December 15, 2017  
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Maine Environmental News
Announcement - Wednesday, December 13, 2017 

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
Maine Energy Planning Roadmap hearings, Dec 19, Dec 29, Jan 10
Event - Posted - Tuesday, December 12, 2017 

The Governor’s Energy Office is asking Mainers for input in developing an Energy Planning Roadmap. Public hearings:
• Dec. 19: University of Southern Maine, Portland
• Dec. 29: Energy, Utilities, & Technology Committee, Augusta
• Jan. 10: University of Maine, Presque Isle
Help wanted: Visitor Center Assistant
Announcement - Monday, December 11, 2017 

Seasonal position, May 1 - October 31, 2018, representing Audubon’s Seabird Restoration Program at the Project Puffin Visitor Center in Rockland.
Free Skiing & Learn-to-Ski Clinics, Dec 16
Event - Posted - Saturday, December 9, 2017 

Waterville Parks & Rec, with support from Friends of Quarry Road, will provide free trail passes, free rentals, and free learn-to-ski clinics at Quarry Road Trails, December 16.
Meadow Brook/Hurds Pond Preserve Hike, Dec 16
Event - Posted - Saturday, December 9, 2017 

Cloe Chunn will lead a hike of Meadow Brook/Hurds Pond, a preserve of Coastal Mountains Land Trust. Meet at Swanville Transfer Station, December 16, 10 am. Sponsored by Belfast Bay Watershed Coalition.
Tax bill would slam the brakes on solar and wind energy
Action Alert - Friday, December 8, 2017 

The tax bill passed by the Senate last Friday includes an obscure provision that could pull the rug out from under solar and wind power. The House version also takes aim at renewable energy by rolling back key tax credits. These provisions "would have a devastating ... impact on wind and solar energy," according to renewable energy industry leaders. ~ Environment Maine
Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, Dec 14
Event - Posted - Thursday, December 7, 2017 

Tim Hudson, Superintendent, will take you through the landscape of Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument with pictures. At Belfast Free Library, December 14, 6:30 pm. Sponsored by Belfast Bay Watershed Coalition.
Whales of the Gulf of Maine: A Naturalist’s Report, Dec 14
Event - Posted - Thursday, December 7, 2017 

Zack Klyver, chief naturalist for the Bar Harbor Whale Watch Company and founder of Flukes whale watch ecotours, will present an engaging review of the 2017 whale watch season. At Schoodic Institute, Winter Harbor, December 14, 12 pm.
Olive oil tasting, Dec 13
Event - Posted - Wednesday, December 6, 2017 

FIORE Artisan Olive Oils & Vinegars will host an evening to support the Brunswick Topsham Land Trust at its tasting room in Brunswick, December 13, 5-7 pm.
The Arctic Needs Your Help
Action Alert - Tuesday, December 5, 2017 

Buried deep within the Senate tax bill is a provision to open the pristine Arctic Refuge, a national treasure, to oil and gas drilling, which will cause widespread pollution and harm to the wildlife and people who call this place home. Express your disappointment to Senator Susan Collins and urge her to protect our natural legacy by working to remove this damaging language before the tax bill becomes law. ~ Maine Conservation Voters
Birds from the Footbridge in Belfast, Dec 9
Event - Posted - Saturday, December 2, 2017 

Join Ron Harrell and Gary Gulezian to watch ducks, loons and other birds in the harbor. At the Belfast Footbridge, December 9, 8-10 am. Organized by Belfast Bay Watershed Coalition.
Win $1,000 L.L.Bean shopping spree and an outing with David Sibley
Announcement - Friday, December 1, 2017 

Wildlife Acoustics, makers of the Song Sleuth bird identifying app, launched the Sibley Sweepstakes on December 1. Ends March 1. No purchase necessary to enter.
Baxter State Park sign auction, ends Dec 6
Announcement - Thursday, November 30, 2017 

Auction of retired Baxter State Park signs, plus the historic dinner bell from Kidney Pond Camps. Friends Baxter State Park will donate half the proceeds to Baxter State Park, and half will support FBSP programs. Ends December 6.
Blazing Ahead: the Rivalry that Built the Appalachian Trail, Dec 7
Event - Posted - Thursday, November 30, 2017 

Jeffrey Ryan tells the story of the unlikely creation of the Appalachian Trail. At Bangor Public Library, December 7, 6 pm. Sponsored by Appalachian Mountain Club Maine Chapter.
Celebrate CREA and the Season, Dec 7
Event - Posted - Thursday, November 30, 2017 

Meet new Executive Director Wendy Van Damme, hear about new programs and plans, and contemplate the joy of winter activity at the Cathance River Education Alliance’s 235 acre nature preserve in Topsham. At Frontier Cafe, Brunswick, December 7, 4:30 to 6:30 pm, RSVP.
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News Items
Key Parcel Added to Cathance River Conservation Effort
Other - Thursday, October 31, 2013 

