Monday, January 27, 2014


Is Al Gore really behind tearing down Exeter's Dam???
The Increasing Importance of River Restoration in Response to Climate Change

By Tim Purinton and Russ Cohen, Mass. Riverways Program

[The following article is adapted from “River Restoration and Dam Removal: Adapting to Climate Change”, which appeared in the September/October 2007 newsletter of the Mass. Association of Conservation Commissions.]

Conservation Commissions, along with land trusts, watershed associations and other resource protection advocates, have always been on the front line when it comes to protecting rivers and streams from the steady encroachment of development and land use change. The ongoing struggle of keeping up with landscape alterations is made even more difficult today by the sobering global warming forecasts for the region.

According to the Cambridge, MA-based Union of Concerned Scientists(UCS)’s report Confronting Climate Change in the U.S. Northeast, Massachusetts’ air temperatures are on the rise and may increase up to fourteen degrees Fahrenheit in the summer months by century’s end. Rainfall is also forecasted to increase, as is the frequency and severity of heavy rainfall-induced flooding and hot and dry weather-induced drought events. In other words, there’s a prediction of wetter wet periods and drier dry periods in the future that contrasts with historic weather patterns for the region of more-or-less even amounts of precipitation (about 3.5 inches) each month. Thus, the higher high flows and lower low flows in our rivers and streams caused by development and the proliferation of impervious surfaces, which already place our riverine organisms and ecosystems under significant stress, is predicted to be further exacerbated by the adverse impact of global warming-induced climate change. [Check out Water, Energy, and Climate Change, a recent EPA Watershed Academy  Iwebcast for a further discussion of these impacts, and suggested responses to mitigate the adverse impacts of climate change on rivers.]

Scientists from the UCS and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Changepredict that plant and animal species will seek to adapt to these changes by attempting to migrate to cooler areas. Rivers and vegetated riverbanks are critical corridors for migration and seasonal movement for fish and wildlife, and thus play an important role in their future survival. [Human communities will have to adapt too – see, e.g., Adaptation to Climate Change in the Northeast United States: Opportunities, Processes, Constraints.]

Although all of our rivers and streams are important, cold water and coastal streams provide unique aquatic habitat and support species under direct threat from global warming-induced climate change. [See, e.g., an EPA-produced brochure entitled Climate Change and Cold Water Fish: Is Trout Fishing An Endangered Sport?; Effects of Global Warming on Trout and Salmon in U.S. Streams, a report issued in 2002 by Defenders of Wildlife; and testimony presented to the U.S. Senate earlier this year by Senior Scientist Jack Williams of Trout Unlimited.] For example, Eastern Brook Trout need specific “coldwater” (68°F or lower) conditions to thrive, especially in the summer. And the once ubiquitous alewife could face even more dramatic declines as ocean temperatures rise and decreased summer stream flows impair juvenile habitat.

Massachusetts Rivers are highly fragmented and have the dubious achievement (largely due to the state’s prominent role in the Industrial Revolution of the 19 th and early 20 th centuries) of one of the highest concentrations of dams per linear mile of stream in the nation. Dams not only block or impair upstream fish passage, but also raise water temperatures, inundate spawning habitat and create impediments to the migration of juvenile fish. In other words, dams present a significant impediment to the ability of our aquatic and other riverine organisms to cope with the effects of global warming-induced climate change. Add to this the more unpredictable precipitation and “flashier” streamflow patterns triggered by climate change, and the steady beat of lost open space, and the importance of river restoration becomes even more acute.

The removal of dams and other barriers to fish and wildlife movement in and along rivers and streams presents a real opportunity to enhance the ability of our riverine organisms and habitat to withstand the effects of climate change , as well as safeguard important infrastructure from severe flooding. While it has always been a good idea to preserve the connectivity of river and stream corridors and prevent habitat fragmentation by dams, dropped culverts and other barriers (see Riverways’ River Continuity web page to learn more about what we and others are doing to address this issue), it is now more important than ever that we keep these vital riverine “escape routes” open to enable trout and other sensitive species to find safe refuge in tenable habitats as they cope with the stream heating and other adverse impacts brought on by global warming.

