February 21, 2018  
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Maine Environmental News
Announcement - Tuesday, February 20, 2018 

Thanks for visiting Maine Environmental News, a service of RESTORE: The North Woods. MEN is the most comprehensive online source available for links to Maine conservation and natural resource news and events. We have posted summaries and links to over 50,000 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
Wild & Scenic Film Festival, Feb 26
Event - Posted - Monday, February 19, 2018 

Wild & Scenic Film Festival on Tour. At Lincoln Theater, Damariscotta, February 26, 7 pm, free, but tickets required. Hosted by Damariscotta River Association.
Growing, Gathering and Using Plants as Medicine, Feb 25
Event - Posted - Sunday, February 18, 2018 

Workshop leader Lucretia Woodruff is a mother of four children and farmer at Milkweed Farm. She has been growing and gathering medicinal herbs and vegetables for over 20 years. At St. Paul’s Church, Brunswick, February 25, 2-3:30 pm, $5 donation. Sponsored by Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust.
History of Maine’s Forests, Mar 12
Event - Posted - Friday, February 16, 2018 

UMaine professor Richard Judd will talk about the history of Maine’s forests. At New England Region Council on Forest Engineering Workshop, University of Maine, Orono, March 12, 1 pm, $, pre-register by Feb 23.
Maple Sugaring for the Small Woodlot Owner, Feb 22
Event - Posted - Thursday, February 15, 2018 

Whether you want to tap two trees or twenty, this demonstration and tour will help get you started. At Simmons & Daughters Sugar House, Morrill, February 22, 2 pm.
Enduring Heights book talk, Feb 22
Event - Posted - Thursday, February 15, 2018 

A book talk and signing will be held for the book Enduring Heights by John and Cynthia Orcutt. At Carrabassett Valley Public Library, February 22, 4:30 pm.
Round the World Birding, Feb 22
Event - Posted - Thursday, February 15, 2018 

Becky Marvil will share her photos and stories of bird species from around the globe. At Viles Arboretum, Augusta, February 22, 7 pm. Sponsored by Augusta Bird Club.
Coffee & Climate meeting, Feb 21
Event - Posted - Wednesday, February 14, 2018 

In 2017, Maine Conservation Voters started Coffee & Climate to create community conversation about pressing conservation issues and facilitate opportunities for action. Meetings resume this year with a discussion about environment and climate issues. At Belfast Co-op, Feb. 21, 4:30-6 pm.
Tips for Hiking, Camping with Kids, Feb 17
Event - Posted - Saturday, February 10, 2018 

Damariscotta River Association will help parents prepare for a summer of hiking and camping with kids, “without the whine,” during a free workshop on February 17, 4-5:30 pm at DRA’s Great Salt Bay Farm.
Winter Carnival, Feb 17
Event - Posted - Saturday, February 10, 2018 

Maine Audubon's celebration of winter weather and wildlife. Learn, create, and play at indoor and outdoor activity stations, including a winter wildlife touch table, tracking activities, snow science and art, snowshoeing with L.L. Bean Outdoor Discovery School, and more. At Gilsland Farm, Falmouth, February 17, 10 am - 2 pm.
Scandinavian Holiday, Feb 16
Event - Posted - Friday, February 9, 2018 

Michael Perry will share his journey across Finland in the annual Border to Border event, starting out near the Russian Border and skiing west 250 miles to the Swedish border over seven days. At L.L. Bean, Freeport, February 16, 7 pm.
Appalachian Odyssey, Feb 15
Event - Posted - Thursday, February 8, 2018 

Jeff Ryan tells about two new hiking companions who went on a day hike of Katahdin in 1985. They had no idea they were starting a 28-year, 2,100-mile adventure. At Curtis Library, Brunswick, February 15, 6 pm. Sponsored by Appalachian Mountain Club Maine Chapter.
Woodland Stewardship Tour, Feb 15
Event - Posted - Thursday, February 8, 2018 

See the results of a careful timber harvest. At Pemaquid Watershed Association's Bearce-Allen Preserve, Bristol, February 15, 2 pm. Sponsored by Knox-Lincoln Soil & Water Conservation District and Maine Forest Service.
We Love Maine Bats, Feb 14
Event - Posted - Wednesday, February 7, 2018 

Wildlife biologists Trevor Peterson and Steve Pelletier talk about bat, one of the most diverse and little understood groups of mammals globally. At Curtis Library, Brunswick, February 14, 7 pm. Sponsored by Friends of Merrymeeting Bay.
Allagash Tails, Feb 13
Event - Posted - Tuesday, February 6, 2018 

