September 16, 2019  
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Maine Environmental News
Action Alert - Monday, September 16, 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
York Beach Clean Up, Sep 23
Event - Posted - Monday, September 16, 2019 

Join a beach clean up & attempt to set a world record spelling the largest "NO PLANET B" ever in the sand. The goal is 500 people At Long Sands Beach, York, September 23, 9 am - 12:30 pm.
Tumbledown trail maintenance, guided hike scheduled, Sep 22
Event - Posted - Sunday, September 15, 2019 

A 4.7 mile round-trip guided hike up Tumbledown Mountain will include discussion of geology, trees and plants, history, wildlife and issues facing the mountain. Meet at Brook Trailhead on Byron Road, Weld, September 22, 9 am - 2 pm.
Life Happens Outside Festival, Sep 21
Event - Posted - Saturday, September 14, 2019 

L.L. Bean Discovery Park, Freeport, 10 am - 4 pm, climbing wall and games ; 6:30 pm, Food Trucks, 7:15 pm, Maine Outdoor Film Festival. Free but donations benefit Teens To Trails.
Portland Electric Car Ride & Drive, Sep 21
Event - Posted - Saturday, September 14, 2019 

Learn about electric cars during the 5th annual EV Expo. At Back Cove parking area off Preble Street, Portland, September 21, 12-4 pm, free pizza & coffee. Hosted by Natural Resources Council of Maine and ReVision Energy.
Smithsonian Museum Day, Sep 21
Event - Posted - Saturday, September 14, 2019 

An annual celebration of boundless curiosity hosted by Smithsonian magazine. At L.C. Bates Museum, Hinckley, September 21, 10 am - 4:30 pm.
Global Climate Strike, Sep 20
Event - Posted - Friday, September 13, 2019 

Take to the streets for the Global Climate Strike to make sure elected officials and candidates for office in 2020 hear us loud and clear. Strikes in Maine at Farmington and Bar Harbor, September 20. ~ 350 Action
Bryant Pond 4-H Camp and Learning Center, Sep 20
Event - Posted - Friday, September 13, 2019 

Ron and Deidre Fournier will speak about the Bryant Pond 4-H Camp and Learning Center. At meeting of the Oxford County Educators Association-Retired, Universalist Church, West Paris, September 20, 1 pm.
Pollinator plantings workshop, Sep 20
Event - Posted - Friday, September 13, 2019 

Learn about the pollinators and beneficial insects helping to make our food systems work with Eric Venturini of the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. At Hooker Family Farm, Oxford, September 20, 10 am - 12 pm, $10/family.
Common Ground Country Fair, Sep 20-22
Event - Posted - Friday, September 13, 2019 

More than 750 varied events at this annual celebration of rural living with a mix of workshops, demonstrations, music, vendors, farmers’ markets, fantastic food and more. At Unity, September 20-22, gates open daily at 9 am.
Exploring Invasive Species, Sep 19
Event - Posted - Thursday, September 12, 2019 

Mike Hanks of Cape Elizabeth Land Trust talks invasive plants. At Thomas Memorial Library, Cape Elizabeth, September 19, 1 pm; he will lead a walk at Gull Crest Field to identify invasive plants at 2 pm.
Untrammeled — The Case for Wild Nature in a Changing World, Sep 17
Event - Posted - Tuesday, September 10, 2019 

Conservation leaders Tom Butler and Mark Anderson of the Northeast Wilderness Trust will address the science and spirit of forever-wild conservation. Q&A to follow. At Maine Audubon, Gisland Farm, Falmouth, September 17, 7 pm.
10th Great Maine Outdoor Weekend featuring 130 events, Sept. 16-18
Event - Posted - Monday, September 9, 2019 

The 10th Great Maine Outdoor Weekend will be the biggest yet, with more than 130 events planned throughout Maine, September 16-18.
Nature Cruise on the Kennebec River and Merrymeeting Bay, Sep 15
Event - Posted - Sunday, September 8, 2019 

Join Cathance River Education Alliance for a nature cruise from Bath up the Kennebec River to Merrymeeting Bay. September 15, 3-6:30 pm, $42 for adults, $30 for children 6 to 12, $6 for kids under 6.
Landowner Appreciation and Clean Up Day, Sep 15
Event - Posted - Sunday, September 8, 2019 

