March 23, 2019  
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Maine Environmental News
Action Alert - Saturday, March 23, 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). 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 State Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan Survey
Action Alert - Saturday, March 23, 2019 

Every five years, Maine submits a SCORP plan to the National Park Service to meet planning requirements for the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Since its inception in 1966, LWCF has injected $43 million into non-federal projects in Maine. The Maine Bureau of Parks & Lands wants to know what outdoors activities you engage in, and what you see as priorities for the future. To make your voice heard, take the Maine SCORP Survey: https://mescorpsurvey.com/
Earth Hour, Mar 30
Action Alert - Saturday, March 23, 2019 

Join millions around the world to turn off the lights and speak up about why nature matters. March 30, 8:30-9:30 pm.
Hermit Island Hike, Mar 30
Event - Posted - Saturday, March 23, 2019 

Hike a mix of sandy beaches, cliffs, shore trails, woods walk and camp roads. At Hermit Island Campground, Phippsburg, March 30. Sponsored by Appalachian Mountain Club.
MCHT looking for volunteers to mentor kids
Announcement - Friday, March 22, 2019 

Maine Coast Heritage Trust invites the public to volunteer orientation for individuals interested in mentoring families participating in a Kids Can Grow program at MCHT's Erickson Fields Preserve in Rockport. The orientation will be at MCHT's Aldermen Farm, Rockport, April 6, 4-5 pm.
Managing Forests for Bird Habitat, Mar 29
Event - Posted - Friday, March 22, 2019 

Dr. Sally Stockwell, Maine Audubon conservation director, will speak about “Managing Forests for Bird Habitat.” At Keith Anderson Community House, Orono, March 29, 6:30 p.m. Sponsored by Orono Land Trust.
Solo thru-paddling the Northern Forest Canoe Trail, Mar 28
Event - Posted - Thursday, March 21, 2019 

Laurie Chandler describes her 2015 solo thru-paddle of the 740-mile Northern Forest Canoe Trail. At Curtis Library, Brunswick, March 28, 7 pm. Sponsored by Appalachian Mountain Club.
Interactions Among Plants & Insects, March 28
Event - Posted - Thursday, March 21, 2019 

Maine Master Naturalist Roger Rittmaster presents. At Ladd Center, Wayne, March 28, 7 pm. Sponsored by Kennebec Land Trust.
Why Going Native Matters, Mar 27
Event - Posted - Wednesday, March 20, 2019 

Heather McCargo, found and executive director of Wild Seed Project, presents "Why Going Native Matters: Beauty, Biodiversity and Resilience." At Portland Public Library, March 27, 5:30 pm.
Urge Maine's Agencies to Investigate and Halt PFAS Contamination
Action Alert - Tuesday, March 19, 2019 

Highly persistent and toxic chemicals known as PFAS may be lurking undiscovered in farmlands across Maine. State records show that at an Arundel dairy farm, PFOS was in milk at the highest level ever reported anywhere. Urge Maine Ag and DEP commissioners to test the fields, stop sludge spreading, and phase out PFAS products. ~ Environmental Health Strategy Center
Just Eat It: A Food Waste Story, Mar 26
Event - Posted - Tuesday, March 19, 2019 

Film followed by a discussion led by Brie Berry, a Ph.D. candidate in anthropology and environmental policy. Part of a Human Dimensions of Climate Change film series. At Fogler Library, UMaine, Orono, March 26, 6 pm.
Retired Game Warden Randall Probert, Mar 26
Event - Posted - Tuesday, March 19, 2019 

Author, raconteur, and retired game warden Randall Probert will speak to the Hebron Historical Society on “Maine Tales and More.” At Hebron Town Office, March 26, 7 pm.
Celebrating Maine’s Wild Creatures, Mar 26
Event - Posted - Tuesday, March 19, 2019 

Speaker: Ed Robinson, author of “Nature Notes from Maine: River Otters, Moose, Skunks and More.” At Curtis Library, March 16, 7 pm. Sponsored by Merrymeeting Audubon.
The Forests of Lilliput: The Miniature World of Lichens & Mosses, Mar 26
Event - Posted - Tuesday, March 19, 2019 

Maine Master Naturalist Jeff Pengel talks about the natural history of lichens, mosses and similar plants. At Topsham Library, March 26, 6 pm. Sponsored by Cathance River Education Alliance.
Ocean Acidification, Climate Change, and You, Mar 25
Event - Posted - Monday, March 18, 2019 

Friends of Casco Bay staff scientist Mike Doan talks about warning signs and Casco Baykeeper Ivy Frignoca shares the impacts to marine species and how Mainers are responding. At Southern Maine Community College, South Portland, March 25, 5:30 pm.
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News Items
Letter: Monitoring of Casco Bay indicates urgent need for carbon tax
Portland Press Herald - Friday, March 8, 2019 

