June 19, 2019  
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Maine Environmental News
Action Alert - Wednesday, June 19, 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
Save Right Whales
Action Alert - Wednesday, June 19, 2019 

New England’s iconic whale is on the brink of extinction. A bill in Congress called Scientific Assistance for Very Endangered (“SAVE”) Right Whales could help this key species recover. ~ Conservation Law Foundation
Water: What is has to teach us, Jun 25
Event - Posted - Tuesday, June 18, 2019 

Learn about fresh water ecosystems and new aquaculture operations in the MidCoast region. At Topsham Public Library, June 25, 6 pm. Sponsored by Cathance River Education Alliance.
Proposed Coyote Center, Jun 24
Event - Posted - Monday, June 17, 2019 

Biologist Geri Vistein will share an informative film about the future Coyote Center in Maine, followed by a discussion of Maine’s coyotes. At Lithgow Public Library, Augusta, June 24, 6:30 pm.
Teen Wilderness Expedition, July 23-25
Announcement - Sunday, June 16, 2019 

The Teen Wilderness Expedition is a 3-day, 2-night, all-inclusive adventure for 12-16 year olds at Little Lyford Lodge, July 23-25. Offered by Piscataquis County Soil and Water Conservation District and Appalachian Mountain Club.
Maine State Museum hosts Bike Day, Jun 22
Event - Posted - Saturday, June 15, 2019 

Join the Maine State Museum, Bicycle Coalition of Maine and the Maine State Library in a free family event to commemorate the 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote and learn about the benefits of safe, relaxed bike riding. At Maine State Museum, June 22, 10 am - 1 pm.
Woodland Management with Birds in Mind, Jun 22
Event - Posted - Saturday, June 15, 2019 

A Forestry for Maine Birds workshop for landowners, foresters and loggers interested in learning how they can support Maine’s forest songbirds. At Somerset County Cooperative Extension office, Skowhegan, and on the adjacent Yankee Woodlot Demonstration Forest, June 22, 9 am - noon.
Hike Puzzle Mt., Jun 22
Event - Posted - Saturday, June 15, 2019 

A moderate to strenuous hike of 8.5 miles. Cross several exposed granite boulders and ledges offering views of the Sunday River ski area, Grafton Notch, and the Presidentials, June 22, pre-register. Sponsored by Appalachian Mountain Club.
Androscoggin River Canoe & Kayak River Race, Jun 22
Event - Posted - Saturday, June 15, 2019 

This event is open to all to launch canoes, kayaks, paddle boards, (and more) into the Androscoggin River and complete one of three courses of varying length and challenge. At Festival Plaza, Auburn, June 22, 9 am, $15 for single paddler, $25 for a double, benefits Androscoggin Land Trust.
Plants of Corea Heath, Jun 22
Event - Posted - Saturday, June 15, 2019 

Join Jill Weber, botanist and co-author of The Plants of Acadia National Park, to learn about carnivorous plants, orchids, stunted trees and shrubs and cotton-grass. At Corea Heath, Goldsboro, June 22, 8:30 am. Sponsored by Downeast Audubon.
Maine Wildlife Park open house, Jun 21
Event - Posted - Friday, June 14, 2019 

The Maine Wildlife Park in Gray will hold an open house with free admission, June 21, 5-8 pm. Feeding times for moose, lynx, foxes, cougars, vultures and bears will be posted.
Call for a presidential primary debate on climate change
Action Alert - Thursday, June 13, 2019 

Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez has rejected a presidential primary debate on climate change. 15 Democratic presidential candidates have joined the call. So can you. ~ CREDO Action
Trekking through Time
Announcement - Thursday, June 13, 2019 

From June through October, Lakes Environmental Association, Loon Echo Land Trust, Greater Lovell Land Trust, Upper Saco Valley Land Trust, and Western Foothills Land Trust will host the Trekking through Time Series. Once a month throughout the summer and early fall, each organization will host a historical tour of one of its conservation properties.
Help document impact on shell middens, Jun 18
Announcement - Tuesday, June 11, 2019 

