May 22, 2018  
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Maine Environmental News
Announcement - Tuesday, May 22, 2018 

Thanks for visiting Maine Environmental News, a service of RESTORE: The North Woods. MEN is the most comprehensive online source available for links conservation and natural resource news and events in Maine (and a bit beyond). 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
International Day for Biological Diversity, May 22
Announcement - Tuesday, May 22, 2018 

The Convention on Biological Diversity is the international legal instrument for "the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources" that has been ratified by 196 nations. The United Nations has proclaimed 22 May as the International Day for Biological Diversity.
Join the fight for Maine's clean energy future
Action Alert - Tuesday, May 22, 2018 

In Maine, we are seeing the damaging effects of climate change firsthand: tick borne illnesses like Lyme disease are on the rise, the warming Gulf of Maine threatens our marine economy, air pollution drives up asthma rates for kids and adults, and extreme weather impacts our outdoor recreation and farming industries. The technology to turn off dirty fossil fuels already exists. What is standing in the way of our clean energy future? Politicians who are bought and paid for by the oil and gas industry. ~ Maine Conservation Voters
Maine Calling: The Changing North Woods, May 22
Announcement - Tuesday, May 22, 2018 

UMaine experts discuss the relationship between humans and forests, including environmental attitudes and behaviors; rural communities and the forest economy; and the role of ecotourism and recreation. Maine Public Radio, May 22, 1 pm.
Defining Wilderness: Defining Maine, May 29 - Jul 24
Event - Posted - Tuesday, May 22, 2018 

The Maine State Library is offering a free reading and discussion group with copies of books available through the library. The series, Defining Wilderness: Defining Maine, runs for 5 sessions, May 29 - July 24, at the State Library in Augusta. Books to be discussed include "The Maine Woods" by Henry David Thoreau.
Bats, May 29
Event - Posted - Tuesday, May 22, 2018 

Biologist Trevor Peterson will speak about local species of bats. At Topsham Public Library, May 29, 6 pm. Sponsored by Cathance River Education Alliance.
Sign-Up to Count Fish at Nequasset
Announcement - Sunday, May 20, 2018 

The annual alewife count at the Nequasset Fish Ladder in Woolwich is happening. Join the fun by signing up to count during any two 10 minute blocks within a two hour period.
Wilderness Under Siege, May 30
Event - Posted - Sunday, May 20, 2018 

Nationally known author and explorer George Wuerthner will discuss the challenges facing Wilderness, how people can better protect the Wildernesses in their backyards and around the country, and organizing against efforts to weaken or repeal the Wilderness Act. At Curtis Library, Brunswick, May 30, 6:30 pm.
Field Trip: Capt. Fitzgerald Preserve and Bay Bridge, May 27
Event - Posted - Sunday, May 20, 2018 

Explore two town-owned properties in Brunswick for breeding and migrant birds: Fitzgerald Preserve and Bay Bridge Wetland Park on the Androscoggin River. May 27, 6:30 – 11 am. Sponsored by Merrymeeting Audubon.
White Mountains Centennial exhibition, May 27
Event - Posted - Sunday, May 20, 2018 

The Museums of the Bethel Historical Society host a preview reception of the new displays, “White Mountain National Forest: A Centennial Exhibition” and “The White Mountains: Alps of New England.” At Robinson House, Bethel, May 27, 2-5 pm.
Farmer Talent Show & Open Mic, May 27
Event - Posted - Sunday, May 20, 2018 

The first annual Farmer Talent Show & Open Mic will benefit the Market’s Harvest Bucks program, which increases access to fruit and vegetables for low-income households. At East Madison Grange, May 27, 5-8 pm.
Walk on the Wild Side, May 26
Event - Posted - Saturday, May 19, 2018 

Turner Public Library’s summer programming begins with a nature walk. At Androscoggin Riverlands State Park, May 26, 2 pm.
Edible (and Poisonous) Plants, May 26
Event - Posted - Saturday, May 19, 2018 

Tom Seymour, author, botanist and edible plant enthusiast, will introduce you to many of the edible and medicinal plants that can be found in Maine’s woods and fields. At Head of Tide Preserve, Belfast, May 26, 10 am - noon.
Birding Extravaganza, May 26
Event - Posted - Saturday, May 19, 2018 

