Another Fish Kill Near Brookfield Management Dam Worries Biologist

Jul 27, 2018

A biologist for the Downeast Salmon Federation is monitoring what he says is another sizeable fish kill on the Union River below a Brookfield Asset Management dam in Ellsworth.

Fisheries biologist Brett Ciccotelli says that he was alerted to the fish kill Friday afternoon and arrived to find hundreds of dead and dying baby alewives, also known as river herring, near the bottom of the Leonard Lake Dam.

"If it runs like this for another 40 years we won't have any fish, so we hope that this river gets the update to the dam that it needs to make sure that we have this fishery around for the ground fish in the ocean, and for the fishermen who need bait, and for all of the good these fish play in our environment around here," said Ciccotelli.

On Friday afternoon Brookfield spokesperson, Samantha Edwards, said that she could not confirm reports of the fishkill, and that Brookfield staff conducted shoreline surveys earlier in the day Friday and did not observe any mortalities. However, the company is moving forward with its voluntary downstream fish migration procedure, which includes "prioritizing units which have been demonstrated in three separate studies to be safer for downstream fish passage," and a temporary shutdown, if the company does confirm the fish kill. 

Ciccotelli reported a similar fish kill at the same site a month ago. At the time a company spokesperson told the Bangor Daily News that the situation had been misrepresented and that the vast majority of the fish had made it through the dam safely.

The facility is currently up for relicensing by Brookfield.

Updated July 28, 2018 10:00 a.m.