May 24, 2019  
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Maine Environmental News
Action Alert - Friday, May 24, 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; hey, we're all connected). 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
Maine Bicentennial Conference, May 30-Jun 1
Event - Posted - Friday, May 24, 2019 

In addition to scholarly panels ($60), several elements (museum exhibits and the keynote event by two Pulitzer Prize winning historians on May 31) are free to the public. A Maine History Festival for students and cultural organizations to present their own research and planning for the state bicentennial will be part of the conference just prior to the keynote event.
Great Maine Scavenger Hunt
Event - Posted - Thursday, May 23, 2019 

The Great Maine Scavenger Hunt is back (year 3). Use this list as your Maine summer vacation guide! Do as much or as little of it as you want. Sponsored by Down East magazine.
Maine Trail Finder 3.0
Announcement - Thursday, May 23, 2019 

The Center for Community GIS has launched the third version of Maine Trail Finder with the same great trail maps and descriptions and lots of new features.
Climate action
Action Alert - Tuesday, May 21, 2019 

Urge legislators on the legislature's Environment & Natural Resources Committee to support climate action via the governor’s bill, LD 1679. ~ Natural Resources Council of Maine
Ban Aerial Herbicide Spraying for Deforestation
Action Alert - Tuesday, May 21, 2019 

Before May 23, urge legislators on the Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry Committee to support LD 1691, An Act To Ban Use of Aerial Herbicide Spraying for the Purpose of Deforestation. ~ Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association
Oyster Farms & Seal Watching Tours, May 25-27
Event - Posted - Saturday, May 18, 2019 

Oyster Farms & Seal Watching Tours will run every day, 2-4 pm, during Memorial Day weekend. At Damariscotta. Benefits the Fish Ladder Restoration Project.
Birding for Kids, May 25
Event - Posted - Saturday, May 18, 2019 

A hands-on workshop for families. At Curtis Farm Preserve, Harpswell, May 25, 9 am. Sponsored by Harpswell Heritage Land Trust.
L.L.Bean & Maine Audubon Birding Festival, May 24-26
Event - Posted - Friday, May 17, 2019 

Boat trips, guided walks, live bird presentations, workshops, kid’s crafts, and activities with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. At Freeport vicinity, May 24-26.
Forestry for Maine Birds, May 23
Event - Posted - Thursday, May 16, 2019 

Free workshop on forestry management for bird conservation. At Head of Tide Preserve, Belfast, May 23, 12-3 pm.
Tell the EPA to Follow Science on Air Quality
Action Alert - Wednesday, May 15, 2019 

As chair of the EPA’s Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee, Tony Cox—a former consultant for the American Petroleum Institute, the mining industry, and a tobacco company—is questioning if soot, causes premature death and other health issues. The science is clear that this type of pollution is very dangerous. ~ Sierra Club
Environmental Trivia Night, May 21
Event - Posted - Tuesday, May 14, 2019 

Maine Conservation Voters and the Immigrant Welcome Center are hosting an environmental-themed trivia night. At Maine Beer Company, Freeport, May 21, 6-7:30 pm.
How fish and wildlife are responding to climate change, May 20
Event - Posted - Monday, May 13, 2019 

This talk will explore phenological responses to seasonal climate drivers from the base of the food chain to higher trophic level species such as fish, seabirds and marine mammals. At Schoodic Institute, Winter Harbor, May 20, 7 pm.
Maine’s Tree City Celebration, May 20
Event - Posted - Monday, May 13, 2019 

The Maine Forest Service will present the 2019 Excellence in Community Forestry Award. At Camden Public Library, May 20, 1 pm. A tree will be planted in Harbor Park in honor of Earth Day.
Brunswick Town Commons 300th anniversary, May 19
Event - Posted - Sunday, May 12, 2019 

On May 19, 1719, the Pejepscot Proprietors voted to set aside 1,000 acres in Brunswick as a commonage, one of the first public lands established in Maine. It is an example of early community planning in the state and is habitat for rare pitch pine woodlands. In 2019, Brunswick celebrates the 300th anniversary of its Town Commons before, on, and after May 19.
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News Items
Farmington dairyman struggles with how to save his farm
Sun Journal - Saturday, June 30, 2018 

With no buyer for his milk after Aug. 31, Farmington’s Bussie York struggles with how to save Sandy River Farms. Nationally, there’s too much milk, and trade war talk isn’t helping, according to an official with the Maine Milk Commission.
CMP Proposing $2.5 Billion Effort To Improve Services In Maine — And Consumers Might Foot The Bill
Maine Public - Saturday, June 30, 2018 