Landowner Appreciation and Clean Up Day, sponsored by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and the Maine Forest Service, is September 15.
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News Items
Iconic Public Lands to Visit This July 4
Other - Sunday, June 30, 2019 

Since President Lyndon Johnson signed the Land and Water Conservation Fund into law in 1965 to use a small portion of offshore gas and drilling revenue to safeguard natural areas, the program has funded thousands of projects in all 50 states. Each year, Congress determines the annual appropriations for LWCF, which varies but often falls short of the maximum authorized level. In March, Congress passed a sweeping public lands bill that included permanent re-authorization of LWCF. It didn’t come with guaranteed funding, however. Earlier this month, a bipartisan group of lawmakers unveiled legislation in the House that would permanently allocate the full annual allotment of $900 million to LWCF. That bill has passed out of committee, and will soon head to a full floor vote. In the meantime, here’s a list of LWCF-funded quintessential adventure vacation spots: One of the most fabled hiking trails in the world, The Appalachian Trail stretches nearly 2,200 miles from Mt. Katahdin in Maine to Springer Mountain in Georgia.
Somerville area farmers network works to grow farms, support farmers
Kennebec Journal - Sunday, June 30, 2019 

Fellow members of the Somerville Farmers Network, an informal group of local farmers organized by Kelly Payson-Roopchand, share their labor, but they also often share knowledge.
Land for Maine’s Future will use over $1 million to preserve working waterfronts
Associated Press - Sunday, June 30, 2019 

A Maine land conservation program will use more than $1 million to preserve working waterfront areas, including sites that are important to the lobster fishing industry. State officials say the Land for Maine’s Future board is allocating the money to a half-dozen projects. The money will be used to purchase development rights that ensure sites remain available for fishing and aquaculture.
Baby lobster numbers spell trouble for shellfish population
Associated Press - Sunday, June 30, 2019 

Baby lobsters are continuing to appear in high numbers off some parts of Canada while tailing off in New England, raising questions about what the valuable shellfish’s population will look like in several years. Signs about the future of the lobster fishery in Maine are mixed, as state government surveys have also shown large numbers of lobsters that have not yet reached legal size residing in deeper waters. America’s lobster industry is based mostly in Maine, and its haul of the crustaceans has been high all decade. But lobstermen face challenges such as new protections designed to aid endangered North Atlantic right whales. The fishery is also facing a bait shortage.
70-year-old hiker who went missing in the White Mountains has been found alive
Associated Press - Sunday, June 30, 2019 

A 70-year-old hiker missing in the mountains of New Hampshire for four days has been found alive. Two hikers found Christopher Staff of Dorchester, Mass, sitting on a log around 7:30 p.m. Friday. Staff had set off alone to hike the 31-mile Pemigewasset Loop in the White Mountains on Monday morning and was last seen around 6 p.m. that day. Staff was disoriented and dehydrated and taken to a hospital. Earlier this month, a 63-year-old woman and 69-year-old man died after suffering medical emergencies while hiking in the White Mountains in separate incidents.
A family’s legacy lives on at Hirundo, Old Town’s little-known nature preserve
Bangor Daily News - Sunday, June 30, 2019 

Throughout the 1970s and ’80s, Ollie LaRouche and his wife, June, installed hundreds of nest boxes for swallows and for wood ducks all over the land that would become the 2,460-acre Hirundo Wildlife Refuge along Pushaw Stream in West Old Town. “Hirundo is Latin for swallow, so it’s really kind of our symbol,” said Stephanie LaRouche, now chair of the board of the nonprofit that runs Hirundo. “This is our family’s legacy. It was our home, and now it’s for everyone.” Hirundo Wildlife Refuge is open, free of charge, from dusk to dawn seven days a week.
Maine lawmakers give environmental efforts big green light
Sun Journal - Sunday, June 30, 2019 