For over 10 years, Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust has been working with many partners to conserve a recreation-conservation corridor for the public’s use along one of our region’s hidden gems — the Cathance River. The Cathance provides a very different riparian and recreational experience from the wide open Androscoggin River. It feels intimate and remote despite the relative proximity to busy neighborhoods and intersections, and includes everything from Class-4 rapids to gentle meanders along its 12 mile journey to Merrymeeting Bay. The Flannery property, a 29-acre parcel on the western shore of the Cathance River’s tidal section, adds over 900 feet of shore frontage to the Cathance Conservation corridor. The property contains hemlock forest, oak, northern hardwoods, and a small but rare hardwood seep. It is valued by US Fish and Wildlife Service and Maine Department of Inland Fisheries for providing tidal waterfowl and wading bird habitat and a large block of undeveloped forest habitat.
Scientists fear fungus poses renewed threat to white pine trees
Associated Press - Thursday, October 31, 2013 

A fungus targeting white pine forests has mutated and poses new threats more than a century after it first hit the United States, American and Canadian scientists said Thursday. A mutant form of white pine blister rust was discovered by Cornell University researcher Kerik Cox in 2011 in Connecticut. After two years of study, scientists now believe a large number of host plants, called ribes, previously thought to be immune to the fungus are susceptible. Ribes include valuable niche crops like black currants and gooseberries that are used in products from jam to vodka. Spores from infected ribes are carried by wind to the pines where the fungus invades the tree, eventually killing it.
Obama will use executive powers to conserve lands: Interior secretary
Reuters - Thursday, October 31, 2013 

President Barack Obama will use his executive powers to protect more mountains, rivers and forests from development if Congress does not act to preserve such wild spaces, the U.S. Interior Secretary said on Thursday. The 1906 Antiquities Act gives the president broad authority to put natural terrain and historic sites under federal protection. Lawmakers have proposed roughly two dozen sites for federal protection, but partisan divisions have helped stall many of those plans. Jewell said proposals that have backing in Congress — including planned designation of coastal regions of California and Maine as well as a swath of the Arizona desert — are among the first that could be considered.
Maine legislators try to end missed dam deadlines
Portland Press Herald - Thursday, October 31, 2013 

Lawmakers want to impose firmer oversight of the Department of Environmental Protection’s handling of dam relicensing after the state missed deadlines for three projects. House Democrats are advancing a bill that “would require DEP to have a plan to address dam relicensing deadlines and share it with legislative committees of jurisdiction,” said a statement they released Thursday. The measure was unanimously endorsed by the Legislative Council, so it can be introduced in the legislative session that starts in January. Under Commissioner Patricia Aho, the DEP has missed deadlines for three dam projects, irrevocably waiving the state’s authority to set terms for water levels in reservoirs and rivers that affect waterfront property owners, fish spawning and passage, and recreation for a generation.
Maine agrees to reduce lucrative elver landings
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, October 31, 2013 

Federal regulators have agreed to delay taking action on possible new management rules for the American eel fishery until next spring, which means Maine’s annual spring elver fishery will be allowed to proceed next March. In exchange for the delay, however, Maine regulators have promised the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission that it will develop a plan to reduce the 2014 statewide elver harvest by 25 to 40 percent. Elvers are juvenile American eels.
City to appeal after judge allows petition drive against Portland sale of Congress Square Plaza
Forecaster - Thursday, October 31, 2013 

A petition challenging the sale of most of Congress Square Plaza to hotel developers will be allowed to proceed, Cumberland County Superior Court Justice Joyce Wheeler ruled Thursday. Wheeler also refused to issue a stay pending appeal in the case, as sought by the city, which would have prevented petitioners from collecting signatures until the city appeals the ruling to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court. That allows the citizens group Friends of Congress Square Park to take advantage of the foot traffic at the polls on Tuesday, Election Day, in circulating petition forms. Danielle West-Chuhta, corporation counsel for Portland, Thursday afternoon said the city will appeal.
Judge allows petition drive against Portland sale of Congress Square lot to move forward
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, October 31, 2013 

A petition drive seeking to challenge the controversial sale of Portland’s Congress Square Park to hotel developers will be allowed to proceed, Cumberland County Superior Court Justice Joyce Wheeler ruled Thursday. Wheeler also refused to issue a stay pending appeal in the case, as sought by the city of Portland, which would have prevented petitioners from collecting signatures until the city appeals the ruling to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court. That allows the citizens group Friends of Congress Square Park to take advantage of the foot traffic at the polls on Tuesday, Election Day, in circulating petition forms.
Industry Reps Discuss the Future of Petroleum Use in Maine
 - Thursday, October 31, 2013 