Learn about the Allagash, Maine's Wild River, with Tim Caverly, author of "Allagash Tails.” At Woodland Elementary School, February 13, 10 am.
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News Items
Intertidal Zones
Maine Public - Wednesday, February 21, 2018 

Maine Calling explores who owns the inter-tidal zone in Maine. Guests: Orlando Delogu, Emeritus Professor of Law, Maine School of Law; Pete Thaxter, an attorney who has represented landowners in seminal cases regarding the intertidal zone; and Stephen Rappaport, a reporter with the The Ellsworth American, who has long covered waterfront and fishing issues Downeast, including current debate over rocked harvesting.
Editorial: Don’t blame land conservation for rising Maine property taxes
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, February 21, 2018 

For years, Gov. LePage has blamed schools for being unwilling to control costs. Now, he says, it was the land trusts all along. He’s right, taxes have been rising. But even though he has shifted the blame, he remains wrong about the reason. What has changed is the amount of state aid to schools and municipalities. The state has underfunded municipal revenue-sharing by $602 million from its traditional level since LePage took office. The percentage of school funding provided by the state has fallen, too; if it had been held at 2010 levels, there would have been another $500 million helping to offset property taxes. That’s far more money than conservation lands could have generated under any plausible scenario. Guess it’s time for Gov. LePage to find a new scapegoat.
Aquaculture project in Belfast could lift status of U.S. salmon farming, industry experts say
Associated Press - Tuesday, February 20, 2018 

A Norwegian firm’s plan to build one of the world’s largest inland salmon aquaculture facilities in Maine has a chance to raise American salmon farming’s status on the international stage, people who follow the industry say. Nordic Aquafarms wants to build a facility that would produce more than 60 million pounds of salmon per year. The state typically produces between 18 and 35 million pounds of the fish per year. Maine is the biggest producer of farmed Atlantic salmon in the U.S., but the U.S. is a relatively minor player in the worldwide industry. Potentially doubling the state’s production capacity would significantly alter the landscape.
Blog: Scott Pruitt, Man of the People
Bangor Daily News - Tuesday, February 20, 2018 

Scott Pruitt, the cabinet officer charged with dismantling the Environmental Protection Agency, generally travels first class to avoid people who say mean things to him at airports. This is costing American taxpayers a lot of money. What’s odd is that a self-styled Populist would fly first-class at all, since presumably that’s where all the environmental elitists sit – the residents of what Maine’s equally anti-environmental governor Paul LePage derisively calls “Volvo country.” Linking environmental issues to an elite disconnected from the hard realities of working- and middle-class people has a long history in this country, and it has helped politicians brand the environmental movement as the enemy of jobs and prosperity. But we have never had someone appointed to run a federal agency with views so antithetical to its mission. ~ James G. Blaine
Maine Renewable Energy Association Sues LePage Over Wind Power Moratorium
Maine Public - Tuesday, February 20, 2018 

The Maine Renewable Energy Association has filed suit against Gov. Paul LePage over a wind moratorium he issued by executive order in January. The order directs that “no permits are issued” in certain areas of the state until the Maine Wind Energy Commission meets in private to decide their fate. Maine Renewable Energy Association Executive Director Jeremy Payne says the governor’s action directly contradicts the Constitution’s separation of powers between the three branches of government since existing law already governs wind permitting.
Wind energy industry files suit against LePage administration
Portland Press Herald - Tuesday, February 20, 2018 

In a filing in Kennebec County Superior Court, the Maine Renewable Energy Association accuses Gov. Paul LePage of “unconstitutional executive overreach in creating a moratorium of indefinite duration that is contrary to the will of the Legislature.” The association, which is a trade group representing wind energy companies and contractors, is asking the court to nullify the January 24th executive order halting the issuance of new wind power permits and creating a secretive advisory commission to explore potential changes to the permitting process.
The next five years will shape sea-level rise for the next 300, study says
Washington Post - Tuesday, February 20, 2018 

The world is far off course from its goals in cutting greenhouse gas emissions – and research published Tuesday illustrates one of the most striking implications of this. Namely, it finds that for every five years in the present that we continue to put off strong action on climate change, the ocean could rise an additional eight inches by the year 2300 – a dramatic illustration of just how much decisions in the present will affect distant future generations.
Local land trusts on defense after renewed LePage attacks
Times Record - Tuesday, February 20, 2018 

