March 19, 2019  
Announcements               
Press releases, events, publications released, etc. from Maine environmental organizations and agencies. Submit content.

Why Going Native Matters, Mar 27
Event - Posted - Wednesday, March 20, 2019 

Heather McCargo, found and executive director of Wild Seed Project, presents "Why Going Native Matters: Beauty, Biodiversity and Resilience." At Portland Public Library, March 27, 5:30 pm.
Maine Environmental News
Action Alert - Tuesday, March 19, 2019 

Thanks for visiting Maine Environmental News, a service of RESTORE: The North Woods. MEN is the most comprehensive online source available for links to conservation and natural resource news and events in Maine (and a bit beyond). We have posted summaries and links to 60,000 news articles and announcements. We also post breaking stories and exclusives. Be sure to check not only today's news, but take a look at the headlines from the past several days as well. Articles often come to our attention a few days after they are published. Follow us on Twitter @MaineEnviroNews. ~ Jym St. Pierre, Editor
Urge Maine's Agencies to Investigate and Halt PFAS Contamination
Action Alert - Tuesday, March 19, 2019 

Highly persistent and toxic chemicals known as PFAS may be lurking undiscovered in farmlands across Maine. State records show that at an Arundel dairy farm, PFOS was in milk at the highest level ever reported anywhere. Urge Maine Ag and DEP commissioners to test the fields, stop sludge spreading, and phase out PFAS products. ~ Environmental Health Strategy Center
Retired Game Warden Randall Probert, Mar 26
Event - Posted - Tuesday, March 19, 2019 

Author, raconteur, and retired game warden Randall Probert will speak to the Hebron Historical Society on “Maine Tales and More.” At Hebron Town Office, March 26, 7 pm.
The Forests of Lilliput: The Miniature World of Lichens & Mosses, Mar 26
Event - Posted - Tuesday, March 19, 2019 

Maine Master Naturalist Jeff Pengel talks about the natural history of lichens, mosses and similar plants. At Topsham Library, March 26, 6 pm. Sponsored by Cathance River Education Alliance.
Celebrating Maine’s Wild Creatures, Mar 26
Event - Posted - Tuesday, March 19, 2019 

Speaker: Ed Robinson, author of “Nature Notes from Maine: River Otters, Moose, Skunks and More.” At Curtis Library, March 16, 7 pm. Sponsored by Merrymeeting Audubon.
Ocean Acidification, Climate Change, and You, Mar 25
Event - Posted - Monday, March 18, 2019 

Friends of Casco Bay staff scientist Mike Doan talks about warning signs and Casco Baykeeper Ivy Frignoca shares the impacts to marine species and how Mainers are responding. At Southern Maine Community College, South Portland, March 25, 5:30 pm.
Mount Pisgah winter trek, Mar 24
Event - Posted - Sunday, March 17, 2019 

Kennebec Land Trust Stewardship Director Jean-Luc Theriault will lead an off-trail excursion on Mount Pisgah to visit special places that are typically less accessible. Meet at the Mount Pisgah Community Conservation Area parking lot in Winthrop, March 24, 1 pm.
Winter Family Fun Day at Lily Bay State Park, Mar 23
Event - Posted - Saturday, March 16, 2019 

Ice fishing, snowmobile tote rides, winter camping demo, bonfire, scavenger hunt and free loan of cross-country skis, snowshoes, ice skates, snow tubes and sleds. At Lily Bay State Park, Moosehead Lake, March 23, 10 am - 3 pm.
Winter wildlife tracking workshop, Mar 23
Event - Posted - Saturday, March 16, 2019 

Naturalists and certified wildlife trackers Brendan White and Matt Dickinson lead a winter wildlife tracking workshop. At at Long Ledges Preserve, Sullivan, March 23, 9-11:30 am. Sponsored by Frenchman Bay Conservancy.
Maine Grass Farmers Network Conference, Mar 23
Event - Posted - Saturday, March 16, 2019 