Ted Allen from Merrymeeting Audubon will lead birders through the Kennebec Estuary Land Trust’s Thorne Head Preserve in Bath, May 26, 8 am.
Alewife Day, May 26
Event - Posted - Saturday, May 19, 2018 

See the alewives swim upstream. Smoked fish, kid’s games, mills running, Machinery Hall open. At Maine Forest and Logging Museum, Bradley, May 26, 10 am - 1 pm, $3 per person ages 12+.
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News Items
Letter: Join climate caucus
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, May 17, 2018 

I am a resident of Portland and the 1st Congressional District. Our U.S. representative, Chellie Pingree, a Democrat, wants to join the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus, but needs to team up with a Republican member of Congress in order to do so. I am writing to urge all of my fellow Mainers in the 2nd Congressional District to write, email, or call Rep. Bruce Poliquin and urge him to join the Climate Solutions Caucus with Pingree. This would let Congress, and the nation, know that Mainers stand together for action on climate change. ~ Bob McKillop, Citizens’ Climate Lobby, Portland
Donations allow KLT to add to Mount Pisgah Conservation Area
Turner Publishing - Wednesday, May 16, 2018 

The Kennebec Land Trust — with help from local donations — has raised $111,453 to buy an additional 139 acres at the Mount Pisgah Community Conservation Area. The new parcels protect the northern ridgeline of Mount Pisgah, including impressive ledges and vernal pools. KLT is designing phase two — slated to begin in summer 2019 — of a trail expansion on Mount Pisgah.
What I Would Like to Hear from Maine’s Candidates for Governor
Mark W. Anderson's Stirring the Pot Blog - Wednesday, May 16, 2018 

I have listened now to all the candidates for Governor in Maine. There are lists of “where I am on the issues.” Where is the vision for what we want Maine to become in the future? What are our goals for the state? What do we want Maine to look like? I want a leader in the Blaine House who will help us work together as Mainers to figure out where we want to go and how to get there. We tried this once in the 1970s, the so-called Commission on Maine’s Future. Now it is time we tried it again. Leadership is the art of working with the people to chart a course together. Any takers?
Senator catches Pruitt in contradiction as he tries to deflect questions at hearing
Associated Press - Wednesday, May 16, 2018 

Lawmakers at a Senate hearing Wednesday hammered Scott Pruitt with his toughest questioning to date amid federal investigations about his spending, bodyguards and ties with lobbyists. The exchanges included the dramatic production of a newly released internal email that appeared to contradict the embattled Environmental Protection Agency administrator. Pruitt repeatedly dodged directly answering questions.
‘People’s forest’ in NH and western Maine marks 100 years
Associated Press - Wednesday, May 16, 2018 

New Hampshire’s most iconic attraction had been decimated by forest fires and logging when President Woodrow Wilson established it as a national forest a century ago. Now, the White Mountain National Forest stretches over 800,000 acres in the northern part of the state and part of Maine. The forest is home to several campgrounds and has over 1,200 miles of non-motorized hiking trails. It attracts millions of visitors each year and has become part of the state’s economic engine, contributing to the nearly $9 billion outdoor recreation industry that supports almost 80,000 jobs. Beyond that, it is a source of pride among New Englanders.
Head of Falls to get expanded, paved parking, 850-foot sidewalk, curbing near future RiverWalk
Morning Sentinel - Wednesday, May 16, 2018 

Waterville councilors approved funds on Tuesday for the paving, as well as paving projects on The Concourse and the former Elden Inn lot.
New team in place at Lake George Regional Park, straddling Canaan and Skowhegan
Kennebec Journal - Wednesday, May 16, 2018 

Darryll White, 59, of Skowhegan, takes over this week as the new chief administrator at Lake George Regional Park, which straddles the town line separating Canaan and Skowhegan on U.S. Route 2. Justin Spencer, 28, of Fairfield, who did two combat tours in Afghanistan, is the new park resource manager, a seasonal position for now.
Time to stop arguing about climate change and do something about it
George Smith BDN Outdoor News Blog - Wednesday, May 16, 2018 

some of the things that have already happened because our climate is changing: Lyme disease is a huge new problem here in Maine. In North Dakota, deer are dying in huge numbers, due to a disease caused by the bites of a midge. Climate change has resulted in Minnesota’s moose population going from 4000 to just 237. The conifer trees that deer rely on for winter habitat are having a hard time, partly due to climate change. We’ve gone from 300 to just 3 dozen of the traditional Maine sporting camps. When I asked what their biggest challenges are, most said the loss of hunters and anglers. Yes, climate changes are challenging Maine’s traditional businesses and rural Maine towns.

