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
General Mills joins effort to support bee and butterfly habitats
Other - Wednesday, November 30, 2016 

General Mills has made its largest contribution to help save pollinators, announcing a $2 million commitment that will add more than 100,000 acres of bee and butterfly habitat on or near existing crop lands. The five-year agreement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Xerces Society, the world's oldest and largest pollinator conservation group, will focus its efforts in Maine and five other states. The USDA and Xerces will match this donation with another $2 million toward the project.
No boom or bust: Tale of the Upper Missouri River Breaks
Maine Townsman - Wednesday, November 30, 2016 

What can Mainers learn from Montana’s 15 years of experience hosting a national monument? Be careful of predictions of an economic bonanza, but also be wary of suggestions that the new preserve will be a bust for the region, say local and federal officials as well as an outfitter who’s made a living in Montana’s preserve for decades. “It’s not the end of the world, but it’s not the beginning of the world either,” said Michael Gregston, owner of Missouri River Outfitters, which guides people on three-, four- and six-day trips. “You’re not going to get rich, but you’re not going to get kicked out of the forest either.”
National Parks around the world advance while the U.S. retreats
Maine Environmental News - Wednesday, November 30, 2016 

While the U.S. backslides, other countries are moving ahead to create more national parks and nature reserves. Designated protected areas cover about 15 percent of the land and 3.4 percent of the global ocean. However, eminent scientist E.O. Wilson argues that we should aim to restore and preserve at least half of Planet Earth in a natural condition. In the U.S., conservationists have identified scores of areas that could qualify as new or expanded National Park System units. Will a century of U.S. leadership in inventing and establishing the greatest system of national parks in the world be trumped by myopic politicians, or will we regain our footing and make America’s national park system great again?
Court to rule whether South Portlanders have to pay legal fees in pipeline lawsuit
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, November 30, 2016 

South Portland has already spent nearly 75 percent of its roughly $1 million legal budget to defend an ordinance that blocks the Portland Pipe Line Corp. from importing Canadian oil. And the trial hasn’t even started. But before a federal court hears the case over South Portland’s controversial Clear Skies ordinance, Maine’s highest court will decide whether local taxpayers will have to foot the bill for legal fees or if the city’s legal insurance will be forced to cover the cost.
Column: Warmth and Consequences
Free Press - Wednesday, November 30, 2016 

The Arctic has been too warm this fall. Back in mid-October, when the sun sank below the Arctic horizon for the winter, sea ice on the Arctic Ocean stopped forming. By the end of the month, a section of ice about the size of the eastern United States had failed to form. The absence of this ice is made more astonishing because when the Arctic turns dark, temperatures typically get a bit chilly, ranging from -40°F to just below freezing during a normal year. In early November, some parts of the Arctic were experiencing air temperatures 36°F above normal. I feel guilty about the fact that I can sit on my front porch at noon on a clear November day and eat my sandwich in comfort. It’s discomforting to think that these mild and temporary pleasures may be linked to irreversible global changes in the not-so-distant future. ~ Melissa Waterman
‘Ellie,’ Waterville’s ancient elm, passes her physical
Morning Sentinel - Wednesday, November 30, 2016 

Years ago, many elms lined the streets of the city. But in the 1950s and ’60s, Dutch elm disease ravaged the trees and the city had to cut them down. The elm in Castonguay Square, nicknamed “Ellie,” is taller than City Hall. City officials estimate the tree is about 75 feet tall, 40 inches in diameter at its trunk and 120 to 150 years old.
Maine groups get money to fight invasive forest pests
Associated Press - Wednesday, November 30, 2016 

The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry is giving $35,000 to the Maine Association of Conservation Districts Employees Committee and $5,000 to the Saco River Recreational Council. The agriculture department says the money will support the groups’ efforts to provide outreach and education to get residents interested in protecting Maine forests from invasive pests such as the Asian longhorned beetle, emerald ash borer, hemlock woolly adelgid, winter moth and others.
Watch: Maine’s changing landscapes, seen from space
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, November 30, 2016 