Livestock producers are invited to learn about grass-based production and how grazing systems can become more profitable and environmentally sound. At Kennebec County Community College's Alfond Campus, Hinckley, March 23, 8:30 am - 3 pm.
Maine becomes a state, Mar 15
Announcement - Friday, March 15, 2019 

On this day in 1820, March 15, Massachusetts lost over 30,000 square miles of land as its former province of Maine gained statehood. Mainers had begun campaigning for statehood for years following the Revolution. The Massachusetts legislature finally consented in 1819. What no one foresaw, however, was that Maine's quest for statehood would become entangled in the most divisive issue in American history — slavery.
Maine Land Conservation Conference, Apr 5-6
Event - Posted - Friday, March 15, 2019 

Maine’s robust land conservation community comes together to train on best practices in all aspects of land trust work, connect with peers, and grapple with the most pressing issues facing land conservation today. At Topsham area, April 5-6.
Thoreau Society & Thoreau Farm Trust online auction, thru Mar 29
Announcement - Friday, March 15, 2019 

This auction contains many rare books written about Henry David Thoreau and other items for every Thoreauvian.
MITA Open House and Getch Celebration, Mar 22
Event - Posted - Friday, March 15, 2019 

Toast the extraordinary life of MITA founder Dave Getchell, Sr. At Maine Island Trail Association, Portland, March 22, 5:30-7:30 pm.
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News Items
Letter: This is God’s country
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, March 20, 2019 

CMP wants to spend almost $1 billion on a 145-mile electrical corridor across three western Maine Counties. Gov. Janet Mills claims this will “bring substantial and concrete long-term benefits to the people of Maine.” The estimated cost savings per household will be only a couple of cents. The $258M benefits package is nothing more than payola. A buy-out of our state. Some groups have sold out for recreational access promised by CMP on their lines. The counties apparently want broadband upgrades, and property taxes income. Others believe the promise that greenhouse gases will be decreased. There is little evidence to indicate any benefits for green energy in Maine. As the Kokadjo sign states, “This is God’s country.” ~ Diane Vernesoni, Wiscasset
Franklin County Commissioners Rescind Support For CMP Transmission Line
Maine Public - Tuesday, March 19, 2019 

Another group of elected officials is rescinding support for Central Maine Power's proposed 141-mile transmission line through western Maine. When CMP first was developing its billion-dollar plan to bring electricity from Canada's dam system into the New England grid, it quietly collected endorsements from dozens of potential host communities. But in some communities, as local citizens became more aware of the project's scope, they started urging their local politicians to oppose it. Now the Franklin County Commissioners are rescinding their initial letter of support.
State Urged To Prevent Exposure To Harmful Chemicals Found In Sewage Sludge
Maine Public - Tuesday, March 19, 2019 

Two weeks after Gov. Janet Mills signed an executive order to study the prevalence of a family of chemicals that pose potential public health risks, environment and health advocates are urging her to do more. They staged their call to action Tuesday at a dairy farm in Arundel, where contamination from the chemicals known as PFAS was discovered two years ago.
These are the 10 most popular national parks in the U.S.
National Geographic - Tuesday, March 19, 2019 

National Park Service records have registered over 14 billion visits since 1904. That’s greater than the number of years the universe has existed. People keep coming because of the parks’ enduring power. Parks—“America’s best idea”—preserve wildlife and wild places, provide vital recreation, and create priceless cultural spaces. It’s well worth a trip to each of the system’s 418 parks (60 of which are “national”). Check out this photo gallery to learn about each of the top 10 most visited national parks. Acadia National Park in Maine is #7.
Ellsworth clears way for removal of old dam on Branch Lake Stream
Bangor Daily News - Tuesday, March 19, 2019 

The Ellsworth City Council voted Monday to approve the removal of an unused, city-owned dam, which would open 5 miles of Branch Lake Stream to Atlantic salmon and other species. The council voted 7-0 to allow Town Manager David Cole to sign an agreement permitting the Downeast Salmon Federation to remove the dam this summer. The group will fund the $90,000 removal.
Maine Farm, Enviro Group Fear Spread Of Milk Contaminant
Associated Press - Tuesday, March 19, 2019 