Many cultural artifacts of Maine's first coastal residents are preserved in shell middens, but these sites are disappearing as sea levels rise, collectors dig into the middens, and visitors walk on them. Maine Midden Minders is developing a database of erosion conditions at middens. Volunteer training at Coastal Rivers’ Education Center, Damariscotta, June 18, 3-7 pm.
“Dog-Friendly Hikes in Maine” book launch, Jun 18
Event - Posted - Tuesday, June 11, 2019 

Book signing and presentation for “Dog-Friendly Hikes in Maine” by Aislinn Sarnacki, which contains detailed descriptions and maps of 35 hikes across Maine that are ideal for dogs and their owners. At Epic Sports, Bangor, June 18, 5-7:30 pm.
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News Items
In a hard year for sustainability, here are some of the bright spots for 2017
Maine Sunday Telegram - Sunday, December 24, 2017 

When it comes to protecting the planet and fighting to turn back the ticking clock on climate change, 2017 has not been pretty. In fact, if we listed everything that happened that will likely harm the environment, you’d get depressed. But around Maine in the course of this year, there were many positive actions and events in the world of sustainability. [Editor: Caution: The statement that the Trump Administration will not push for logging in the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument is not accurate. President Trump has not made a definitive declaration about this yet.]
UMaine’s Old Town mill project will ensnare taxpayers, companies warn
Maine Sunday Telegram - Sunday, December 24, 2017 

A proposal worth more than $100 million to power the University of Maine’s Orono campus with wood-fired steam and electricity from an abandoned paper mill is a risky bet for Maine taxpayers, according to two energy-services companies that were competing for the job. After an 18-month bidding and review process, the University of Maine System decided last summer to negotiate with New York-based ConEdison Solutions on its plan to generate renewable energy at the vacant paper mill in neighboring Old Town and send it via pipeline and wires to UMaine. But soon thereafter, two runners-up— Honeywell Energy Services Group and Ameresco Inc.—formally protested the decision and filed appeals with the university.
Greatest outdoor gifts just keep on giving
Maine Sunday Telegram - Sunday, December 24, 2017 

When we asked several Mainers to share their best outdoor gifts ever, most responded instantly. They spoke of presents that were whimsical, unexpected and life-changing. They listed an ingenious camping oven, a pair of socks…and even bacon. Many, like Bullen, said the best outdoor gift was the introduction to a new outdoor sport. In fact, in nearly every case they said these were not just their favorite outdoor gifts, but the best gifts they ever received. Here are their stories.
Column: For a strong deer herd, factor in the winter habitat
Maine Sunday Telegram - Sunday, December 24, 2017 

Predators are only one leg of the stool that impacts or supports our deer herd. They’re the easiest to identify and blame. There are others. In Maine, the principal limiting factor for deer is suitable winter habitat. Currently 92,000 acres of over 100,000 acres that MDIFW’s Wildlife Management Section is responsible for, and 571,000 acres of another 600,000 acres managed by the Bureau of Parks and Lands, is not being managed for winter deer habitat. If properly managed, maybe 30, 50 or 75 years from now, a healthy proportion of that land could be converted to deer wintering areas. That, combined with Maine’s substantial land trust lands, could provide a substantial boost to our dwindling deer herd. ~ Bob Humphrey
Column: Trees can teach us to value a world of connection
Maine Sunday Telegram - Sunday, December 24, 2017 

Biologist David George Haskell illuminates the unmistakable conscious presence of a forest in his lyrical new book, “The Songs of Trees: Stories from Nature’s Great Connectors.” Their vast and complex network of reciprocity is right under our noses, even if we don't often notice. ~ Marina Schauffler
Column: They’re from away but still count
Maine Sunday Telegram - Sunday, December 24, 2017 