On Feb. 21, the Press Herald reported on people recording sea-level rise in Casco Bay, due in part to climate change. What to do? Consider supporting HR 763, introduced with the goal of charging fossil fuel companies for the garbage – gases – they send into our atmosphere. Fees collected would be sent as dividends directly to households to help citizens afford to transition to clean energy. The Green New Deal also seeks to curb carbon emissions, but it is merely a resolution, not a bill. Although some countries have been pricing carbon for years, too many U.S. citizens consider such action as a strange new idea. Let’s act now! Ask Maine’s congressional delegation to support HR 763. ~ Fern Stearns, Hallowell
Trump’s new science adviser says it’s not his job to correct the president on climate change
Other - Thursday, March 7, 2019 

Kelvin Droegemeier became director of the White House Office of Science and Technology in January. When the news came in late February that the White House was putting together a panel to see if climate change is really a threat, even though the Defense Department has already said it is, and that this panel would be run by physicist William Happer —who thinks carbon dioxide is “a benefit to the world” — it felt like an opportunity to delve a little deeper. But in an interview, Droegemeier evaded questions about his own views. He said he has no opinion on the president’s winter-storm tweets and has no plans to talk to him about them. Asked if he, like Happer, thinks carbon emissions are good for the planet, he said, “I don’t really have any view on Will’s opinions."
Churches ask members to give up plastic for Lent
Washington Post - Thursday, March 7, 2019 

Chocolate, alcohol and Twitter are some of the popular indulgences many Christians give up during the period of Lent leading up to Easter. But this year, some churches are encouraging congregants to give up plastics. The Rev. James Martin, a popular author and priest who is an editor at large for America magazine, said encouraging giving up of plastics for Lent would be in the spirit of Pope Francis’s major document on the environment that came out in 2015. “Giving up plastic would benefit the common good more than giving up chocolate,” Martin said.
In Augusta Hearing, PUC Considers CMP's Proposed 145-Mile Power Line
Maine Public - Thursday, March 7, 2019 

At a hearing in Augusta Thursday, the Maine Public Utilities Commission considered whether to approve a negotiated settlement that Central Maine Power is offering in order to build a 145-mile transmission line from Canada through western Maine to deliver power to Massachusetts. The deal has the backing of Governor Janet Mills and the state’s Public Advocate, but environmental groups are split, and several municipalities along the transmission line are also opposed. Supporters give a resounding yes. But opponents, such as Sue Ely of the Natural Resources Council of Maine, disagree that the project would have over-arching environmental benefits.
14-foot fish spotted in river, giving hope to vanished giant’s return
National Geographic - Thursday, March 7, 2019 

One day last June, sonar revealed a sturgeon confidently estimated at just over 14 feet from nose to tail tip in the Hudson River. Biologists estimate a sturgeon that length could easily weigh 800 pounds. That’s a size that, even a century ago, was considered a rarity. But now, it was unimaginable given what this species had endured. The fishery for Atlantic sturgeon has seen spasmodic waves of depredation, particularly during a caviar craze in the late nineteenth century and then several more times in the 20th century. Sturgeon were being imported to New York from as far away as Maine and Florida.
Accusations of backroom deals make sparks fly at hearing on CMP project
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, March 7, 2019 

Proponents and opponents of Central Maine Power’s $1 billion hydropower corridor project offered up more details as each side tried to convince regulators Thursday to either grant or reject a certificate of necessity that the utility needs to move forward with the project. The hearing became contentious when commission staff and parties testifying discussed the details of what some alleged were backroom meetings since last fall to arrive at the stipulation agreement.
Blame wood-burning stoves for winter air pollution and health threats
Other - Thursday, March 7, 2019 

The Conversation - With the dozens of toxic and carcinogenic chemicals in wood smoke, it’s inconsistent for governments to ban smoking and vaping in public places while ignoring the smoke from wood stoves and fireplaces. Burning wood for energy releases more carbon than burning coal and it is speeding up climate warming. It also releases black carbon, a powerful short-lived pollutant, that can accelerate the melting and retreat of glaciers. There are alternatives.
Falmouth residents urged to destroy moth webs
Forecaster - Thursday, March 7, 2019 

Falmouth and the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry are encouraging residents to remove browntail caterpillar winter webs from trees on their property. This is the best time of year to remove the webs, which can be most easily destroyed by soaking them in a bucket of soapy water overnight. Residents are also being encouraged to line up professional pest control companies to conduct spraying in the spring. The town will conduct its own streetside spraying program in May.
Maine Launching Urgent Effort To Survey Insect Population Following 'Stunning' Declines Globally
Maine Public - Thursday, March 7, 2019 

