safely reduced. The river and wetlands instead of being a filter for pollutants are a source of pollution for Sebago Lake. This scenario is evident in other smaller wetlands around Sebago Lake. The rooted vegetation of Haydn Bog is disappearing and large floating mats of algae drift into Sebago Lake. The goods news is that the scientific literature is filling with studies and a call for scientific investigation on the damaging effects of unnatural lake regulation. Other lake groups on China Lake and Cobbossee Lakes are presenting the same message as FOSL. I encourage everyone to read our 45 page letter to DEP at (www.friendofsebago.org) and spread the word how the DEP violated the Clean Water Act. Again, FOSL greatly appreciates your loyalty and support.

Important: Annual Meeting Date: Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Location- 27 Long Point Road, Standish. Same place as last year.

Dinner will start at 6 pm.

Please send membership and donations to

Friends of Sebago Lake, P.O. box 561, Fryeburg, Maine 04037

$10 individual $25 family other __________

Name_________________ tel:_______________ email:______________

Address_______________________________________________________

Monday, July 16, 2007

Baby Humpback Whale



Baby Humpback Whale, 25 feet long, Stellwagen Bank, Massachusetts Bay, Friday, July 13, 2007. Photograph by Douglas Watts, Friends of Sebago Lake.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Annual meeting

To all fosl members,
I have failed to put an annual meeting together for July because so much is happening. Also, I will be in Tucson for the first week in August. I thought we could repeat the location on Long Point. That seemed to work. Here are the possibilities . Aug 10, 11, 12, 14. Please give feedback if you want. I have ot make a decision by the 24 th . My email is friendsofsebago@yahoo.com We have many important decisions to make.
Roger

Thursday, July 12, 2007

How Not To Restore A River ...

The proposed Presumpscot River Settlement Agreement is a case study in how not to restore a river and its native aquatic species.

Why?

Because the Agreement is built on politics, money and politics and money. Not on what native fish and aquatic animals need to survive.

It is a feel good salve. A one day headline grabber. A pat ourselves on the backer. A get a few grants out of this-er.

It is not about restoring a river or restoring its native fish. Nor will it.

You can't say you are restoring a river but at the same time legally prevent its restoration for the next 10-30 years.

That is the case here.

A "Restoration Plan" which legally bars fish from swimming up the Presumpscot River for 10 years cannot be said to help fish in their efforts to swim up the Presumpscot River.

You can't provide passage for fish at a dam by denying them passage at the same dam.

For the next 10 years.

That just makes no sense.

Especially if you are a Presumpscot River Atlantic salmon.

Presumpscot River Settlement

The full text of the Settlement Framework Agreement is here.

The Portland Press-Herald news story of Wednesday July 11 is of little use.

Bottom lines:

1. The proposed Agreement places a legal prohibition on fish passage at any dam on the Presumpscot River until 2016 (Saccarappa), 2026 (Mallison Falls), 2031 (Little Falls) and 2036 (Gambo Falls). And no fish passage ever (Dundee Falls). The entire Presumpscot is only 24 miles long from tidewater to Sebago Lake. Without dams, an Atlantic salmon could swim up the Presumpscot River from Casco Bay to Sebago Lake in one day. Under this proposed Agreement, it will take an Atlantic salmon 30 years to swim just 7 miles, from Westbrook to Windham. Under this proposed Agreement, Atlantic salmon will never be able to swim more than 10 miles up the Presumpscot River. And never to their native home in Sebago Lake.

2. The proposed Agreement would violate Maine water quality law and the Clean Water Act. -- the same laws the State of Maine went to the U.S. Supreme Court in 2006 to defend. And won. On the Presumpscot River. At these same dams. For these same fish species. The duplicitousness of the State of Maine knows no bounds.

3.The proposed Agreement pushes the job of restoring the Presumpscot River's native fisheries to the next generation by relieving everyone in positions of influence today from having to do anything on the Presumpscot River for the next 10 years. This is because the Agreement would legally prohibit any fish from swimming over the Saccarappa Dam until 2016 at the earliest.

4. Even if hundreds of thousands of sea-run fish are below the Saccarappa Dam in 2009 or 2011, this Agreement would legally prohibit them from swimming upstream until 2016 or later.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Final letter to FERC

note from Roger; This letter is the culmination of the FOSL work of June. Steve has a letter into FERC which is the backbone for facts of the FOSL letter.

July 5, 2007

Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

888 First Street, NE

Washington, DC 20426

Re: project 2984 Eel Weir Dam

Dear Secretary,

The Friends of Sebago Lake ask that you reconsider the FERC decision to dismiss the Portland Water District’s request for a Water Flow model for the Sebago Lake watershed.