The owners of a Maine dairy operation and a group of environmental advocates say they are concerned chemicals that contaminated the farm could be lurking on other farms in the state and beyond. The Environmental Health Strategy Center cites state records that say sludge spread at Stoneridge Farm in Arundel was a source of perfluoroalkyl substances, also known as PFAS. The substances were found in high levels in the milk of cows on the farm. Farm owner Fred Stone says he wants the state to take steps to ensure other families don't go through the same experience, which he says "ruined my farming." The environmental group and the farm are raising concerns about two weeks after Democratic Gov. Janet Mills created a task force to review PFAS prevalence.
Am I running out of Maine trails to explore? You tell me
Aislinn Sarnacki Act Out Blog - Tuesday, March 19, 2019 

One of the most common questions I’m asked is, “Are you running out of Maine trails to explore?” My answer is “no.” Even though I’ve been writing about Maine hikes for 7.5 years, I haven’t even come close to walking every trail in the state. I’m going to share my current list with the hope that some of you read through it, then post additional trails and locations in the comment section or email them to me. I’m especially looking for suggestions of paddling locations (day paddles or one-night trips that are not on the ocean or in tidal areas), snorkeling locations and mountain biking areas.
Now that the water is back, people who live near Maine lake want to restore fish
Lincoln County News - Tuesday, March 19, 2019 

Midcoast Conservancy is applying for a Coastal and Marine Habitat Restoration Grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Community-based Restoration Program to study the feasibility of fish passage at the Clary Lake Dam in Whitefield. The Sheepscot is “a river from top to bottom that can be home to all 12 species of sea-run fish, that include endangered Atlantic salmon, river herring, and endangered sturgeon down in the estuary,” said Maranda Nemeth, watershed restoration specialist. “It’s such a sensitive ecosystem…it becomes a high priority for restoration because it would benefit so many species of fish.”
Beer makers, gardeners worried about new disinfectant used in local drinking water
Bangor Daily News - Tuesday, March 19, 2019 

Kittery Water District users expressing concerns Monday over the announcement of chloramines as a new drinking water disinfectant included beer brewers worried about their product, gardeners distressed about potential soil and wildlife impacts, and residents with health issues they say could be exacerbated by the chlorine and ammonia combination. Chloramines kill household fish, amphibians, and other aquatic creatures, impact production processes at bakeries and breweries, and can’t be used in kidney dialysis machines.
ATVs, Handguns, Deer, Turkeys and more debated at legislature
George Smith BDN Outdoor News Blog - Tuesday, March 19, 2019 

The legislature’s Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee always has interesting bills. Yesterday, two bills to limit the size of ATVs allowed on trails were heard. Work sessions were held on 5 bills. Bills to double the turkey bag limit and increase penalties for feeding or interfering with endangered species were tabled. A bill to remove the background check requirement for Maine guides who are at least 70 years old and hold a lifetime hunting or fishing license was approved. The committee tabled a bill to allow moose permits to be transferred to family members if the permit holder dies. A bill to create a handgun deer hunting season at the same time as the muzzleloading season got an ought-not-to-pass. Another bill approved will give DIFW’s Commissioner authority to create a special youth turkey hunt in the fall. The committee meets tomorrow to be briefed on DIFW’s budget by Commissioner Judy Camuso.
Whales keep eating plastic and dying. This one had 88 pounds of trash in its stomach
Washington Post - Tuesday, March 19, 2019 

Over the past decade, D’ Bone Collector Museum has recovered 57 whales and dolphins that have died after consuming plastic garbage and fishing nets, of which four were pregnant. National Geographic reported that more than 30 whales with plastic debris in their bellies washed up on European beaches in 2016. A 2017 study predicted a spike in plastic-related waste over the next decade, further highlighting potential future harm to marine life. Last April, a male sperm whale beached off the coast of Spain with 64 pounds of trash bags and garbage in its digestive system. A month later, a pilot whale swallowed 17 pounds of plastic bags in Thai waters. “This cannot continue,” said Darrell Bletchley, president of D’ Bone Collector Museum.
Why Restaurant Demand For Smaller Fish Fillets Is Bad News For Oceans
National Public Radio - Tuesday, March 19, 2019 