Trek Across Maine gets a new course, and change of scenery, for 2019
Times Record - Wednesday, May 16, 2018 

For the first time since its inception, the Trek Across Maine bicycle course is getting a new route — one which is expected to draw thousands to Brunswick. The 35th edition of the annual bike ride in 2019 will start and finish at Brunswick Landing — site of the former Brunswick Naval Air Station in town. It will take cyclists through Augusta, Auburn, Bath, Belgrade, Freeport and Lewiston. Since 1985, the Trek has raised more than $24 million for the American Lung Association, growing from 106 riders to nearly 1,800.
The secret to keeping bad odors and rats out of your compost
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, May 16, 2018 

When done well, food composting is an excellent way to dispose of waste while creating garden-friendly soil additives. But, when done in a slipshod manner, all that organic waste becomes a convenient and smelly buffet for rats, mice and other vermin. Mark King, specialist with the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, said, “It’s all about the moisture."
Wildlife biologists say Maine may need to shrink its moose herd to keep it healthy
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, May 16, 2018 

When state wildlife officials last formulated a long-range management plan for moose back in 1999, the population was booming, and both wildlife watchers and hunters could count on finding the state’s iconic critters in likely spots. Today, the population is lower, and as biologists have gathered valuable data over the last eight years, a grim reality has begun to creep into discussions: We may still have too many moose, and the density of moose in some regions may be linked to thriving parasites and an unhealthy herd.
How Maine has managed its moose herd over the years
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, May 16, 2018 

A short timeline of how Maine has managed its moose herd from 1830 to 2014.
Green crab predation identified as cause of Maine clam decline
Other - Wednesday, May 16, 2018 - Juvenile soft-shell "steamer" clams are not surviving to adulthood due to high levels of predation, according to Brian Beal, a professor of marine ecology at the University of Maine at Machias and director of research at the nonprofit Downeast Institute (DEI), who partnered with the Maine Clammers Association to conduct the research.
Maine land trust launches $4.4 million campaign to buy midcoast island
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, May 16, 2018 

Maine Coast Heritage Trust is working to raise $4.4 million to purchase and preserve Clark Island for public use. “We’ve always known [Clark Island] was a gem. It’s one of the only large, relatively undeveloped islands that is accessible by foot anywhere in the western or southern part of the Maine coast,” said Steve Walker, a Maine Coast Heritage Trust project manager. The trust now has until March 2020 to raise the $4.4 million necessary to purchase the island.
LePage Cabinet member leaves quietly as department is dismantled
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, May 16, 2018 

Jonathan P. LaBonte stepped down April 10 from his $112,000-a-year job as director of the Office of Policy and Management. The office’s website has been taken down, and all but one of its staff members have been reassigned to other state agencies. The Portland Press Herald has requested a copy of LaBonte’s letter of resignation, but LePage’s office has yet to release it. Before accepting a position in LePage’s Cabinet, LaBonte served as executive director of the Androscoggin Land Trust.
Letter: Portland’s stormwater discharge fee is mainly a rip-off of homeowners
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, May 16, 2018 

Re: the May 5 letter “Portland homeowner falls victim to scam“: Dennis W. Rockwell of Peaks Island isn’t alone. Instead of the word “scam,” I’m using the word “rip-off.” I’m planning on contacting my lawyer to ask two questions: 1. Is it legal to charge me for the rain? and 2. Can I (at some future date) be charged for the air around and above my total impervious area of 2,472 square feet? ~ Corinne T. Pickett, Portland
Views clash as DEP readies greenhouse gas reduction forced by citizen initiative
Portland Press Herald - Tuesday, May 15, 2018 

Maine environmental regulators heard hours of testimony Tuesday on a citizen-initiated proposal that would require the state to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 8 percent annually while imposing new regulations on the trucking and biomass industries. Tapping a little-used section of state law, grassroots activists submitted nearly 700 petition signatures from registered voters calling for tougher standards on emissions of carbon dioxide and other climate-warming gases. But attorneys for large manufacturers and the Maine Forest Products Council decried the proposal as an unrealistic over-regulation that would make Maine even less competitive than other states.

