On January 27, 2015, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), issued a letter to Black Bear Hydro, LLC, the owner of the Ellsworth Dam Project on the Union River documenting the fish kill as a violation of its license. This license expires in 2017 and is under consideration for renewal by FERC. State and Federal agencies have raised concerns to be addressed during the relicensing process about upstream and downstream passage at the dam. The FERC reports evidence of dead juvenile river herring and adult American eels at the base of the dam, below the turbines. The letter states “the downstream fishway was not operating properly and doubts whether it has been operated properly in the past.” According to summaries from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, over twenty years have passed without any evaluation of the dam’s effectiveness of safely transporting migrating fish downstream.
Make sure to check out the full letter here!