The 118th Audubon Christmas Bird Count is under way, ending Jan. 5. The data provides a valuable tool to gauge changes in our winter bird populations. Four species are found, often abundantly, on most Maine counts: rock pigeon, european starling, house finch and house sparrow. None of these species was present in eastern North America 500 years ago.
Fire extinguished at wood shavings silo in Dixfield
Portland Press Herald - Saturday, December 23, 2017 

Firefighters extinguished a fire that broke out Saturday in a wood shavings silo at Irving Forest Products in Dixfield. The fire may have been started by an electrical spark that ignited some wood sawdust, according to Scott Dennett, the fire chief of Dixfield Fire Company.
Funding to expand gas collection at Hatch Hill landfill approved
Kennebec Journal - Saturday, December 23, 2017 

Augusta is moving forward with spending $350,000 to capture methane gas in the currently active portion of the Hatch Hill landfill, to provide more fuel for a planned system to use gas to make electricity. The city already collects methane gas, produced by decomposing garbage in closed-off sections of the city-owned regional landfill, to prevent it from escaping into the environment. For now the collected gas is burned off by a flare. But city officials now are working with consultants to design and, potentially within a year, begin operating a system to use the gas produced and captured at Hatch Hill to make electricity that would be fed into the electrical grid and help offset the city’s electricity costs.
Opinion: Fight to save Arctic refuge from oil drilling isn’t over
Portland Press Herald - Saturday, December 23, 2017 

Drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is an issue that deserved scrutiny independent of the contentious tax plan. Effectively, Republican leaders just used one of the nation’s last undisturbed wildlife habitats as a bargaining chip to push through a fiscally dubious tax package. It’s regrettable that Congress would barter away pristine natural resources in this manner. Next year, U.S. domestic oil production is forecast to reach an all-time high, driven by the rise of less costly shale drilling in Texas. While cutting the corporate tax rate is expected to cost about $1.5 trillion over 10 years, selling oil and gas leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge’s coastal plain will do little to offset that sticker shock. environmentalists vowed to shift the fight from the halls of Congress to the courts. ~ Seattle Times
Opinion: ‘Flip a switch and we’re there’…but for too long, CMP wasn’
Portland Press Herald - Saturday, December 23, 2017 

The delays in power restoration after the devastating late-October storm were so unconscionable that Mainers greeted guests with “Welcome to Puerto Rico North.” The situation was bad to begin with, because of the unusual direction that the storm’s winds took, but it was made worse by the trend among utilities to cut back on staff, relying upon unreliable electronics, such as “smart meters” and the optimistic and erroneous CMP website, while contracting out vital services. The result has been a lack of routine maintenance, which would have reduced the damage considerably. ~ Christopher S. Hyde and Judith A. Hopkins, Pownal
Letter: Trump's attacks on science
Sun Journal - Saturday, December 23, 2017 

In 1795, Thomas Jefferson pronounced freedom to be “the first-born daughter of science.” Donald Trump is currently attacking freedom by censoring scientists. Scientists in the Environmental Protection Agency were forbidden to speak about climate change at a conference. Members of the Trump administration are strongly discouraging officials at the Centers for Disease Control from using a host of phrases, including “science-based” and “evidence-based.” Trump can unilaterally declare, as he did recently, that climate change is no longer a threat to this country. But if he wants to convince anyone that what he is doing is warranted, he needs evidence people can debate. To silence those who speak truths you dislike is neither science nor is it debate. It is an attack on freedom. ~ Joseph Hall, Auburn
Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust announces new leadership
Daily Bulldog (Franklin County) - Friday, December 22, 2017 

Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust is pleased to announce David Miller as its new executive director. A Portland native, Miller has served in the public and private sectors at various program, fundraising and leadership levels and brings a wealth of experience and perspective to our organization. Miller will be filling the open position left after previous Executive Director Chris Devine retired.
Opinion: Trump's Proposed National Parks fee increases wrong approach
Maine Environmental News - Friday, December 22, 2017 