Google recently released Timelapse, a mapping tool that stitches together 32 years of Landsat satellite imagery to create looping videos of the Earth’s changing landscapes. Maine has a few areas that have seen dramatic change since 1984. Here are Sunday River ski resort in Newry, Popham Beach in Phippsburg, Suburban sprawl in Windham, and Forestry around the Allagash Wilderness Waterway.
Katahdin Woods And Waters National Monument: A Pretty Magical Place
National Parks Traveler - Wednesday, November 30, 2016 

Thoreau’s impression of the Maine North Woods, penned during one of his three trips to the region in the 1840s and 1850s, more than likely would have been different had he visited in winter today. Though the woods still appear primeval in some spots, the hand of man is evident since Thoreau’s days. This winter, the first visitors will explore Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument by snowshoe, snowmobile, and skis. They’ll find an inviting landscape of thousands of acres of backcountry.
Gov. Paul LePage pushes for cheaper electricity
Sun Journal - Wednesday, November 30, 2016 

Taking aim at green power initiatives that raise energy costs, Gov. Paul LePage said in his weekly radio address Wednesday that Maine consumers deserve a break. “Decades of corruption, poor decision-making and wealthy special interests controlling Augusta” have left the state shouldering higher than necessary costs for energy, the governor said, a legacy he claims crimps business growth. LePage seeks to end initiatives aimed at bolstering wind and solar use that call for above market rate payments that proponents say are needed to get the renewable sectors off the ground. He prefers to move toward more use of natural gas and imported hydropower.
This tortuous hiking adventure is amazing and inspiring
George Smith BDN Outdoor News Blog - Wednesday, November 30, 2016 

You have to give Jeff Ryan credit for his determination, stamina, and love of the outdoors. It took Jeff 28 years to hike the Appalachian Trail, and many of his sectional hikes were, well, not much fun. That’s my opinion, only. He loved every hike, and that love and enjoyment comes through in his book, Appalachian Odyssey.
Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument Community Listening Sessions Report
Other - Wednesday, November 30, 2016 

In September 2016, the National Park Service held Community Listening Sessions to collect community input about the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument (KAWWNM). This report includes all input recorded. The National Park Service will use the input from the Listening Sessions to help identify topics and discussion items that will inform the engagement process for the management plan going forward, which will include additional community discussions and group meetings. Simultaneously, the NPS will be conducting resource studies about the natural and cultural history of the lands to supplement the work that has already been done around understanding what makes this place special. NPS has committed to completing the management plan in three years.
Expansion of Search for Invasive Forest Pests Announced
Maine Government News - Wednesday, November 30, 2016 

he Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry announced two awards that will expand outreach to all 16 Maine counties in an effort to address the growing threat from invasive forest pests. The Maine Association of Conservation Districts Employees Committee and the Saco River Recreational Council received continued funding ($35,000 and $5,000, respectively) for their efforts to provide outreach and education to engage citizens in helping protect Maine forests.
The 2016 Appalachian Trail Thru-Hiker Survey: General Hiker Stats
Other - Wednesday, November 30, 2016 

The average (mean) age of hikers in the survey was 31 years old, plus or minus 12 years, with a median age of 27 years old. Hikers ranged in age from 17 to 68. Women comprised 42 % of hikers in the survey, while about 58% of hikers were men. The vast majority (94%), of hikers in the survey were White. Six hikers were Asian, 4 were Hispanic/Latino, and two were multi-racial. Nearly half of hikers in the survey had bachelors degrees. Nearly all hikers were from the U.S.
Letter: Time for action on climate change
Morning Sentinel - Wednesday, November 30, 2016 

More than 100 Colby students and community members stood in a candlelight vigil by the Universalist Unitarian Church on Nov. 14 to support the First Nations people who are blocking the Dakota Access pipeline. This oil pipeline would threaten to pollute both their tribe’s water supply and the Missouri River. The local activists gathered both to support these Native Americans’ rights, and also to protest Donald Trump’s plans to reverse progress on controlling climate change. We have to switch to renewable energy very quickly to stop climate change. Please think about how you can help. ~ Richard Thomas, Waterville
A deeper look at Maine’s land conservation tax policies
Maine Townsman - Tuesday, November 29, 2016 