Photos reveal multiple rare right whales off York County coast
Portland Press Herald - Tuesday, May 15, 2018 

Scientists from the New England Aquarium have concluded that the endangered North Atlantic right whales spotted swimming and feeding off the coast of York County last weekend were not the same animal. Tony LaCasse, spokesman for the New England Aquarium, which catalogs all right whales, said in a telephone interview Tuesday evening that the scientists used photographs to confirm that the right whale photographed off Long Sands Beach in York was right whale No. 1409. A North Atlantic right whale spotted off the coast of Wells was a different whale, according to LaCasse.
Students Demand Maine DEP Act To Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Maine Public - Tuesday, May 15, 2018 

The Maine Department of Environmental Protection got an earful at a public hearing Tuesday from a group of high school and middle school students worried about climate change. The public hearing was prompted by a petition the students filed earlier this year about what they say is the state's failure to do its part to protect them. They're are asking the DEP to take steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. For 14-year-old Devyn Shaugnessy of Portland, climate change is "kind of sounding like a death sentence. It sounds like this inevitable world ending because of what we're doing, and there's nothing that we as kids can do about it. It's up to the adults. And it's frustrating because the adults aren't doing anything about it, because they won't be here. It's our problem."
Horticultural Research Institute announces Bigelow Scholarship winner
Other - Tuesday, May 15, 2018 

The Ohio-based Horticultural Research Institute has named Leala Machesney as the 2017-2018 recipient of Timothy S. and Palmer W. Bigelow Jr. Scholarship. Machesney is a third year undergraduate student at the University of Maine pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Horticulture with hopes to eventually attend a graduate program in horticulture.
Portland Science Center closes its doors for good after 3 years
Portland Press Herald - Tuesday, May 15, 2018 

The Portland Science Center has closed after three years of bringing traveling exhibits about pirates, sharks and the human body to the city’s waterfront. The Massachusetts-based owner of the center, The Gold Group, has closed the business and will opt out of its lease, said Stephen Goodrich, owner of the building at 68 Commercial St., where the center was housed. Goodrich said Tuesday he was told that the science center’s attendance had declined recently.
Maine awarded NOAA grant to restore Atlantic salmon and river herring to Togus Stream
Bangor Daily News - Tuesday, May 15, 2018 

The Maine Department of Marine Resources has been awarded $311,357 from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Species Recovery Grants to States Program to restore Atlantic salmon and river herring in Togus Stream. Togus Stream, a tributary to the Kennebec River, once supported populations of critically endangered Atlantic salmon, as well as alewives and blueback herring, collectively called river herring. However, construction of barriers has blocked these species from historical habitat for more than 200 years.
Maine is counting its eagles, which not long ago were on the brink
Associated Press - Tuesday, May 15, 2018 

Maine wildlife officials are conducting the largest statewide survey of bald eagles in the Pine Tree State in five years. Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife biologists and game warden pilots are conducting the survey of the iconic bird. The birds nearly disappeared from Maine in the 1970s, when there were only 39 pairs remaining. There were more than 634 nesting pairs in the state in 2013. Anecdotal evidence suggests the eagles might have improved even more in the last five years, said Susan Gallo, a wildlife biologist with Maine Audubon.
Opinion: Lawsuits can’t stop climate change
Bangor Daily News - Tuesday, May 15, 2018 

Despite the surface appeal of lawsuits in the name of the environment, they have the potential to cause more harm than good. In my three terms as Maine’s attorney general, I found that lawsuits cannot solve all of our problems. Partnership, not reprisal, is the best way to deal with climate change. And besides, imagine the carbon footprint of all the forests that would have to be felled to make all the paper for all the briefs that Maine lawyers would have to file. ~ Andrew Letterer, Maine attorney general, 1995 - 2001
Maine’s wildlife biologists want to shrink the bear herd, but they’ll face some challenges
Bangor Daily News - Tuesday, May 15, 2018 

Back in the 18th century, black bears created such a nuisance among settlers that they were widely reviled. In fact, in 1770 the state put its first bounty on bears, and it wasn’t until 1957 that the cash reward for killing bears was repealed for good. But as the state unveils its latest 10-year big game management plan, one thing is clear: Maine once again has more bears than its residents would like, and state biologists need some new options if they’re going to shrink the bear herd.
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