Trout Unlimited (TU) and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) have each outlined conservation strategies to combat the impacts of global climate change and each has stressed the importance of reducing fragmentation. According to TU’s Conservation Vision, “In addition to protecting habitat…we must reconnect high quality habitats to upstream and downstream areas by increasing river flows and removing barriers to migration.” (Trout, The Journal of Coldwater Fisheries Conservation, Summer 2007). Groups like TU, TNC and Riverways take a multi-pronged approach to restoring connectivity, through restoration projects to remove or retrofit barriers, working to increase funding available for restoration (click here for one potential funding source), and working on policy initiatives to ensure that infrastructure is designed and maintained with the environment in mind.

Conservation Commissions can play a direct and beneficial role in mitigating the adverse impacts of global warming-induced climate change on riverine organisms and habitat by enabling the removal of unnecessary dams and other man-made barriers on and along rivers and streams . Such restoration projects can be initiated by land trusts and other landholding organizations, businesses and other private landowners as well as the municipalities themselves. To assist in the process of river restoration, the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will soon be issuing a guidance document that should facilitate commissions’ review and approval of dam removal projects (info on the document will likely be posted on DEP’s Wetlands web page once it’s issued). The guidance will make it clear that the restoration of natural riverine functions and values is a beneficial action, and that commissions will continue to have jurisdiction over the restored river corridor via the Riverfront Area and other applicable wetland resource areas. In the meantime, Conservation Commissions in the Towns of Plymouth, Wareham, Becket, Dalton, and Barre have understood the importance of dam removal and have already permitted pro-active dam and barrier removal projects to restore the integrity of their rivers and streams (click here for more info on these and similar projects). With new guidance from DEP, the hope is that many other cities and towns will follow, as will land trusts and other private landowners. Please contact Tim Purinton at or (617) 626-1542 for advice and/or assistance on a potential dam or other man-made barrier removal project.


Tuesday, January 21, 2014


In a recent response to Matt’s position on removal of the dam the writer claimed that removal of the dam was suppose to be part of the 2008 petition to study repairing the dam.  Anybody I talked to, and my memory, is that it was not.  The issue of dam removal did not come about until after 3/5’s of the voters passed the warrant article to study dam renovation.

The erroneous statements that all of the other issues Matt has concerns about have already been answered were answered in the River Study Committee Report. Matt read the report a couple of times and I read a couple of times and I could not find concrete answers to these question and concerns.  The study committee worked very hard to get this report out.  Whether I agree or disagree with the conclusions, I really respect their dedication and hard work; but, there is a lot of guess work in the report.

A study report is just that, looking at an issue and trying to come up with the best guesses as to what will happen to the river should the dam be taken down.  The only fact I believe we can count on is we won’t know until the dam comes down and what all of the ramifications will be may be too late.  If you haven’t noticed we are being pushed and pushed hard to tear down the dam; we should wait awhile longer and look at the conflicting reports as to what the ramifications will be and how we can deal with them.  Other than our citizens, water is Exeter only natural resource and we better get it right the first time.



To round out their anger management home work assignment they both had letters to the editors one claiming that Matt’s concern for the taxpayers of Exeter and raising questions about the dam removal that were not totally answered in the study report were already answered and Matt had not been paying attention during the past year.  It appeared to be a venomous personal attack that, in my opinion, sounded like something Griset is known for.

Brady was attacking me for not showing Frank more respect.  I don’t start out giving respect until the person who wants it has shown that he deserves it.  Under no circumstances does the square peg in a round hole on the board Frank deserve it.

As a selectman, going after the Town Manager and suing the Town, in my opinion is not commanding of respect.  Throwing digs at the board and trying to undermine them, in my opinion is not commanding of respect.  This is just the tip of the iceberg.

Brady likes to tout that he was a Coast Guard Officer, I’m not going to doubt that; I only question how good an officer he was.  In my opinion he does not understand leadership principles, he does not understand how to gain respect and he doesn’t seem to have a grasp of what is needed to work with people and move Exeter forward.