Maine is launching an urgent effort to assess the state's insect populations. The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is undertaking the initiative after new studies showed a steep decline in populations of insects across the globe. It's expected to take several months to get a snapshot of how Maine's insect populations are faring, and much longer to determine whether they are also in rapid decline.
Auburn agriculture conference: Growing, making connections
Sun Journal - Thursday, March 7, 2019 

The LA Region Farmland Access and Food Economy Conference on Thursday at the Auburn Senior Community Center highlighted challenges faced by new Mainers and by all farmers; listed opportunities; and set out to match would-be local growers with landowners. The 100 conference spaces filled up quickly, according to Julia Harper, coordinator of the Good Food Council of Lewiston-Auburn, one of 10 groups that came together to host the event. She hoped it would result in expanded economic opportunities and more food- and farm-friendly policies in the Twin Cities.
Editorial: Moving regulatory goal posts is fishy
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, March 7, 2019 

A bill under consideration in the the Legislature would change the rules for land-based aquaculture facilities, while the regulatory review is underway. This is just the type of regulatory uncertainty that drove a $120 million offshore wind project away from Maine. Raising standards for an aquaculture license in the midst of a project because another similar facility may be built nearby, or because some local residents object to it, obscures needed regulatory predictability and transparency.
A Tough Call - Lawmakers Won't Pursue Bill To Designate Maine's State Bird
Maine Public - Thursday, March 7, 2019 

A legislative panel has likely delivered a lethal blow to a measure that would designate a specific species of chickadee as Maine's state bird. The legislature's State and Local government committee voted ten-to-nothing that the bill ought not to pass. The legislation was introduced on behalf of fourth graders at the Margaret Chase Smith School in Showhegan, and it would have required that a choice be made between the black-capped chickadee and the boreal chickadee. The measure will now go onto the full legislature, but its chances of passage are slim.
A new job for Maine law enforcement: Supervising the packing of baby eels
Associated Press - Thursday, March 7, 2019 

New controls are coming to Maine’s valuable baby eel fishery this season. A state panel approved new requirements for the exportation of baby eels, called elvers, on Wednesday. The Maine Department of Marine Resources wants to add a requirement that baby eel exporters notify the Maine Marine Patrol 48 hours before preparing to pack and ship the eels. The officer will then witness the packing. The new rule’s designed to deter illegal sales of the valuable fish.
Augusta plastic bag fee could be decided by a vote of the people
Kennebec Journal - Thursday, March 7, 2019 

A proposal to require stores to charge customers 5 cents each for plastic shopping bags may ultimately be decided by residents, not Augusta city councilors. Unless proposals to either ban or restrict the use of such bags statewide are approved first.
Column: When it comes to festivals, it pays to be an early bird
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, March 7, 2019 

Four birding festivals are now open for registration. The Acadia Birding Festival, the largest, runs May 30 to June 2. The Down East Spring Birding Festival takes place over Memorial Day weekend. The Wings, Waves, and Woods Festival in Stonington takes place over the third weekend of May. Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust is starting up a new festival this year, partnering with Maine Audubon. The pieces are still being finalized. Links to all festivals can be found at www.mainebirdingtrail.com. ~ Bob Duchesne
Governor Mills: “I want you to hear the truth about the NECEC project directly from me.”
Free Press - Thursday, March 7, 2019 

In a recent radio address, Maine Gov. Janet Mills said: The state of Maine sends five billion dollars out of state every year to pay for our use of nonrenewable fossil fuels. We’re the most dependent on heating oil of any state. Our high costs of energy and electricity are a barrier to our health and a deterrent to our economy. This week I announced that Maine would become part of the bipartisan United States Climate Alliance, with the goal of reducing our state’s greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by the year 2050 and achieving 100 percent renewable generation of electricity by that same year. Consistent with these goals, I authorized the Governor’s Office of Energy to sign onto a Stipulation before the Public Utilities Commission regarding the transmission line proposal in western Maine. This project will put our state on the road to a zero-carbon economy by 2050.
Congressional Panel To Look At Threats To Right Whales
Associated Press - Thursday, March 7, 2019 

A subcommittee of the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources will hold the hearing on Thursday about the threats facing endangered North Atlantic right whales, which number only about 411. The whales have declined in population in recent years due to high mortality and low reproduction. The hearing will allow witnesses to talk about the risks that face the remaining right whales. The Democrats say they want to consider entanglement in fishing gear, vessel strikes and seismic testing as threats that impact the whales' population.
Critics, Supporters To Weigh In On CMP's Proposed 145-Mile Power Line
Associated Press - Thursday, March 7, 2019 