Last week representatives from the oil and gas industry gathered in Portland for a forum on the economics, technology and infrastructure of Maine's petroleum market sponsored by the Maine Energy Marketers Association and the Environmental and Energy Technology Council of Maine (E2 Tech). Maine is currently the least densely populated state east of the Mississippi River, with over 95 percent of the passenger movement by road. With 68 percent of all homes heated with oil (the national average being just 6 percent), Maine is particularly vulnerable to the volatility of oil markets.
Deer projections good around the state
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, October 31, 2013 

Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife biologists are preparing reports that may help hunters in the weeks ahead. Here’s the most recent report.
Opinion: Good news in Maine points to a brighter future on several fronts
Portland Press Herald - Thursday, October 31, 2013 

We’ve had some terrific good news in Maine over the last few weeks. In the Katahdin region of the North Woods, a breakthrough is occurring in what has long been a region conflicted about its future and given little to cheer about. The Katahdin area, like most of western and northern Maine, has been hard hit by steady declines in jobs in the rural and forest economy and the devastating loss of paper mills in Millinocket. Divisions over how the next economy of the region will be built, and what it will include, have been deep and oftentimes angry. A new and important conversation has begun in the region, in which all the options are on the table, including ones that have been long resisted. One idea that seems to be gaining traction is a new national park and recreation area that would utilize the area’s abundant natural resources in new ways, and perhaps become a foundation block of the region’s future economy. ~ Alan Caron
Maine moose herd ‘robust’ while population falls elsewhere
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 

Maine’s moose population is healthy and not experiencing the same conditions that are causing problems with moose herds in other states, according to a state wildlife biologist. Lee Kantar, a wildlife biologist and moose specialist with the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, said Maine’s moose population is “healthy and robust” with plenty of habitat on commercial forestlands. There are about 70,000 moose in Maine, one of the highest densities in the lower 48 states, he said. Despite the trend in Maine, moose in other parts of the northern United States are dying in what some scientists say may be the start of climate shock to the world’s boreal forests.
As natural gas companies snatch up customers, oil providers offer ways to reduce bills
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 

With the winter freeze approaching, natural gas companies are scrambling to hook up their last new customers of 2013, while Maine oil and propane dealers are trying to give their users money-saving options in hopes they won’t convert.
Skowhegan’s Whitten Brook cleanup underway
Morning Sentinel - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 

By the time a Portland environmental group and the town’s economic development officials are done with the restoration of Whitten Brook watershed, the water will be clean enough to support a threatened brook trout population — right in the middle of town. Whitten Brook, which flows from Russell Road, through neighborhoods, under streets and back yards and finally into the Kennebec River at Elm Street, is one of only two or three urban wild brook trout streams in Maine.
Bill threatening national park in the Katahdin region rejected
Maine Environmental News - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 

The Maine Legislative Council today rejected a bill proposed for the 2014 regular session of the Maine Legislature by Rep. Steve Stanley (D-Medway), which could threaten the establishment of a new national park in northern Maine. The bill title suggests that it may be intended to stymie efforts by Elliotsville Plantation Inc. (EPI) to donate lands along the East Branch of the Penobscot River for a national park and national recreation area. Stanley’s proposed bill failed 4 to 6 to get approval by the Legislative Council on Wednesday. There will be an opportunity on November 21 for legislators to appeal rejected bills.
Maine elver fishery to face harvest cuts in 2014
Associated Press - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 

Maine’s lucrative glass eel fishery will be allowed to remain open next year as long as state officials devise a plan to cut its 2014 catch by at least 25 percent, regulators agreed Wednesday. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s eel management board voted to postpone passing new regulations that would go into effect in 2014, opting instead to vote on new rules next spring that would be effective in 2015. In the interim, state officials will work with eel fishermen and dealers in Maine to create a plan that results in next spring’s catch being 25 percent to 40 percent smaller than this year’s spring harvest.
Judge will rule on lawsuit over Portland’s Congress Square Park by noon Thursday
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 

A Cumberland County Superior Court justice said she will rule by midday Thursday whether she’ll allow the advancement of a petition effort seeking to, as the city of Portland contends, “nullify” the controversial sale of Congress Square Park to a private hotel developer. The City Council voted 6-3 on Sept. 16 to sell 9,500 square feet of the publicly owned park to RockBridge Capital LLC. The proposed sale touched off a firestorm of debate, with supporters saying the project would revitalize a long underused part of the city downtown. But opponents said the deal sets a bad precedent of selling public space to private entities and that the park was only underused because the city let it fall into disrepair.
Hike: Hogback Mountain, Montville
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 