There is a reason some people in Exeter are referred to as the “lunatic fringe”

Monday, January 13, 2014


We know we have members of the lunatic fringe and free staters running around Exeter masquerading as the town Republican leadership; but we’ve known that for the last couple of years and steer away from them in the elections.

Now we are faced with a new issue and that is dam removal; if you haven’t noticed the issue of removing the dam is being rammed down our throats with such phrases as “restore the river to its natural state”, and “it will improve our water quality” and “it will reduce nitrogen in Grate Bay”.  The only one I haven’t heard is it will help us find the space ship that landed here in 1965.

Let’s make no mistakes; this issue of dam removal is political and getting personal.

The Chairman of the Board of Selectman, who is on record as wanting to tear down the dam, was recently quoted in the Exeter News Letter as complaining that there is no leadership on the Board.  I think he forgot that as Chairman he is the leadership of the Board, self evaluation is a good thing; but sometimes you shouldn’t publicize it, it makes you look bad.  Evidently he is distraught that he cannot deliver 3 votes on the board to push an agenda that will negatively affect our water supply.

It simply appears that we are being pushed too hard, too fast on such an important issue that will affect us well into the future.

The fact is the voters and taxpayers of Exeter, in 2008, voted by a 3/5’s margin to study rebuilding the dam, not tearing it down, then DES came in and asked us to stop what we were doing, they had a different or better idea and that was dam removal.

The decision will ultimately be made by the voters, who are well informed, and whatever they do the town will have to live with for generations to come, water vs. no water.  I have been told that much of our drinking water in the summer comes from the river, doesn’t that tell us something?

Sunday, January 12, 2014


I had a friend call me the other day about my last posting when I commented on what I saw and new about the raw sewerage going into the Exeter River and fish eating it.  He said he read something on a blog, I think it was called View from the Bathroom, or something like that calling me a liar or whatever.

The issue is simple, growing up before the lagoon holding ponds, were instituted I witnessed this.  I also have been very recently told by a current town employee and an older retired town employee that the town put horn pout (catfish) in the lagoon holding ponds to help clean them out, however I have not been able to verify this.  I was also told that unfortunately the Town doesn’t allow fishing, swimming or boating in the ponds.

I also went online to both Google and Bing and typed in “fish and sewerage” and it was quite amazing to read the hundreds of pages of information; including complaints that the FDA is inspecting less than 2% of fish being imported.  In reading this info it appears that China and Vietnam are using sewerage to feed their fish and shrimp on a regular basis, it is all there to read.

Well Frankie and Brian you got caught again, when are you going to learn?

Sunday, January 5, 2014


I was asked the other day what was wrong with the BOS and why couldn’t they get along.  This is a legitimate question when you see a member of the Board, suing the Town and the Town Manager.

It is easy to see that the attempt at having a shadow government to try to run the town is frustrating those who have not succeeded in taking subterranean control.

Frank has become the poster child and spokesman of the lunatic fringe and also the Free State movement in Exeter.   Their attitude is if you can’t control town government then attack it and attack the individuals you elected to run it; then attack the people the BOS appoint to run it.


The very people who are doing the attacking have already proven to be liars to the voters of Exeter.  One pulled the wool over the voters eyes to get the voters to sell him a piece of land for a dollar to build his dream home, then, I was told, turned around and sold it for over $300,000.  This happened over 10 years ago and most people have forgotten it; but, the info is still on line and the deliberative session where Mr. Dream House conned the voters was recorded and still around town.  He is also one of the prime movers in tearing down the dam in the hopes it will dry out some of his wetlands which could increase the value of his land for sub division. Mr. Dream House is using his ability in speaking eloquently using half truths allows him to use government to profit personally.

 Just to set the record straight, the Quandt family has no financial gain or loss if the dam is torn down.  Having camped, swam, fished and boated on the river we have an emotional attachment to it just like we do for the town of Exeter; even when  the river is running through the back cellar window and out the front.  Over the years we have taken the good and the bad.