The parent company of Central Maine Power is proposing a $2.5 billion effort to "harden" its electricity distribution systems in Maine and New York, following major storms and outages over the past year — and the company would like to have consumers to pay some or all of the bill. Avangrid Inc. says storms are increasing in frequency and intensity, as it learned in Maine's October 2017 windstorm, which left hundreds of thousands of customers in the dark for days. Avangrid says the company is responding with a 10-year program to improve the system's resiliency.
Valley Cove tops backlog of work on Acadia trails
Acadia On My Mind Blog - Saturday, June 30, 2018 

Acadia National Park weighs in with nearly $60 million of backlogged maintenance, including more than $9 million on hiking trails alone. This year, the Acadia trails crew is involved in a major effort to reduce the maintenance backup, topped by a current overhaul of the Valley Cove Trail, which is located on the east side of St. Sauveur Mountain and runs along the west shore of Somes Sound, a 5-mile-long inlet that carves into Mount Desert Island.
Kennebec River Day in Mill Park pulls in crowd
Kennebec Journal - Saturday, June 30, 2018 

Kennebec River Day in Mill Park drew hundreds of people Saturday to the waterfront park north of downtown Augusta. The annual event is part of the Whatever Family Festival, which encompasses a wide range of summer activities from mid-June to the Fourth of July.
Editorial: Maine’s lobster industry depends on Trump’s dealmaking. That’s worrisome.
Bangor Daily News - Saturday, June 30, 2018 

China’s proposed retaliatory tariffs on U.S. lobster leave the fate of that major export market trapped in the hands of America’s dealmaker-in-chief, Donald Trump. There’s reason the industry in Maine should be frightened at the prospect. Maine lobster exports to China are up 187 percent this year. In 2017, China spent $55 million on live, fresh or chilled lobster from Maine. Matt Jacobson, head of the Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative, said China’s announcement of retaliatory tariffs set to take effect July 6 “isn’t good news at all.” Trump has not shown an aptitude for negotiations. He has consistently chosen style over substance, seeking to accomplish something he thinks looks good, no matter the cost.
Maine lobster industry braces for looming bait shortage
Bangor Daily News - Saturday, June 30, 2018 

Maine’s lobster industry is on watch as fisheries regulators weigh whether to make significant cuts to herring catch limits, which could drive up bait costs that have already seen a sharp increase over the past decade. Over the past decade, herring catches have dropped about 40 percent. The price of the bait fish has climbed about 80 percent during that same period, according to Patrice McCarron, the Maine Lobstermen’s Association executive director.
Rescue animals live out their best lives at this Maine farm
Bangor Daily News - Saturday, June 30, 2018 

It was a bucolic scene. And for most of the animals here, it’s dramatically different from the way they had been living before Scott Barbour and his girlfriend, Michelle Atwood-Beaudoin, plucked them from bad situations and grim futures. Now, they live the good life at the 3-acre hobby farm in Jefferson. In turn, the animals’ presence makes the farm, which they call the “Hobbit Farm,” a happy place for the people who live there.
Letter: We don't want these wind towers in Maine
Sun Journal - Saturday, June 30, 2018 

It seems to me that if Massachusetts has an insatiable need for power that it should produce it there instead of expecting Maine towns and people to ruin their quality of life. We don’t want 600-foot wind towers and neither does the U.S. government, which subsidizes these things. Don’t be mislead about financial benefits as there will also be financial drawbacks. Think about long-term losses in lifestyle while living in close proximity to an industrial park of 600-foot towers covering three mountains and hovering over all of us. ~ Dwight L. Mills, Greenwood
Letter: Maine should dive into seafood farming
Portland Press Herald - Saturday, June 30, 2018 

I sure hope Maine’s economic development authorities read the June 24 article “U.S. imported more seafood in 2017 than any prior year.” Here’s the opportunities this presents: 2018 imports will likely beat 2017 imports. You seek job and investment opportunities? Maine-farmed seafood (fish, oysters, clams) can become a truly world-class brand. Target Maine investors first. ~ Charlie Galloway, Kennebunk
Column: The Greenland Salmon Pact gives Maine fishermen hope
Piscataquis Observer - Friday, June 29, 2018 

The days of recreational fishing for this King of Game Fish in North America may be gone forever. Less than two percent of the salmon smolts released in the Canadian maritime rivers have returned. Although a National Academy of Science report in 2005 showed that 80 percent of Atlantic salmon runs came into the Penobscot, the salmon count in this river so far this spring has been below 1,000. It is little wonder that the fish is federally listed as an endangered species. Nonetheless, there is still a glimmer of hope. The Atlantic Salmon Federation and the North Atlantic Salmon Fund have signed a 12-year deal with Greenland’s commercial fishermen to protect North Atlantic salmon from commercial nets. The other good news is that the Penobscot River restoration is on the move. ~ V. Paul Reynolds
Climate becoming top spiritual priority
Washington Post - Friday, June 29, 2018 