The reason for this dismissal in the FERC Final EA P-2984 was the FERC concurrence with arguments by SAPPI. FERC stated on page 20 of the Comments and Response section:

“We question the feasibility and value of a hydrologic model. “

“Development of any model should not be the sole responsibility of S.D. Warren, but, rather, should be a joint effort by both governmental and non-governmental agencies.”

The Friends of Sebago Lake categorically disagree with the above FERC statements. A flow model with real time data would be invaluable in ameliorating damaging flooding and protecting public safety of the Presumpscot RiverSebago Lake watershed. Below is a list of factors that complicate and increase the difficulty in predicting and preventing flooding. These factors listed below justify the need for the PWD requested Flow Model.

Ø The present LLMP and FERC’s proposed LLMP in the 2005 Final EA will maintain water levels within one foot of full pond for about 3 months every year. This is a major change since 1987.

Ø The Final 2005 EA’s higher allowances for the August target lake levels will put lake levels every year from 15 to 21 inches under full pond at the start of hurricane season. This is a major change since 1987.

Ø Storage capacity of Sebago Lake has been reduced by 40% since the 1987 change according to FERC. The purpose of the 1878 dam was to safely store the spring runoff and regulate the flow uniformly throughout the year. The policy for safe storage of the spring runoff has been abandoned.

Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary

Page two

July 5, 2007

Ø All lakes of the Songo River watershed are kept at full pond after the spring melt. There is little storage capacity for lakes above Sebago Lake and thus flow is instantaneous.

Ø Sebago Lake watershed is very hilly. Runoff can be rapid.

Increased urbanization of the area has added to runoff potential.

Ø Eel Weir Dam gates are shut during any significant rain event to reduce flooding on the Presumpscot.

Ø Sebago Lake could rise several feet above full pond during a high precipitation event under emergency flow policy because gates would remain shut to protect downstream interests.

Why does the DEP justify and conduct a lower river flow model for reducing minimum flows and then ignores the need for a flow model for the rest of the watershed whose purpose is to protect public safety and property?

Feb16, 2007 Letter from Dana Murch to Tom Howard of Sappi (FERC submittal 20070216-5005) outlines reasons for a new Presumpscot Flow Model. As stated in the letter because of changes to SAPPI’s pollution discharges and the removal of Smelt Hill dam the Presumpscot River dissolved oxygen has improved below the mill.

The purpose of this model is to determine how much river flow reduction can occur and still meet Class C river dissolved oxygen standards. This lower flow model is being driven by the Sebago Lake high water advocates who wish to insure that Sebago Lake water levels are maintained well within the target range during extreme droughts.

FOSL does not understand why the cost of this lower river model which economically benefits a few special interests on Sebago Lake and delays the license for a year is justified by the State as important and yet the State and FERC have ignored PWD’s flow model request for the Sebago Lake watershed of which the purpose is to protect public safety, property, and water quality. The proposed PWD model with real time information would help decisions makers ameliorate a damaging and dangerous flood event. Any new

reduction in outflows dictated by a lower river DO flow model will

further reduce the storage capacity and increase the water level average of Sebago Lake.

Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary

Page three

July 5, 2007

FOSL would like to incorporate, in this FOSL request, the June 25, 2007 letter of Stephen Kasprzak to FERC which thoroughly details the recent St. Patrick’s Day Storm, the resulting responses by SAPPI and the lake level consequences. The resulting rapid 15 inch rise of lake levels because of a moderate 3 day rain event is a perfect example of why a flow model is necessary. Weather forecasters knew 5 days prior, on April 11, Maine was a target of this large storm and no action was taken by SAPPI. Shorefront owners were fortunate that lake levels exceeded the dam spillway for only a brief time.

Long Beach and other properties suffered significant erosion and damage to shorefronts during the Patrick’s day storm( See FOSL appendix 1). Shorefront owners have lost at least 3 vertical feet of protective upland beach since 1987. Storms at near full pond level are exacting a damaging toll because of the higher lake level and the increasing consequential shoreline vulnerability. SAPPI has violated the flowage easements twice in the last 9 years because of moderate multi day rain events. During these violations extensive damage to shorefronts did occur and sedimentation of shoreline silts and clays caused extensive lake turbidity. In addition since 1998,SAPPI’s lake management has exceeded the spillway 4 additional times. Would it not be wiser for the State and SAPPI to invest in a flow model for the Sebago Lake Watershed where real Sebago Lake shoreline destruction is presently occurring and where the potential for even greater damage exists because of the present management plan?

A Sebago Lake flood exceeding the dam spillway would, as the water

rises against the shoreline, exponentially release many forms of pollutants into Sebago Lake. According to PWD data, water quality of Sebago Lake has deteriorated since 1990. FOSL believes that significant reasons for this are:

1. Wetlands no longer function as efficiently to purify watershed runoff because they never dry out anymore in the growing season.

2. Sedimentation of shoreline soils caused by the combination of high water and storm action is resulting in increased lake turbidity.