For certain snappers, in fact, a market preference for plate-size whole fillets is driving fishermen to target smaller fish. For some wild fish populations, this is a recipe for collapse. "The preferred size of a fillet in the U.S. market corresponds to juvenile fish that haven't had a chance to reproduce," says conservation biologist Peter Mous of the Nature Conservancy. "A lot of species are heavily overfished, and this demand for small fillets is making things worse."
Relocation of Kittery Bridge falcon nest to slow traffic Thursday
Penobscot Bay Pilot - Tuesday, March 19, 2019 

A peregrine falcon nesting platform will be removed and a new nesting box placed on the I-95 bridge connecting Kittery, with Portsmouth, Thursday, March 21. The relocation will necessitate a lane closure on the southbound driving lane from 10 a.m. to approximately 1 p.m. The new nesting box will be placed higher up on the bridge structure to encourage the birds to nest higher, further away from the bridge maintenance projects that will be occurring over the next three years, according to the MaineDOT.
The fight over CMP’s $1 billion corridor project now looks a lot like a political campaign
Bangor Daily News - Tuesday, March 19, 2019 

Farmington is set for a non-binding vote Monday on Central Maine Power’s proposed transmission line from Quebec to Massachusetts and literature recently circulated in support of the project is causing more tension just before the vote. The controversial $1 billion project has been opposed by eight towns, but Farmington — the home of Gov. Janet Mills, who backs the corridor — would be the biggest one to oppose it. Both sides of the complex, campaign-like debate have recently peppered the town with mailers. Withering local opposition has been CMP’s biggest public relations battle as groups have shifted away from backing the corridor.
Backers of big salmon farm to meet with public in Belfast
Bangor Daily News - Tuesday, March 19, 2019 

A Norwegian company that wants to build a large salmon farming operation in Maine said it’s going to meet with the public next week on March 26 at the Hutchinson Center in Belfast to give residents an idea of the project’s progress. Nordic Aquafarms hopes to build the farm in Belfast. The facility would be an inland farm capable of producing tens of millions of pounds of fish per year.
Why Maine is seeing more record high temperatures
Bangor Daily News - Tuesday, March 19, 2019 

Since 2010, Maine has broken five daytime record high temperatures for every record low temperature, according to a new Associated Press data analysis of temperature trends across the United States. “What the study shows is what we would expect in a warming climate,” said Maine State Climatologist Sean Birkel. “These natural variations are now being superimposed on an overall warming trend that’s being driven by the rise in greenhouse gases.” For every day of extreme low temperatures in Maine, there were five extreme high temperature days. Scientists at the Climate Change Institute predict that these variations in temperature — with both heat waves and cold waves — will continue to increase in occurrence as the climate continues to warm.
Tips to reduce and reuse when recycling isn’t an option
Bangor Metro - Tuesday, March 19, 2019 

In a growing number of Maine communities recycling programs have changed or ended in the past year. There is more we can do to make a difference. Those who are hoping to reduce their impact on the planet can find ways to simply reduce the amount of packaging materials they acquire. And reusing items can help save money and our planet. Buying less and looking for ways to take advantage of resources already available to you can make a big difference.
Letter: CMP line project no good for Maine
Kennebec Journal - Tuesday, March 19, 2019 

I am writing in protest to the proposed Central Maine Power corridor. First, we are not dealing with a homey, little utility. We are dealing with a huge corporation called Avangrid, which does not care about Maine and its environment; it cares about profits to be made through the CMP corridor. Second, the idea of large amounts of money being spread out over years of proposed payments has two faults. Companies can disappear through mergers, bankruptcy or political deals, making the future payments moot. Even if the payments are made, what will a dollar promised in 2019 be worth in 40 years? Third, once a project of this magnitude is done, it cannot be undone. ~ Stephanie Irwin, Belgrade
Letter: Maine can do better than CMP transmission line
Morning Sentinel - Tuesday, March 19, 2019 