The Trump Administration proposes to increase visitor fees at seventeen popular National Parks. The cost for a family visiting Acadia, for example, for a week would jump 180 percent per car. The per person fee would more than double. That would price out many people from visiting their parks. The rationale for the increase is to pay down the $11+ billion deferred maintenance backlog in our National Parks. However, the backlog is not due to some act of God. It is the direct result of years of deliberate underfunding by Congress. The estimated $69 million increase in revenues from the proposed visitor fee increases would be more than offset by the President’s proposed cut of nearly $379 million to the National Park Service in fiscal year 2018. The President’s budget would add another $30 million to the deferred maintenance work list. Plus the Administration wants to layoff thousands of NPS staff, which will further damage our parks. There is a better way. ~ Jym St. Pierre
Maine potato farm fined for failing to seek U.S. workers for packing jobs
Portland Press Herald - Friday, December 22, 2017 

One of Maine’s biggest potato farms got hit with a $10,000 fine for failing to offer packing jobs to American workers before hiring temporary foreign workers. Green Thumb Farms, which operates a 2,400-acre potato, corn, bean and turfgrass farm in Fryeburg, hired temporary foreign workers to pack potatoes without first trying to recruit American workers to fill the jobs, or contacting those U.S. citizens who had worked as potato packers for the farm in the past, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
Rising seas endanger Maine toxic waste sites, analysis warns
Bangor Daily News - Friday, December 22, 2017 

There are 98 Superfund sites across the country considered at risk from sea level rise between 1 and 1.5 meters, or roughly 3 and 5 feet, and more than 200 others are at risk from severe flooding, according to AP. There are 16 Superfund sites in Maine — which contain so much hazardous waste that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has ordered them to be cleaned up. Most are not considered to be vulnerable to rising seas or flooding that could result from severe storms, but three are: Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, the former Callahan Mine in Brooksville, and the former O’Connor Company salvage yard in Augusta.
Maine-Nova Scotia ferry may get reprieve to stay running
Bangor Daily News - Friday, December 22, 2017 

The federal border protection agency has offered a reprieve that may allow the Portland-Nova Scotia ferry to return to Maine next year, if the city can find up to $2 million for upgrades to its ferry terminal. The Cat ferry’s 2018 season appeared to have been sunk last month, when the U.S. Customs and Border Protection said it would end operations at Portland’s international ferry terminal because the facility needed roughly $7 million worth of work to meet government standards. But the agency is now saying that if the city can complete a less costly batch of upgrades to the Ocean Gateway terminal, agents will be available to conduct the required customs screenings for passengers disembarking the ferry next spring.
If a warden pilot can lose his plane through the ice, what should that tell the rest of us?
Bangor Daily News - Friday, December 22, 2017 

Wednesday afternoon, reports from Aroostook County indicated a Maine Warden Service plane had broken through the ice on Eagle Lake. Before any details were made public, social media outlets were buzzing. Among the online comments were some like this: “The wardens are always warning us to stay off the ice. Why don’t they listen to their own advice?” What’s to be learned here? For us everyday recreationists who aren’t required to be out on the ice to realize there’s no need to rush the season. The fish will wait. In addition, lTalk to the locals. Then, check the ice yourself.
Big Squaw ski area expanded, opening early for the season
Bangor Daily News - Friday, December 22, 2017 

Big Squaw Mountain will officially open for the season on Friday, Dec. 22, earlier than initially scheduled due to an abundance of snowfall in the Moosehead Lake Region. Revived in recent years, return visitors will notice a big difference both in the building and on the slopes. The lodge has expanded to include a new ticket office and ski shop. In addition, the nonprofit purchased 36 snow guns and a snow groomer last month from Smugglers’ Notch resort in Vermont, greatly expanding Big Squaw’s snowmaking system.
Grant Will Help Environment School Open Own Farm
Associated Press - Friday, December 22, 2017 