3. Significant nutrients are being introduced from eroded shoreline soils and degraded wetlands.

4. Loss of the lake and beach natural interface. The natural interface between the lake and land is rapidly being replaced with rip rap armoring resulting in the reduction of filtering of nutrients that enter the lake by land and air.

Unnatural water level management has reduced the resilience of the lake to withstand degradation by watershed and internal pollutants. The PWD flow

Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary

Page four

July 25, 2007

model would help to alleviate severe flooding and thus reduce pollution loading and further water degradation.

The Presumpscot River hydroelectric generation facilities will generate hundreds of millions of dollars for the economic benefit of SAPPI over the term of the next license. The use of this water is free. SD Warren Company owned by SAPPI has on numerous occasions legally argued for and won the right to significantly alter the flowage of Sebago Lake from its prior 1987 management. They have economically benefited from their legal victories while the lake and residents have suffered. The cost of a Sebago Lake Flow model with real time monitoring would be a very small fraction of their hydro earnings and a fraction of the damage incurred by riparian property owners. For public safety, property damage prevention and water quality protection we can not afford to live in a poorly monitored watershed feeding an impounded lake maintained without adequate storage capacity that drains into a heavily impounded river with a history of recent damaging flooding events.

We respectfully ask your reconsideration and require that Sebago Lake be fully monitored and protected by a Flow Model with real time data.

Sincerely,

Roger Wheeler

President, Friends of Sebago Lake

Cc:

Steven Kasprzak

Douglas Watts

Nathan Whalen-PWD

Paul Hunt-PWD

Cumberland County Emergency Management

Dana Murch-DEP

Lake Region Weekly

Portland Press Herald

Al Althenn ( Friends of China Lake)

FOSL directors

Maxine Pray (Maine Lake Watch)

Wayne Rivet-Bridgton News

Governor John Baldacci

Tom Howard-SAPPI

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

FOSL Letter to FERC, 7/5/07

July 5, 2007

Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
888 First Street, NE
Washington, DC 20426

Re: Eel Weir Dam

Dear Secretary,

The Friends of Sebago Lake ask that you reconsider the FERC decision to dismiss the Portland Water District’s request for a Water Flow model for the Sebago Lake watershed.

The reason for this dismissal in the FERC Final EA P-2984 was the FERC concurrence with arguments by SAPPI. FERC stated on page 20 of the Comments and Response section:

“We question the feasibility and value of a hydrologic model. Development of any model should not be the sole responsibility of S.D. Warren, but, rather, should be a joint effort by both governmental and non-governmental agencies.”

The Friends of Sebago Lake categorically disagree with the above FERC statements. A flow model with real time data would be invaluable in ameliorating damaging flooding and protecting public safety of the Presumpscot River–Sebago Lake watershed.

Below is a list of factors that complicate and increase the difficulty in predicting and preventing flooding. These factors listed below justify the need for the PWD requested Flow Model.

The present LLMP and FERC’s proposed LLMP in the 2005 Final EA will maintain water levels within one foot of full pond for about 3 months every year. This is a major change since 1987.

The Final 2005 EA’s higher allowances for the August target lake levels will put lake levels every year from 15 to 21 inches under full pond at the start of hurricane season. This is a major change since 1987.

Storage capacity of Sebago Lake has been reduced by 40% since the 1987 change according to FERC. The purpose of the 1878 dam was to safely store the spring runoff and regulate the flow uniformly throughout the year. The policy for safe storage of the spring runoff has been abandoned.

All lakes of the Songo River watershed are kept at full pond after the spring melt. There is little storage capacity for lakes above Sebago Lake and thus flow is instantaneous.

Sebago Lake watershed is very hilly. Runoff can be rapid. Increased urbanization of the area has added to runoff potential.

Eel Weir Dam gates are shut during any significant rain event to reduce flooding on the Presumpscot.

Sebago Lake could rise several feet above full pond during a high precipitation event under emergency flow policy because gates would remain shut to protect downstream interests.

Why the DEP lower river flow model for reducing minimum flows and no flow model for the rest of the watershed to protect public safety and property?

A February 16, 2007 Letter from Dana Murch of Maine DEP to Tom Howard of Sappi (FERC submittal 20070216-5005) outlines reasons for a new Presumpscot Flow Model. As stated in the letter because of changes to SAPPI’s pollution discharges and the removal of Smelt Hill dam the Presumpscot River dissolved oxygen has improved below the mill.

The purpose of this model is to determine how much river flow reduction can occur and still meet Class C river dissolved oxygen standards. This lower flow model is being driven by the Sebago Lake high water advocates who wish to insure that Sebago Lake water levels are maintained well within the target range during extreme droughts.