Supporters and critics are going to weigh in on Central Maine Power incentives aimed at winning support for a 145-mile transmission line across western Maine. Parties and intervenors are going to be able to discuss the proposed settlement on Thursday in a hearing before the Maine Public Utilities Commission. The $1 billion New England Clean Energy Connect aims to provide a conduit for Canadian hydropower for electricity consumers in Massachusetts. CMP has addressed criticism that Mainers don't benefit by proposing $258 million in incentives. Critics say the project would spoil vast tracts of wilderness and harm Maine's homegrown green power initiatives, like solar and wind power.
Trump Administration Seeks To Take Gray Wolf Off Endangered Species List
National Public Radio - Thursday, March 7, 2019 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will seek to end federal protections for the gray wolf throughout the lower 48 states, Acting Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt announced Wednesday. The Fish and Wildlife Service will propose to remove the gray wolf from the endangered species list and "return management of the species to the states and tribes." That means states would be able to make their own rules about hunting gray wolf populations. Conservation groups say the gray wolf is found in just a small portion of its former territory. Jamie Rappaport Clark, a former director of the Fish and Wildlife Service now with the Defenders of Wildlife, said protections were needed to prevent "an all-out war on wolves."
More youth deer hunting days voted down
George Smith BDN Outdoor News Blog - Thursday, March 7, 2019 

On Wednesday, the legislature’s Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee unanimously opposed a bill that would have increased youth deer hunting days to 3. Action was postponed on a bill to allow a person to place supplemental minerals for deer. More deer feeding and baiting bills are coming later so the committee decided to deal with all feeding and baiting bills at the same time.
International students bundled up to go ice fishing, but they didn’t catch any fish. Instead, they ate hot dogs.
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, March 7, 2019 

As the wind roared down Perch Pond on Wednesday, a hardy group of international students from Orono High School bundled up and learned about a traditional Maine activity: Ice fishing. No fish were caught and while the students got a good look at a traditional Maine activity, they did not receive an entirely authentic Pine Tree State experience. When Mackenzie Hanson, the director of the Orono High School international program, pulled out a package of hot dogs for the students to roast over a roaring campfire, each grabbed a dog or two, found a stick, and went to work.
A global restaurant group sided with Maine fishermen in their battle with a luxury resort developer
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, March 7, 2019 

Luke’s Lobster, a restaurant group with more than 40 locations founded by Cape Elizabeth native Luke Holden, has taken over operation of the historic Sea Pier on the east side of Boothbay Harbor. The pier, since renamed Carter’s Wharf, was purchased by the Boothbay Region Maritime Foundation with the intent to maintain it as a commercial fishing wharf. Luke’s Lobster will buy all of the catch, which will be served to its customers. Southport developer Paul Coulombe has proposed rezoning the east side of the harbor into a limited commercial district, which would allow hotels, recreational marinas and housing. But Coulombe has pulled his proposal to purchase Cap’n Fish motel and restaurant, just up the road from the Sea Pier, after the Board of Selectmen hired an independent planner to weigh in on the proposed rezoning.
Bar Harbor has turned its attention to vacation rentals amid affordable housing crisis
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, March 7, 2019 

Years after its restrictions on short-term vacation rentals caused legal trouble for Bar Harbor, the town is wading back into the question of how it can balance tourists’ demand for short-term rentals with the need for affordable housing for full-time and seasonal residents. A consultant recently found that property owners market at least a fifth of the town’s housing stock on short-term rental websites, and workers at The Jackson Laboratory and in the town’s sizable seasonal tourist sector frequently encounter a lack of affordable housing. The town is taking steps to get a handle on the vacation rental issue.
What to know about Maine’s upcoming bicentennial celebration
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, March 7, 2019 

Preparations for Maine’s bicentennial year are already well underway. A Tricentennial Pine Grove would take place in 2020, and would encourage any municipality, business, school or organization to plant a minimum of three eastern white pine trees on its property. By 2120, those trees planted in 2020 would be about the same size as the trees first encountered by the first European settlers to Maine in the 17th century.
Easy ways to ditch plastic in your garden
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, March 7, 2019 

Plastic takes hundreds of years to degrade, and most of it does not even make it to the recycling bin. A 2017 study showed that of the 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic ever created, only 9 percent has even been recycled. The majority — about 5 billion metric tons — is languishes in landfills or litters the natural environment. The same study predicts that by 2050, 12 billion metric tons of plastic will be in the world’s landfills. With a little careful planning, you can go completely plastic-free in your garden:
• Replace your plastic pots
• Switch your hose for a watering can
• Buy compost in bulk (or make your own)
• Consider cardboard weed suppressants
• Make your own labels
• Buy metal or wooden tools
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