Photos: Summer's last cast

A family fishes at the Vernon Dam on the Connecticut River.

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WALPOLE, N.H. — While hydro facilities provide electricity, dams also are known to block aquatic passage, harm rivers and the critters that rely on them. The Wilder, Bellows Falls, and Vernon Dams started the process of securing new operating licenses in 2012. Final license applications were submitted in December 2020 and the owner, Great River Hydro, proposed operational changes for their three dams that will be a big win for the river – but they can still do more to protect this resource. 2021 is a critical year for all of us to speak up for our rivers in response to this license application. These licenses will be in place for the next 40-50 years. We have a once in a lifetime opportunity to move these three dams to more river and fish-friendly operations.

To find out more, join conservation partners from New Hampshire and Vermont for their virtual event: Hydropower Happy Hour on Tuesday, April 6 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. To register for this event, which is required to receive virtual link to join, visit

Speakers will include the Connecticut River Conservancy’s river steward, Kathy Urffer, applied river scientist for The Nature Conservancy, Katie Kennedy, and chair of the Connecticut River Joint Commissions’ FERC Working Group, Jim McClammer. Additional partners on this event include the Ashuelot River Local Advisory Commission, the Cheshire County Conservation District, the Sullivan County Conservation District, the Grafton County Conservation District, the Windham County Natural Resources Conservation District, and the White River Natural Resources Conservation District.

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