Last week’s State of the State address saw Gov. Paul LePage renew his familiar attack on land trusts, claiming the conservation groups are keeping properties off municipal tax rolls in poorer communities. Recently, some local Midcoast trusts weighed in on the governor’s proposal to tax conserved property owned by trusts. A property tax on land trusts would have an immediate impact on the Kennebec Estuary Land Trust. According to Executive Director Carrie Kinne, it could mean a loss of programs or staff for the land trust. The Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust has 2,700 acres in conservation, according to BTLT Executive Director Angela Twitchell. However, the majority of the land the land trust holds easements on, meaning it remains on the tax rolls.
CMP’s $950M proposal selected as ‘alternative’ clean energy bid by Massachusetts
Mainebiz - Tuesday, February 20, 2018 

Central Maine Power Co.'s $950 million New England Clean Energy Connect proposal has been selected to replace the Northern Pass transmission project should Eversource Energy fail to secure its New Hampshire permit next month. AVANGRID Inc., a diversified energy company that is parent company of CMP, confirmed on Feb. 16 that the NECEC transmission project has been selected by Massachusetts electric utilities and the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources in the Bay State's Clean Energy RFP to move forward as the alternative if the Northern Pass transmission project fails to win approval from the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee by March 27.
Researchers Call For New, Ropeless Lobster Traps To Help Save Right Whales
Maine Public - Tuesday, February 20, 2018 

The North Atlantic right whale is the most endangered large whale species on Earth. The principal cause of right whale fatalities is entanglement with fishing gear, including lobster trap lines. Scientists at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution say new technology could stop these ensnarements, but some lobstermen say the cost of adopting the new gear would be prohibitive. Woods Hole Director Michael Moore says the right whale is really in trouble, and something has to be done to stop entanglements.
What it’s like to be the first called when someone goes missing in Maine waters
Bangor Daily News - Tuesday, February 20, 2018 

The Marine Patrol, Maine’s oldest law enforcement agency, assists in about 30 to 40 search-and-rescue operations in Maine’s coastal waters every year.
Future Of Portland Ocean Terminal Up For Discussion
Maine Public - Tuesday, February 20, 2018 

Officials with Maine's largest city are reaching out to residents to discuss possible redevelopment plans for the Portland Ocean Terminal facility on the Maine State Pier. Portland staff presented the idea of a public market within the building last year. The city held its first outreach meeting about the building's future on Feb. 15. More sessions are coming up on Feb. 27 with the seafood industry, Feb. 28 with the food and beverage industry, March 7 with the Peaks Island Council and March 12 with the public.
George Smith: Diagnosed with ALS
Bangor Daily News - Tuesday, February 20, 2018 

When George Smith was diagnosed with ALS in 2017, he vowed that his disease would not define the end of his life. For 18 years, George was executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, but he’s probably best known as a prolific writer — mostly about the Maine outdoors, but also about politics and about traveling with his wife Linda. Since his diagnosis, some of the things he loves most are harder to do, but he has a lot to be grateful for, especially his family and friends.
Maine land trusts say governor uses bogus data in pitch to tax them
Portland Press Herald - Tuesday, February 20, 2018 

Gov. Paul LePage is once again accusing conservation groups of “ripping off” taxpayers in Maine by not paying local taxes on vast swaths of land across the state. But conservation advocates and some lawmakers counter that the governor is peddling misleading information that ignores payments made by land trusts as well as the public benefits of preserving land in a state defined by its natural beauty.
Wednesday 'one-hit wonder' may bring temps 33 degrees above normal
Sun Journal - Monday, February 19, 2018 

Get out the sunblock and, for the bold, consider a tank top: Maine is expecting record-breaking temperatures Wednesday, with a way-above-average high of 65 expected in Lewiston and Portland. It is welcome, but fleeting: We should be back into the 40s, with the chance of rain and snow showers, by the end of the week, according to National Weather Service.
South Portland commercial greenhouse approved
Forecaster - Monday, February 19, 2018 

The South Portland Planning Board last Tuesday approved an amended site plan for a $500,000 commercial greenhouse in the industrial section of the city. The proposed 14,200-square-foot greenhouse will be built on a 2-acre lot at 25 Duck Pond Road. The applicant and developer, John Crowley, doing business as 110 Dartmouth Street LLC, plans on leasing growing space to tenants. The goal of the project is to provide urban agriculture space for local restaurants.
Scarborough gives initial nod to keeping public pathway to Pine Point Beach
Forecaster - Monday, February 19, 2018 