Municipal officials see both benefits and burdens in permanently protecting land from development. There are important fairness, taxation and legislative considerations.
Eastern Trail Alliance’s fundraising goal is in sight
Portland Press Herald - Tuesday, November 29, 2016 

The Eastern Trail Alliance announced Tuesday that it is close to a fundraising goal that would allow the trail to run 16 miles uninterrupted from Bug Light in South Portland to Saco. The alliance needs just over $600,000 to complete a $3.8 million capital campaign that would allow for construction of a difficult section of the trail that spans a railroad track and the Nonesuch River. The Eastern Trail is envisioned as a 64-mile off-road bike-and pedestrian path reaching from South Portland to Kittery. Already 22 miles of the trail runs through portions of South Portland, Scarborough, Old Orchard Beach, Saco, Biddeford, Arundel and Kennebunk.
LePage Rails Against Energy Deals
Maine Public - Tuesday, November 29, 2016 

In his weekly radio address, Gov. Paul LePage blasts Democrats for pushing what he calls backroom energy deals that benefit a few energy companies at the expense of Maine consumers. There are likely to be dozens of energy bills introduced in the new Legislature. LePage says in the new session of the Legislature he will again fight against deals that he says provide unfair above market prices for some energy suppliers.
Hike: Vaughan Woods in Hallowell
Aislinn Sarnacki Act Out Blog - Tuesday, November 29, 2016 

Covering 197 acres in the town of Hallowell, Vaughan Woods has long been known for its natural beauty and fascinating history. In fact, local residents call it “Hobbitland,” a reference to the whimsical world imagined by the famous author J.R.R. Tolkien. But don’t let that confuse you. The property is a nature preserve, home to a network of public walking trails that are open year round.
Maine’s electric rates fall again, but not monthly bills
Portland Press Herald - Tuesday, November 29, 2016 

Most Mainers are likely to see the rate they pay for electricity fall again in 2017, but that doesn’t mean their total monthly bills will be much lower. That’s because while the price of fuel that drives New England’s wholesale electric market has moderated in recent years, the costs of upgrading transmission lines and building new power plants is trending upward. Despite that, Maine’s relatively flat costs contrast with other New England states, where electric bills have gone up 20 percent over the past several years.
Sen. King: Hopes Fading for Deal with House on Energy Bill
Maine Public - Tuesday, November 29, 2016 

Maine U.S. Sen. Angus King says it's growing unlikely that a deal can be worked out with the House on a broad energy bill the Senate approved eight months ago. The bill would modernize the electric grid, improve efficiency efforts and reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
Maine Lobstermen to Help Design Flotation Devices Aimed at Preventing Drownings
Maine Public - Tuesday, November 29, 2016 

A regional safety organization plans to recruit lobstermen in Maine to help design a personal flotation device, or PFD. The aim is to prevent drownings. Researchers with the Northeast Center for Occupational Health and Safety plan to begin visiting docks in Maine and Massachusetts over the winter. One-hundred-sixty lobstermen will be paid to test different types of life vests for a month to determine which designs work best for daily use. Rebecca Weil is the center's research coordinator.
Power Of Wind Urges Americans To Tell Presidential Transition Team About Wind Energy
Other - Tuesday, November 29, 2016 

An ‘Action Alert’ sent out by leading community movement Power of Wind has called on the American people to tell the newly-elected US President Donald Trump of the importance of wind energy by sending a letter to his Transition Team.
Downeast Sunrise Trail Extension Completed
Other - Tuesday, November 29, 2016 

The Downeast Sunrise Trail (DEST) has now been completed with addition of the final two miles from Hancock into Ellsworth, after a quarter century of work. Commissioners from two collaborating state agencies and community partners will be on hand December 2 for a ceremonial ribbon cutting commemorating the event.
Memories of the Maine Budworm Infestation, 1970's - 1980's
Forests for Maine's Future - Tuesday, November 29, 2016 

Most Mainers barely remember the last infestation and/or have no idea what budworm is, how it threatens our forests or that it’s coming back. To enlist their support for the effort ahead, we need to help them understand how budworm shaped not only Maine’s forests, but its history, economy, laws and culture.
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