Hogback Mountain rises 1,115 feet above sea level in Montville, Maine, just west of Frye Mountain (1,139 feet in elevation), the more popular of the two for hiking. The long ridgelines of these mountains, oriented from southwest to northeast, offer several outlooks for hikers. The trail that climbs both of these mountains is a part of the Georges Highland Path, 40 miles of connected, low-impact hiking trails in Midcoast Maine.
Chesterville voters to consider water protection ordinance
Sun Journal - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 

Chesterville residents will consider adopting an ordinance to protect water quality in the town in a referendum Tuesday, Nov. 5. The town’s Water Resources Protection Committee developed a proposed ordinance that sets guidelines on commercial water extraction and mineral extraction but does not prohibit them.
EXCLUSIVE: Irving spends more than $226,000 on lobbying to facilitate mining
Maine Environmental News - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 

J.D. Irving Ltd., Maine's largest landowner, has spent well over $200,000 on corporate lobbyists to push for changes to Maine's mining laws, according to state lobbyist disclosure records. Three lobbyists — Tom Doyle of the Pierce Atwood law firm, Jim Mitchell of the Mitchell Tardy lobbing firm, and Anthony Hourihan of Irving — collectively were paid or reimbursed $226,691 for working in behalf of Aroostook Timberlands LLC to successfully pass LD 1853 during Maine’s regular legislative session last year and to fend off an effort to amend that bill this year. Aroostook Timberlands is a subsidiary of J.D. Irving, which was set up to pursue development of a large-scale open-pit mine at Bald Mountain in Aroostook County.
Maine biologist: State’s moose herd is thriving, national population concerns complex
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 

A recent story in the Washington Post story said, “Moose in the northern United States are dying in what scientists say may be the start of climate shock to the world’s boreal forests.” The report goes on to mention parasitic worms that seem to be laying Minnesota moose low. In Wyoming, an artery-blocking worm is the culprit. In New Hampshire, tick infestations are suspected. Lee Kantar, the moose biologist for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, said, “The whole issue with moose populations across the lower 48 is complex, and you have to look at it state by state [to understand] what’s going on. Maine’s northern forests are essentially perfect for moose, thanks to the timber industry, according to Kantar.
Plantings protect South Portland park pond
Forecaster - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 

Greater Portland Christian School fourth-graders planted vegetation at Hinckley Park in South Portland on Wednesday morning as part of the Trout Brook watershed improvement program. Students, school staff and volunteers joined city Stormwater Program Coordinator Fred Dillon and Jon Dore of the South Portland Land Trust to plant vegetation at the lower end of the park pond to help stabilize the shore and reduce erosion into Kimball Brook, a Trout Brook tributary. Contractors earlier built a cement stairway to the pond and installed a split rail fence. The work project was funded with a $20,000 grant from Royal Bank of Canada’s Blue Water Project.
How Much Water Actually Goes Into Making A Bottle Of Water?
National Public Radio - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 

Environmental activists have long claimed that bottled water is wasteful. Usually, they point to the roughly 50 billion (mostly plastic) bottles we throw away every year. The International Bottled Water Association, ever sensitive to criticism that it's wasting precious resources, has commissioned its first ever study to figure out how much water goes into producing one liter. The results, released this month, show that for North American companies, it takes 1.39 liters to make one liter of water. Activists say the IBWA study highlights a problem throughout the beverage industry: Few companies take the whole water-use picture into account when calculating their water use.
Maine Audubon plans next-generation solar energy array in Falmouth
Forecaster - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 

Ted Koffman, the executive director of Maine Audubon, stood in the shadow of a 150-year-old apple tree and pointed toward the nonprofit group's headquarters – a passive-solar building constructed at Gilsland Farm in 1976. The stark, angular structure was state of the art at the time, but now it shows its age. "It's kind of like the Model-T of solar," Koffman said. "It works, but we can do better." Someday soon, perhaps, the pastoral setting will be home to the next generation of solar power. Maine Audubon plans to install eight solar panels, including half a dozen 18-foot-tall freestanding arrays. The panels will cost an estimated $225,000 and may produce 70 percent of the facility's energy.
North Yarmouth selectmen uphold limited hunting in town park
Forecaster - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 

The North Yarmouth Board of Selectmen voted 3-1 Tuesday to keep a limited hunting and trapping policy in Old Town House Park. The vote came despite a Recreation Commission recommendation that hunting be prohibited in the park.
Maine’s scallop season to open Dec. 2
Associated Press - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 

Maine fishermen are being given a 70-day scallop season along most of the coast. Regulators say the upcoming season will begin Dec. 2 and continue through late March from Kittery to Lubec. Fishermen in the scallop-rich waters of Cobscook Bay along the Canadian border in far eastern Maine have been given a 50-day season. Fishermen last year hauled in 2.4 million pounds, the best harvest in a decade. The catch was worth $3.2 million.
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