The Scarborough Town Council has given preliminary approval to an agreement with property owners to maintain public access to a pathway leading to Pine Point Beach. Following two years of debate, the town and abutting property owners of Avenue 2, a beach access path since the 19th century, reached an agreement that preserves public access in exchange for the town relinquishing rights to the land.
New, revised emoji comes with correct number of legs
Portland Press Herald - Monday, February 19, 2018 

Responding to outrage from lobster leg aficionados and the Accuracy in Emojis movement (OK, not really), the organization that decides which digital images can dress up the world’s emails, texts and tweets has literally given its new lobster emoji two more legs to stand on. Soon after the Unicode Consortium released proposed images of the 157 new emojis expected to be available in 2018, some folks noticed the little red lobster came up a bit short. Lobsters have 10 legs – including their tasty claws – but the proposed emoji showed only eight legs plus a tail that appeared somewhat malformed. Unicode Consortium’s lobster emoji is just a “sample image” of what could eventually be available
Even after reported sightings, wildlife officials declare cougar extinct in Maine
WMTW-TV8 - Monday, February 19, 2018 

Doug Jencks, of Washburn, set up a game camera to catch a thief stealing gas – but that camera ended up snapping a photo of something way more valuable, especially to wildlife biologists. The camera caught an image of what Jencks believes is a cougar, strutting right past his truck. "They're around," Jencks said. "It's not the only one we've seen." Jencks' photo, taken in mid-January, shows a cat with a long tail lurking under the cover of night. But a week after Jencks' camera snapped that photo, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service declared that Eastern pumas, also called catamounts, cougars and mountain lions, are extinct. That official extinction declaration, valid for the eastern puma subspecies, only adds to the allure that Jencks may indeed have photographic evidence of a cougar.
Maine ranger returns to black bear den and finds a gift to the world
Portland Press Herald - Monday, February 19, 2018 

While on a timber inspection in Carthage last fall, Maine Forest Service Ranger Erik Ahlquist located what appeared to be a black bear den. This week, he returned to the site with biologists from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and this is what they found. The forest service’s social media posts didn’t say how many cubs they found or whether they woke up mom.
Maine kelp, climate, ocean acidity projects get funding
Associated Press - Monday, February 19, 2018 

The University of Maine says projects about seaweed, the acidity of Gulf of Maine waters and the way climate change is impacting fish will receive nearly $1 million in funding. The money is from the federal government and matching sources. One of the projects is an investigation into the role of rockweed in food webs. Another will seek to learn how kelp forests are responding to changing environments. UMaine says researchers will evaluate the acidity of the Gulf of Maine using current data and historical proxies. The final project will seek to find out how environmental factors such as climate change impact fish and invertebrates in coastal Maine.
Plan For Scallop Fishing Lottery Passes Key Hurdle
Associated Press - Monday, February 19, 2018 

A plan to create a fishing license lottery to get new people into the scallop fishery has passed a key hurdle in the Maine Legislature. The Joint Standing Committee on Marine Resources unanimously approved the proposal on Feb. 14. It now moves to the full Legislature, which is likely to vote on it in the next couple of weeks. The average age of Maine scallop fishermen is higher than 50, and the fishery has been closed to new people since 2009. Some fishermen and fishing managers have expressed concern that the fishery could end up needing new people at a time when the shellfish are healthy.
Maine ice climber reaches new heights in Camden
Morning Sentinel - Sunday, February 18, 2018 

At 11:32 a.m. on Jan. 8, Ryan Howes reached the top of a new route about halfway up a 250-foot-high cliff covered in a blob of ice. After topping out and claiming the first known ascent of that route, Howes exclaimed: “You can’t take drugs and get this feeling. Man, I love the outdoors!” It was a feeling – and a feat – unlikely to be repeated anytime soon. Three days after Howes’ landmark ascent, the ice formation was gone and meteorologists say it may never reappear.
Father, 10-year-old son killed in Hermon snowmobile crash
Portland Press Herald - Sunday, February 18, 2018 

A father and son were killed in a snowmobile crash in Hermon early Sunday. The Maine Warden Service said in a release that Jason Tracy, 33, of Hermon and his son, 10, were killed when the snowmobile they were riding in struck a tree on the edge of a field at about 1 a.m. Sunday. Tracy’s son was wearing a helmet but Tracy was not, the warden service said. Speed and alcohol were contributing factors in the crash, Warden Lt. Dan Scott said.
This Portland homeowner wrestled with whether to remove a beloved old tree
Maine Sunday Telegram - Sunday, February 18, 2018 

The red maple brought with it decades of history, and, in its final years, a sense of familiarity.
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