FOSL does not understand why the cost of this lower river model which economically benefits a few special interests on Sebago Lake and delays the license for a year is justified by the State as important and yet the State and FERC have ignored PWD’s flow model request for the Sebago Lake watershed of which the purpose is to protect public safety, property, and water quality.

The proposed PWD model with real time information would help decisions makers ameliorate a damaging and dangerous flood event. Any new reduction in outflows dictated by a lower river DO flow model will further reduce the storage capacity and increase the water level average of Sebago Lake.

FOSL would like to incorporate, in this FOSL response, the June 25, 2007 letter of Stephen Kasprzak to FERC which thoroughly details the recent Patriot's Day Storm, the resulting responses by SAPPI and the lake level consequences. The resulting rapid 15 inch rise of lake levels because of a moderate 3 day rain event is a perfect example of why a flow model is necessary.

Weather forecasters knew 5 days prior, on April 11, that Maine was a target of this large storm. No action was taken by SAPPI. Shorefront owners were fortunate that lake levels exceeded the dam spillway for only a brief time.

Long Beach and other properties suffered significant erosion and damage to shorefronts during the Patrick’s day storm( See FOSL appendix 1). Shorefront owners have lost at least 3 vertical feet of protective upland beach since 1987. Storms at near full pond level are exacting a damaging toll because of the higher lake level and the increasing consequential shoreline vulnerability.

SAPPI has violated the flowage easements twice in the last 9 years because of moderate multi day rain events. During these violations extensive damage to shorefronts did occur and sedimentation of shoreline silts and clays caused extensive lake turbidity.

Would it not be wiser for the State and SAPPI to invest in a flow model for the Sebago Lake Watershed where real Sebago Lake shoreline destruction is presently occurring and where the potential for even greater damage exists because of the present management plan?

A Sebago Lake flood exceeding the dam spillway would, as the water rises against the shoreline, exponentially release many forms of pollutants into Sebago Lake. According to PWD data, water quality of Sebago Lake has deteriorated since 1990. FOSL believes that significant reasons for this are:

1. Wetlands no longer function as efficiently to purify watershed runoff because they never dry out anymore in the growing season.

2. Sedimentation of shoreline soils caused by the combination of high water and storm action is resulting in increased lake turbidity.

3. Significant nutrients are being introduced from eroded shoreline soils and degraded wetlands.

4. Loss of the lake and beach natural interface. The natural interface between the lake and land is rapidly being replaced with rip rap armoring resulting in the reduction of filtering of nutrients that enter the lake by land and air.

Unnatural water level management has reduced the resilience of the lake to withstand degradation by watershed and internal pollutants. The PWD flow model would help to alleviate severe flooding and thus reduce pollution loading and further water degradation.

The Presumpscot River hydroelectric generation facilities will generate hundreds of millions of dollars for the economic benefit of SAPPI over the term of the next license. The use of this water is free.

SD Warren Company owned by SAPPI has on numerous occasions legally argued for and won the right to significantly alter the flowage of Sebago Lake from its prior 1987 management.

They have economically benefited from their legal victories while the lake and residents have suffered. The cost of a Sebago Lake Flow model with real time monitoring would be a very small fraction of their hydro earnings and a fraction of the damage incurred by riparian property owners.

For public safety, property damage prevention and water quality protection we can not afford to live in a poorly monitored watershed feeding an impounded lake maintained without adequate storage capacity that drains into a heavily impounded river with a history of recent damaging flooding events.

We respectfully ask your reconsideration and require that Sebago Lake be fully monitored and protected by a Flow Model with real time data.

Sincerely,


Roger Wheeler
President, Friends of Sebago Lake

cc:
Steven Kasprzak
Douglas Watts
Nathan Whalen-PWD
Paul Hunt-PWD
Cumberland County Emergency Management
Dana Murch-DEP
Lake Region Weekly
Portland Press Herald
Al Althenn ( Friends of China Lake)
FOSL directors
Maxine Pray (Maine Lake Watch)
Wayne Rivet-Bridgton News
Governor John Baldacci
Tom Howard-SAPPI

Friday, July 6, 2007

Draft Mission Statement

No other single act pollutes Sebago Lake, diminishes its biodiversity, and disrupts the populations of its flora and fauna more than the present rigid lake level regulation.

No other single act has produced the volume of shoreline erosion and sedimentation of Sebago Lake water than the present artificial lake level management.

No other single act has disrupted the fisheries of Sebago Lake with cascading effects from the far inland reaches of the watershed to the Atlantic Ocean than fragmentation of this inland water drainage by impassable dams and flow regulation which run counter to the seasonal cycles of nature.

The mission of Friends of Sebago Lake is to promote scientific inquiry and investigation of the impacts of this unnatural regulation of Sebago Lake and the Presumpscot River.

Through education, information, and reliance on the will of human nature to rise above politics and to do what is sound, the Friends of Sebago Lake strive to protect and restore Sebago Lake.