A Maine environmental education center is getting $20,000 toward its development of an educational farm. The Quimby Family Foundation is making the gift to The Ecology School in Saco. The school intends to transition its programs to a 105-acre farm by the end of 2019. A school spokesman says the school's long-term goal is to establish "a full-scale organic farm with crops and livestock."
Letter: Once upon a time, Trump was concerned about climate change
Portland Press Herald - Friday, December 22, 2017 

It’s been over a month since the International Conference on Climate Change in Bonn, Germany, and I’m still amazed, angry and ashamed. Over 200 countries sent delegations; our country sent a gaggle of clowns trying to sell the fictional “clean coal.” The irony is that in December 2009, businessman Donald Trump was a signatory to a full-page ad in The New York Times urging then-President Barack Obama to do something about climate change. The Republican-controlled Congress lacks the spine to tell the emperor that he has no clothes. ~ Steven Priestley, Portland
Scarborough hikes beach parking fees for nonresidents
Forecaster - Thursday, December 21, 2017 

Town councilors on Wednesday night doubled the cost of seasonal nonresident parking passes at three town beaches: Ferry Beach, Higgins Beach and Hurd Park. A resident seasonal beach pass will remain at $40, but nonresident passes have increased from $75 to $150. Daily parking has gone from $10 to $15, and a new $5 charge is being instituted for morning beach-goers between 5:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m.
Fryeburg conservation committee 'not for activists'
Other - Thursday, December 21, 2017 

Conway Daily Sun - Fryeburg Selectmen added some new members to the recently remade conservation committee, but the selectmen's chair warned them that the committee isn't for activists. Fryeburg Planning Board member Robert Ricks said the committee could keep an eye on things like water issues and also re-establish chestnut trees in town. Earlier this month, selectmen appointed Allison Leach, Sherri Billings, Warren Richardson and Selectman Kimberly Clarke to the committee along with Ricks. Selectmen denied an application from Susan Meeker-Lowery, who writes for Water Waves, a Facebook page as well as a print publication. On Thursday, selectmen added residents Jessica Knowles Lane and Megan Barry. Selectmen's chair Janice Crawford said that the committee isn't for activism.
Trump Administration Left Key EPA Staff in Dark Over Cuts to Energy Star Program
Center for Biological Diversity - Thursday, December 21, 2017 

Top staffers working with the Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star program apparently didn’t find out that the Trump administration wanted to eliminate funding for the popular program until it turned up in media reports, according to newly released documents. The records were obtained by the Center for Biological Diversity through a Freedom of Information Act request. The documents, which are only partial at this point and include unexplained gaps, were released by the EPA after months of delay.
Shellfish Harvesters, Scientists Wrestle With ‘Unprecedented’ Closures Amid Toxic Algae Bloom
Maine Public - Thursday, December 21, 2017 

Thirty years ago, four people died from amnesic shellfish poisoning after eating cultured mussels from Canada’s Price Edward Island. The mussels contained domoic acid, a neurotoxin produced by a class of algae called pseudo-nitzschia. The toxin wasn’t heard from again on the Eastern Seaboard. Then, in the fall of 2016, toxin-bearing pseudo-nitszchia bloomed off Down East Maine in areas that previously never saw an algae bloom. Regulators in Maine have closed Down East shellfish harvests twice since then. Now, a pseudo-nitzschia bloom is plaguing a large swathe of Casco Bay. That’s a worry for aquaculture in Falmouth, where Matt Moretti shovels bushels of juvenile mussels to be returned to the sea until they grow to market size.
Metcalf-Ferguson Farm on Northport’s Knight Pond Conserved
Free Press - Thursday, December 21, 2017 

The family of Elizabeth Metcalf has donated a conservation easement on the 165-acre Metcalf-Ferguson family farm on Knight Pond Road in Northport to Maine Farmland Trust and Coastal Mountains Land Trust. Conservation of the property protects a regionally significant wetland fen known as Knight Pond Bog, along with over 4,000 feet of waterfront frontage on the thoroughfare connecting Knight and Pitcher ponds.
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