Off the Greek island of Spetses, the leader of 300 million Christians worldwide told a group of nearly 200 religious leaders, academics and activists that they needed to move beyond intellectualism when it came to the environment. “What remains for us is to preach what we practice,” said Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, turning a traditional phrase on its head. In 1989 his predecessor, Patriarch Dimitrios I, designated Sept. 1 as a day of prayer for the welfare of all creation, and Barthlomew has expanded upon this initiative. [Maine poet Gary Lawless and photographer Beth Leonard, who own Gulf of Maine Books, participated in the conference.]
Rumford mill sale completed
Sun Journal - Friday, June 29, 2018 

The Catalyst paper mill officially has a new owner and a new name. ND Paper, a subsidiary of Nine Dragons Paper of Hong Kong, announced Friday that it had completed the purchase of paper mills in Rumford and Biron, Wisconsin, and an operations center in Ohio from Catalyst Paper Corp. for $175 million. They’re Nine Dragons’ first mills in the U.S. Nine Dragons Paper is the largest containerboard producer in China. Containerboard is commonly used in cardboard boxes. A national paper industry analyst said last month that he was already hearing talk about Nine Dragons converting Rumford from coated paper production to containerboard, for which there is a growing market.
Price of Maine wild blueberries tumbles to lowest point in more than 30 years
Portland Press Herald - Friday, June 29, 2018 

The per pound price of Maine’s wild blueberries sank to its lowest point in more than three decades last year, as growers struggled with competition from cheaper Canadian producers and a thriving cultivated blueberry industry. Maine berries fetched 26 cents per pound last year, the lowest price since 1985, according to University of Maine data. The estimated value of the harvest was $17.6 million, a 37 percent fall from 2016.
Watchdog group, owner spar over fish kill at Ellsworth dam
Bangor Daily News - Friday, June 29, 2018 

The Downeast Salmon Federation is monitoring what its biologist calls “a massive fish kill” on the Union River below a Brookfield Asset Management dam in Ellsworth. The fish kill apparently began Tuesday, as thousands of baby alewives and other species unsuccessfully tried to swim downstream through or over the dam, said Brett Ciccotelli, a fisheries biologist for the federation. “The flow of the river has been full of dead or dying baby river herring, their scales, their fins, their eyeballs,” Ciccotelli said Friday. A spokeswoman for Brookfield said that Downeast exaggerates the number of fish killed and that the dam owner is working with several agencies to limit environmental damage.
Scandals haven’t beaten Pruitt, but a biofuel policy fight might
Bloomberg News - Friday, June 29, 2018 

A deluge of political scandals hasn’t sunk EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. But a wonky debate over the nation’s biofuel policy just might. Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley bluntly warned last month he would call for Pruitt’s resignation if the Environmental Protection Agency continued exempting small oil refineries from a mandate to use renewable fuels such as ethanol made from corn, a staple crop in his home state of Iowa. When Pruitt moved to do what Grassley wanted — with a plan that would force larger refineries to make up for the waivers by using more biofuel — he sparked an angry uproar among oil executives and allied lawmakers who telephoned top Trump administration officials to warn: Pruitt’s job was on the line.
Town’s plan to slow down tourist drivers hits ‘a dead end’ with state officials
Other - Friday, June 29, 2018 

Kittery’s pursuit of lower speed limits to slow down summertime drivers cutting through Kittery neighborhoods has hit a roadblock. Town Manager Kendra Amaral told the Town Council Monday night, that the DOT’s Randy Illian told her most speed changes require a speed study to be conducted, and Kittery likely would not be successful in lowering the speed limits based on the department’s manual of how it determines speed and applicable engineering principles. If studies were conducted, some posted speeds on Kittery roads may actually increase — the opposite of the town’s intentions.
Letter: Maine's game plan is for profit, not conservation
Forecaster - Friday, June 29, 2018 

Maine’s 15-year Game Management Plan for the four big game species – black bear, deer, moose, and turkeys – was released in May. It recommends is more hunting of deer in central and southern Maine. It should come as no surprise, since Maine has had an ongoing war against predators with hunting, trapping, and hounding of bobcats and coyotes for years, ensuring that the deer population and hunting revenue remains high. The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife would like to expand “any-deer” permits this year to nearly 85,000. This cruel attack on Maine’s wildlife would leave many fawns to fend for themselves over the winter. This reckless proposal seems more geared toward profit rather than conservation. ~ Val Philbrick, Scarborough
Terry Hayes makes lots of commitments on environmental and conservation issues
George Smith BDN Outdoor News Blog - Friday, June 29, 2018 