This recently ended legislative session was a big win for the environment. Legislators passed a host of new laws that boosted solar and other renewable energy production, encouraged the use of heat pumps, sought to improve recycling and reduce materials harmful to the environment and health, and to reduce climate change pollution. A ban on plastic shopping bags will take effect on Earth Day (April 22) 2020 and a ban on Styrofoam food containers begins in 2021. Maine has joined the U.S. Climate Alliance and withdrawn from the Outer Continental Shelf Governors Coalition, which wanted to drill offshore for oil and gas. Maine will create a state-based effort to identify offshore wind development in the Gulf of Maine. All this has environmentalists giddy.
On 20-year anniversary of Edwards Dam removal, Kennebec River brimming with life
Kennebec Journal - Sunday, June 30, 2019 

Monday marks the 20th anniversary of the landmark removal of the Edwards Dam. The removal propelled a movement around the U.S. to free rivers and bring them back to life, said Brian Graber of American Rivers, a river conservation organization. After the dam’s removal, vegetation began to restore and stabilize the banks, and the fish swam upstream — just a few at first, then by the thousands and millions.
We asked, and Baxter State Park Director Eben Sypitkowski answered
Maine Sunday Telegram - Sunday, June 30, 2019 

When Eben Sypitkowski took over as Baxter State Park director last summer, the challenge of leading the storied wilderness park seemed to him the honor of a lifetime. A year later, the 36-year-old Bangor native says directing the park and its staff of 60 presents many challenges, and many questions that don’t have immediate answers.
Opinion: Land and Water Conservation Fund needs full funding
Sun Journal - Sunday, June 30, 2019 

For more than 50 years, the Land and Water Conservation Fund has been instrumental in protecting irreplaceable lands and waters. LWCF has invested approximately $190 million in Maine through fives decades, protecting some of the state’s most special places and helping to ensure recreational access for hunting, fishing and other outdoor activities. It has been responsible for funding the acquisition and enhancement of federal, state and local public lands in almost every county in the nation. Members in both the House and Senate have proposed bipartisan legislation to provide full and permanent funding, but President Trump has proposed nearly zeroing out money for LWCF. Veterans know deeply that, in taking care of our outdoor places, they will take care of us. Fully funding LWCF is an investment in the health and well-being of the American people. ~ Colonel (Ret.) Steve Ball, Windsor
Letter: Interests of local people ignored
Sun Journal - Sunday, June 30, 2019 

By an overwhelming margin, Jay has become the 17th town to vote against the New England Clean Energy Connect Project. At this point, there has been no popular support for that project, but plenty of public opposition. Oddly, even as we learn of more scientific criticism and opposition mounts, Gov. Janet Mills digs in her heels. She has now vetoed two bills from her own party — one to give local towns along the route a voice in the matter. The governor chooses to stand by Central Maine Power, a company now well known more for its deceptive billing practices and dishonesty. How or why can we, and why does she, believe their science, job forecasts and economic promises? ~ Steve Bien, Jay
Letter: Trail praised by columnist would be devastated by CMP plan
Maine Sunday Telegram - Sunday, June 30, 2019 

Carey Kish’s June 23 Hiking in Maine column is a lovely description of a great hike up Number Five Mountain, one that I’ve taken long before the Leuthold Forest Preserve was involved. Whether by deliberate exclusion or ignorance of the situation, he made no reference to the atrocity that looms over this area in the form of New England Clean Energy Connect, Central Maine Power’s proposed transmission corridor. This issue should have been recognized in the column. All of the groups that have preserved Number Five Mountain and/or lands visible from the mountain – the Nature Conservancy, the Holeb Public Reserved Land, the Forest Society of Maine and the Moose River/Number Five Bog Conservation Lands – are stewards who should be opposing this corridor. ~ Barbara Kane, Jackman
Letter: CMP’s issues should cast doubt on corridor project
Maine Sunday Telegram - Sunday, June 30, 2019 