The River Study Committee is made up of mostly very good people who have different opinions.  Having read the report twice it strikes me that it is directed toward tearing down the dam.  I have the greatest respect for the hard work some of the people put in on this study; but, I disagree with the direction they want to go.

I saw so many studies when I was in the House that it was easy to see that the studies were geared to tailor an outcome for what the proponents of the study wanted to do and justify.

Has anyone heard the phrase “Global Warming” lately, it appears the new catch phrase is “Climate Change”.

I have seen climate change right here on the river, I don’t believe the end of the world is coming; but, I think when we talk about such a valuable natural resource like water it is not prudent to do anything to the supply like the river, no matter what we do with our water in Exeter, it is smart to have the river as a backup.

I believe the secret of dealing with the river is not to tear down the dam; but, to manage it that way we will have a backup water supply and for those who plan to financially benefit from draining the river I can only say, “SORRREEEE- people first”.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014


Thanks to my fellow veterans:

I remember the day I found out I got into West Point. My mom actually
showed up in the hallway of my high school and waited for me to get out of
class. She was bawling her eyes out and apologizing that she had opened up
admission letter. She wasn't crying because it had been her dream for me to
go there. She was crying because she knew how hard I'd worked to get in,
how much I wanted to attend, and how much I wanted to be an infantry
I was going to get that opportunity. That same day two of my teachers took
me aside and essentially told me The following:
“David, you're a smart guy. You don't have to join the military. You
should go to college, instead.”

I could easily write a theme defending WestPoint and the military as I did
that day, explaining that USMA is an elite institution, that separate from
that it is actually statistically much harder to enlist in the military
than it is to get admitted to college, that serving the nation is a
that all able-bodied men should at least consider for a host of reasons,
but I won't.
What I will say is that when a 16 year-old kid is being told that
attending West Point is going to be bad for his future then there is a
disconnect in America, and entirely too many Americans have no idea what
of burdens our military is bearing.
In World War II, 11.2% of the nation served in four (4) years. During the
Vietnam era, 4.3% served in twelve (12) years. Since 2001, only 0.45% of
our population has served in the Global War on Terror. These are
statistics. Overtime, fewer and fewer people have shouldered more and more
of the burden and it is only getting worse. Our troops were sent to war in
Iraq by a Congress consisting of 10% veterans with only one person having
a child in the military. Taxes did not increase to pay for the war. War
bonds were not sold. Gas was not regulated. In fact, the average citizen
asked to sacrifice nothing, and has sacrificed nothing unless they have
chosen to out of the goodness of their hearts. The only people who have
sacrificed are the veterans and their families. The volunteers. The people
swore an oath to defend this nation.
You stand there, deployment after deployment and fight on. You've lost
relationships, spent years of your lives in extreme conditions, years apart
from kids you'll never get back, and beaten your body in a way that even
professional athletes don't understand. Then you come home to a nation that
doesn't understand. They don't understand suffering.
They don't understand sacrifice. They don't understand why we fight for
them. They don't understand that bad people exist. They look at you like
you're a machine - like something is wrong with you. You are the misguided
- not them.
When you get out, you sit in the college classrooms with political science
teachers that discount your opinions on Iraq and Afghanistan because YOU
WERE THERE and can't understand the macro issues they gathered from books,
because of your bias. You watch TV shows where every vet has PTSD and the
violent strain at that. Your Congress is debating your benefits, your
retirement, and your pay, while they ask you to do more. But the amazing
about you is that you all know this. You know your country will never pay
what you've given up.
You know that the populace at large will never truly understand or
appreciate what you have done for them. Hell, you know that in some
circles, you
will be thought as less than normal for having worn the uniform
Just that decision alone makes you part of an elite group. “Never in the
field of human conflict has so much been owed by so many to so few.”
-Winston Churchill- Thank you to the 11.2% and 4.3% who have served and
thanks to
the 0.45% who continue to serve our Nation.
General David Petraeus West Point Class 1974

Dana Hussey, State Adjutant
Department of New Hampshire
Veterans of Foreign Wars
Office: 603-335-5923
Fax: 603-335-5936
Cell: 603-557-6452