Terry Hayes is an independent candidate for governor. Today I am sharing her comprehensive responses to a lengthy survey by Maine Audubon. On June 27 I posted the survey responses from Alan Caron, another independent candidate for governor. Neither the Republican nor the Democratic nominees completed the survey, but I am urging them to do so, and if they do, I will share their responses with you. Here’s what Terry Hayes had to say.
How to protect your livestock from wildlife
Bangor Daily News - Friday, June 29, 2018 

Pretty much anyone who farms or raises livestock in Maine has a story about a too close for comfort wildlife encounter. Or worse. “It’s a big issue,” Cindy Kilgore, livestock specialist with the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, said. “It depends on what you’ve got for livestock and what is going to eat it.” Under Maine law, a wild animal or wild turkey can be killed if found in the act of “attacking, worrying or wounding that person’s domestic animals or domestic birds, or destroying that person’s property.” The incident must be reported to the Maine Warden Service. But according to Kilgore, when it comes to wildlife and livestock, an ounce of prevention can be worth a pound of cure.
Where There’s a Whale, There’s a Way
Other - Friday, June 29, 2018 

Daily Nexus - With estimated numbers of 500, the North Atlantic right whale is highly endangered. Due to anthropogenic warming, availability of their main food source in the Gulf of Maine has been low since 2011 and is expected to further decrease, causing speculation of a shift of the right whale’s habitat range and a decline in their numbers. The right whale’s low rate of calving — with only five calves born in 2017 and none yet sighted in 2018 — reflects the decline in prey in their traditional feeding grounds. Right whales also face high mortality rates due to ship strikes and entanglement in fishing gear.
Letter: Where is farm bill's logic?
Sun Journal - Friday, June 29, 2018 

Rep. Poliquin supports funding the purchase of frozen blueberries for snacks for school children. Frozen blueberries will not work as snacks for school kids, unless they are combined with a generous dose of sugar. How does that fit with another federal program to discourage the consumption of maple syrup because of unhealthful levels of sugar in American diets? The real cause of the collapsing price for wild blueberries has been the promotion of the herbicide Velpar by UMaine, which greatly increased production. Organic blueberry growers, who must control weeds with hand labor, have not seen a price reduction. ~ Arthur Harvey, Hartford
Rockweed harvest continues to provoke debate
Mainebiz - Thursday, June 28, 2018 

Landowners around Cobscook Bay in Washington County are raising concerns that rockweed harvesting operations there are destroying the habitat for other marine organisms and shorebirds. The landowners expressed concern that the rockweed harvesting is destroying the shoreline habitat. Cheryl Sawtelle, who lives on the North Lubec Road, said that shorebirds, ducks, kingfishers and other marine-dependent organisms are gone because of rockweed cutting. "I feel the food chain's been broken and we're out of time," she said. Earlier this year, residents of Stonington and Deer Isle expressed concern about noise from the machinery used to harvest rockweed in their area, as well as the potential for bycatch and the impact of harvesting on biodiversity.
Messalonskee teacher is Maine Agriculture in the Classroom teacher of year
Turner Publishing - Thursday, June 28, 2018 

Beth Prelgovisk, a health teacher from Messalonskee High School in Oakland, was recognized as the Maine Agriculture in the Classroom Teacher of the Year for 2018. She was presented the award at the National Agriculture in the Classroom Organization’s Conference “Agriculture for ME on Land and Sea.” Prelgovisk was chosen because of her program that provides high school students with education around the production of food.
Jay water district lifts boil-water order
Sun Journal - Thursday, June 28, 2018 

Jay Village Water District lifted its boil-water order Thursday, three days after it was announced because of a water line break. Customers on School Bus Road, Ludden Drive and Barker Street who lost water during the break Monday can now use the water as normal.
Conservation Groups Partner With Navy To Protect Land Near Appalachain Trail In Rangeley
Maine Public - Thursday, June 28, 2018 

An unusual partnership between the Trust for Public Land, the Maine Appalachian Trail Land Trust and the U.S. Navy has led to the protection of more than 10,000 acres near the Appalachian Trail in Rangeley. The area is popular for hiking, fishing, snowmobiling and hunting. It's also home to a wilderness training school run by the Navy, which provided much of the funding for the purchase of conservation easements. Betsy Cook of the Trust for Public Land says the project will ensure that scenic views, wildlife habitat and public access are protected.
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On May 8, 1719, the Pejepscot Proprietors 
voted to grant 1,000 acres in commonage 
forever to the residents of Brunswick, 
one of the earliest dedicated 
public lands in Maine.

The 300th anniversary is celebrated 
on May 19, 2019, due to the change 
from Julian to Gregorian calendars.

Photo © Jym St. Pierre

 


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