Kudos to the Press Herald for digging into Central Maine Power’s ongoing billing issues (June 23). You’ve shown how CMP’s longtime project to switch over to smart metering and upgrade their billing system has been a disaster in so many ways. Their lies, attempts to cover up and inept management of the project and ensuing problems have only worsened the situation. It’s no wonder the public doesn’t trust CMP. It’s impossible to understand how Gov. Mills can support New England Clean Energy Connect. CMP has left a long trail of broken promises. Even with a reliable and trustworthy partner, the corridor project makes no sense; it’s destructive and dangerous to our wildlife habitats, tourist industries, the North Woods way of life and all the communities in its path. ~ G. Bud Samiljan, Durham
Letter: State should provide better oversight of CMP
Maine Sunday Telegram - Sunday, June 30, 2019 

Re: “Electric shock: How Central Maine Power misled the public and mismanaged the rollout of its new billing system” (June 23): The extensive article is must reading. It is clear and describes the sort of missteps, process errors and shortcuts that invariably produce flawed results. In this case, the flaws have led to thousands of customer problems and damage to CMP’s reputation, as well as to totally unnecessary costs, stress and worry. I and many others, particularly those customers harmed and others worrying about what may happen to their current and future electric supply, deserve increased state legislative and regulatory action and attention. ~ Oliver Andrews III, Phippsburg
Letter: CMP ill-equipped to carry out power line project
Maine Sunday Telegram - Sunday, June 30, 2019 

Re: “CMP misled the public, mismanaged rollout of new billing system” (June 23): Given Central Maine Power’s incompetence, few, if any, of us would hire them to build a driveway. The state of Maine, however, thinks Central Maine Power capable of managing the construction of a large, complicated project (which should never be built) in environmentally sensitive areas. I would laugh if I were not crying so hard. ~ Edward Riggs, Albion
Column: Black Flies are bad this year, but that’s good in a way
Sun Journal - Saturday, June 29, 2019 

As far as June black flies go, this year may go down in history as one of the worst in recent memory. Interestingly enough, a plentitude of black flies is an indicator of clean water. Back in the 1950s, when many of our rivers were polluted with industrial and municipal waste, there were few black flies. If this is the yardstick, the upper reaches of the West Branch of the Penobscot River is about as pristine as it gets. That’s a good thing – bugs be damned – and may also explain why the fighting, silver warriors that we endure the bugs for are the strongest, scrappiest landlocked salmon in Maine. Hand me that bug spray, please. ~ V. Paul Reynolds
Editorial: Some summer suggestions for enjoying the Maine outdoors
Bangor Daily News - Saturday, June 29, 2019 

Getting outdoors is beneficial to people’s health and summer is a great time to explore each of Maine’s sixteen counties. These are just a few of the spots and experiences around the state that are worth a try this summer:
• Androscoggin: Head upta camp to enjoy some time at Androscoggin Lake.
• Aroostook: Golf at Aroostook Valley Country Club, which straddles the U.S.-Canada border.
• Cumberland: Mackworth Island features a mile-and-a-half loop trail with great views of Casco Bay.
• Franklin: Bigelow Preserve has seven summits and a host of hiking trails.
• Hancock: Find a pick-your-own blueberry farm.
• Kennebec: Catch some fish on the Belgrade lakes.
• Knox: The Maine Lobster Festival is July 31 to Aug. 4.
• Lincoln: Take the ferry to Monhegan and enjoy the island’s picturesque beauty.
• Oxford: The 45th Oxford 250 races into town August 23-25.
• Penobscot: Head to Bangor’s waterfront to enjoy some music.
• Piscataquis: Gulf Hagas is, well, gorgeous.
• Sagadahoc: Some beaches are worth walking for, and Seawall Beach is one of them.
• Somerset: Raft the rapids of the Kennebec River.
• Waldo: The St. George River Canoe trail spans 36 miles.
• Washington: Greet the sun at West Quoddy Head Lighthouse.
• York: Mount Agamenticus offers a view of the Atlantic Ocean and White Mountains.
Cadillac crowds root of problem for Acadia plants
Acadia On My Mind Blog - Saturday, June 29, 2019 

The ferns, flowers, shrubs and grasses of Cadillac Mountain have a tough enough time surviving the elements, but the biggest threat of all may be the pounding of constant foot traffic on Acadia National Park’s busiest and highest summit. On Cadillac, which receives about 700,000 visits by people a year, the Acadia plants are as fragile as those along the well-known Alpine Garden Trail of the much higher Mount Washington in New Hampshire. Botanists, park leaders and others are now close to completing a multi-year project to understand, protect and revive Cadillac’s fragile vegetation.
Law change will make it easier to ship Maine sea urchins
Associated Press - Saturday, June 29, 2019 