The proposed Central Maine Power transmission line is bad for Maine and for the environment. The environmental consequences of this corridor will cost us in tourism and recreational losses, risks to clean water, disruption to and/or loss of wildlife, suppression of local renewable energy sources, and continued unacceptable levels of carbon emissions. Hardly worth 6 cents a month. Maine can do better. It’s our sincere hope that Maine stands up to defend its natural resources and the long-term welfare of both its citizens and its environment. ~ Jock and Annie Winchester, Pemaquid
Letter: CMP’s outrageous right of way request
Kennebec Journal - Tuesday, March 19, 2019 

The simple answer to the debate about the Central Maine Power line from Quebec is to have it put underground. This was accomplished in Vermont. The Public Utilities Commission should require CMP to build a distribution center in the Lewiston area to distribute Maine’s power from there before it goes to the New England grid and returns with their burdened costs. The PUC should then charge Hydro Quebec a pass-through charge to go towards maintenance of Maine’s Western Mountains to compensate for clear cutting a corridor and the poisonous herbicide use. ~ Frederick Drew, West Gardiner
Auburn mayor will create Lake Auburn filtration committee without council support
Sun Journal - Monday, March 18, 2019 

After a lengthy debate Monday, the Auburn City Council voted 4-3 against supporting Mayor Jason Levesque’s proposed committee on water quality at Lake Auburn. Levesque plans to create it anyway. The decision came after the council tabled the issue two weeks ago due to questions over the intentions of the proposed committee and whether it will be helpful or a hindrance to watershed protection efforts at Lake Auburn. Due to the historically clean water supply, Lewiston and Auburn receive a waiver from the state that allows the district to deliver water without filtering it. However, Levesque believes it’s only a matter of time before the district loses its waiver if algae issues continue.
NECEC debate comes to Farmington with hearings, town meeting vote scheduled
Daily Bulldog (Franklin County) - Monday, March 18, 2019 

Beginning on April 1, five days of public hearings will be held on the University of Maine at Farmington campus regarding the New England Clean Energy Connect project: a 145-mile long Direct Current transmission line stretching from the Canadian border to a new converter station in Lewiston. The Maine Department of Environmental Protection and Land Use Planning Commission will be receiving testimony from the public, marking the latest opportunity to be heard on a $1 billion project that has raised strong emotions in western Maine. A schedule of the hearing dates and times can be seen here.
PUC revises deadlines in CMP's $950M hydropower transmission case
Mainebiz - Monday, March 18, 2019 

March 28 is the new deadline for the much-anticipated Examiners' Report in the Maine Public Utilities Commission's 17-month review of Maine Power Co.'s $950 million New England Clean Energy Connect transmission project. April 8 remains the deadline for exceptions and comments to be filed in response.
Town’s hope to buy private beach highlights complicated history of public access to Maine coast
York Weekly - Monday, March 18, 2019 

Of Maine’s entire 3,500-mile coastline, only 12 percent is publicly held. The remaining 88 percent, which includes beaches in Kittery, York, Wells, Kennebunk and beyond, is in private hands, with rights to the beach down to the low water mark. In some cases, the town and property owners let the proverbial sleeping dog lie, and owners freely allow beachgoers to use their property. This has certainly been the case with at least one beach in York, where the Norton family owns Long Sands Beach from the Cutty Sark Motel to the Sun ’n Surf Restaurant. The family and the town are now in negotiations to perhaps purchase that beach — a lifeblood for tourism in York.
Angus King, Jared Golden introducing bill to get teenagers involved in logging
Associated Press - Monday, March 18, 2019 

Logging has a long history in deeply forested Maine. Independent Sen. Angus King and Democratic Rep. Jared Golden said they’re introducing legislation designed to “level the playing field for the logging trade with other agricultural fields.” The lawmakers said their Future Loggers Careers Act would allow 16- and 17-year-olds to learn logging under parental supervision. They said that would allow the teenagers to contribute to family businesses, as well as help the businesses survive.
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