Maine’s the site of a fishery for sea urchins, which are harvested so their roe can be used as food. But members of the industry and some lawmakers have charged over the years that burdensome inspection regulations make it difficult to ship the product where it needs to go. Former Republican Rep. Bruce Poliquin and current Democratic Rep. Chellie Pingree are among the lawmakers who have called for an ease on those burdens, which sometimes result in the seafood spoiling while awaiting inspections. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says in the Federal Register that it’s amending regulations about importation and exportation of urchins to address the problem.
Salmon farm development seeks 70 percent break on new taxes in Bucksport
Bangor Daily News - Saturday, June 29, 2019 

A developer seeks to avoid paying 70 percent of the new property taxes it expects to owe the town of Bucksport when it builds what looks to be the state’s first land-based Atlantic salmon farm. Whole Oceans is applying with the town to use the state’s Tax Increment Financing, or TIF, program to help launch the farm in 2021 on the site of the former Verso Paper mill. The benefits could help secure at least 50 jobs expected to be created when the company completes its $190 million first phase.
Why garden snakes are not your enemies
Bangor Daily News - Saturday, June 29, 2019 

Slithering along rock walls and under bushes, snakes often establish homes in or around gardens — if permitted. There they feast on slugs and worms, insects and toads. They bask in the sun to warm up, and they retreat into tiny burrows to rest. Garden snakes such as garter snakes can be a welcome addition to a property. “It’s an indicator of a healthy ecosystem, to have a snake in your yard [or garden],” said Melissa Amarello, co-founder and director of education for Advocates for Snake Preservation. “It means you have a friendly yard going on, enough to support a predator.”
Proposal would raise natural gas rates in Maine cities
Portland Press Herald - Saturday, June 29, 2019 

Natural-gas consumers in Portland and Lewiston-Auburn could see rate increases of up to 9 percent if regulators approve a proposal by Unitil, an international energy company that owns a subsidiary in Maine. Unitil is hoping to raise rates to fund safety improvements in the distribution system, as well as better serve a growing customer base, the company said in a news release Friday. The average customer would pay an extra $9.93 a month.
Lifeguard shortage makes summer staffing a challenge on southern Maine beaches
Portland Press Herald - Saturday, June 29, 2019 

When Old Orchard Beach assistant lifeguard captain Lance Timberlake first applied for a lifeguard job 17 years ago, he was competing with many applicants for the position. That has changed. This summer, Old Orchard Beach is among the towns in southern Maine struggling to hire enough lifeguards to staff some of the busiest beaches in the state. The town has hired 13 lifeguards for the summer, fewer than half of the 30 it aims to have.
Letter: Deliver newspapers in biodegradable bags
Portland Press Herald - Saturday, June 29, 2019 

Plastic bags are a big problem, and the Portland Press Herald and its affiliated publications in Maine could easily become part of the solution rather than part of the problem by using biodegradable delivery bags. As a subscriber, I look to the Press Herald to be a socially responsible organization. ~ Henry Hilliard, Cumberland Foreside
Letter: Absence from BIW ‘christening,’ activist events reflects poorly on Press Herald
Portland Press Herald - Saturday, June 29, 2019 

Last Saturday, demonstrators gathered near Bath Iron Works to peacefully protest the “christening” of a destroyer (read: implement of terror, violence and planetary destruction). Twenty-two veterans, artists, parents, teachers and others were arrested. Nine protesters refused to pay release fees and were held in jail for the weekend. Gov. Mills spoke in support at the “christening,” despite having signed the Green New Deal in Maine into law earlier that week (hypocrisy). Zero Portland Press Herald reporters covered this. Why isn’t the work of robust local activist communities, a former presidential candidate’s visit, the flip-floppy actions of the state’s highest-ranking political officials and Maine’s latest contribution to the global climate crisis newsworthy? ~ Ashley and Sophia Bahlkow, North Yarmouth
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