August 24, 2019  
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Maine Environmental News
Action Alert - Friday, August 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; 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
Rangeley Outdoor Film Festival, Aug 30
Event - Posted - Friday, August 23, 2019 

The Rangeley Trail Town Festival features a variety of short films about the outdoors. At RFA Lakeside Theater, Rangeley, August 30, 7 pm, $6 for adults, $3 for Appalachian Trail hikers and children under 12.
LightHawk Paper Plane Contest
Announcement - Thursday, August 22, 2019 

Enter your best paper airplane design for a chance to have it mailed to thousands in LightHawk's 2019 Holiday Letter. Deadline: October 18, 2019.
BTLT Seeks Community Input on Future Conservation
Announcement - Tuesday, August 20, 2019 

The Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust is seeking community input on its current and future conservation work in Brunswick, Topsham, and Bowdoin. A community survey is available online until September 2.
Butler to speak on conservation, Aug 27
Event - Posted - Tuesday, August 20, 2019 

Conservationist Gil Butler will discuss his efforts to establish outdoor education programs and conservation projects in Maine and throughout North and South America. At College of the Atlantic, Bar Harbor, August 27, 9 am, free, parking on campus is by permit only.
Solo Paddle of Northern Forest Canoe Trail, Aug 27
Event - Posted - Tuesday, August 20, 2019 

Laurie Apgar Chandler will read from and discuss her book “Upwards,” which tells her story as the first woman to solo paddle New England’s 740-mile Northern Forest Canoe Trail. At Bailey Library, Winthrop, August 27, 6:30 pm.
Keeping Acadia Healthy With New Science, Aug 26
Event - Posted - Monday, August 19, 2019 

Abraham Miller-Rushing and Rebecca Cole-Will will discuss how Acadia National Park is facing a triple environmental challenge: global warming, acid rain, and increased visitation. At Bar Harbor, August 26, 5 pm.
Maine’s Seaweed Scene, Sep 26
Event - Posted - Monday, August 19, 2019 

Susan Hand Shetterly and Robin Hadlock Seeley will discuss the importance of protected wild habitats and the critical role of seaweed in the Gulf of Maine. At Moore Community Center, Ellsworth, September 26, 7 pm. Hosted by Downeast Audubon.
Bee apocalypse
Action Alert - Sunday, August 18, 2019 

U.S. agriculture today is 48 times more toxic to honeybees than it was 25 years ago—almost entirely because of neonicotinoid pesticides. It's part of an "insect apocalypse." But instead of taking action, the Trump administration is shredding protections for bees. Will you stand with me in the fight to save the bees? ~ Mayor Ethan Strimling, Portland, Maine
Maine Farmland Trust Gallery 20th Anniversary Retrospective Exhibit, thru Oct 11
Announcement - Sunday, August 18, 2019 

To celebrate Maine Farmland Trust’s 20th anniversary, a curated retrospective featuring a selection of works that have been exhibited at the MFT Gallery over the past 10 years is on view through October 11.
National Parks Free Entrance, Aug 25
Event - Posted - Sunday, August 18, 2019 

All National Park Service sites that charge an entrance fee will offer free admission to everyone to celebrate the National Park Service's 103rd birthday on August 25.
Brechlin reading, Aug 25
Event - Posted - Sunday, August 18, 2019 

Earl Brechlin, a Registered Maine Guide, will read from his book, "Return to Moose River: In Search of the Spirit of the Great North Woods," essays describing white-water canoeing, snowmobiling, and backpacking adventures in many parts of Maine. At Albert Church Brown Memorial Library, China, August 25, 2 pm.
Kennebec Land Trust annual meeting, Aug 25
Event - Posted - Sunday, August 18, 2019 

At Camp Androscoggin, Wayne, August 25. The trust has conserved more than 6,300 acres and constructed 44 miles of trails on KLT protected lands.
Maine Herpetological Society Reptile Expo, Aug 25
Event - Posted - Saturday, August 17, 2019 

50+ vendors, 1,000+ reptiles, plus Mr. Drew and His Animals Too. At Ramada Inn, Lewiston, August 25, 10 am - 4 pm, $7, kids under 12 free.
Families in the Outdoors, Aug 24
Event - Posted - Saturday, August 17, 2019 

Learn about all kinds of Maine bugs – the good, the bad and the very strange looking. At Law Farm, Dover-Foxcroft, August 24, 9 am - noon.
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News Items
Face Time — Rangeley's Kyle Haley records nature's beauty
Sun Journal - Sunday, June 24, 2018 

Kyle Haley, 24, of Rangeley, started off taking photos using disposable cameras when he was younger, then graduated to a point-and-shoot digital camera and the rest is history. The 2012 graduate of Rangeley Lakes Regional School fell in love with taking landscape photos when he was on a trip to Alaska. The Rangeley native works at M & H Construction and approaches both interests in a similar fashion at times.
Transmission lines over Kennebec Gorge? That may be a choke point for renewable energy advocates
Maine Sunday Telegram - Sunday, June 24, 2018 

Crossing the Kennebec is essential for the New England Clean Energy Connect project. Being developed by Avangrid, the parent company of Central Maine Power, NECEC, as it’s known, is the region’s biggest, multistate energy proposal currently in play. There’s no immediate benefit to Maine ratepayers. But with a capacity of 1,200 megawatts, NECEC could run more than 1 million Massachusetts homes. The Kennebec Gorge may become a choke point for NECEC. That possibility is making NECEC a test case around this question: Can any large-scale, multistate energy project get built anymore in New England Advocates say that without at least some big clean-energy projects, the region will be hard-pressed to lower fossil fuel-based carbon emissions enough to help blunt the impacts of climate change.
Emerging energy model in New England shies away from cooperation
Maine Sunday Telegram - Sunday, June 24, 2018 

Today’s battles over big energy projects in New England obscure the region’s past history of successfully bringing key visions to reality. But they also call into question whether the wholesale electricity market that has evolved over the past two decades can survive.
Browntail moths spread, make their presence felt in Greater Portland
Maine Sunday Telegram - Sunday, June 24, 2018 

The invasive browntail moth, which has hunkered down in the midcoast for years, is expanding into Portland and its northern and western suburbs, bringing thousands of new, unsuspecting Mainers into contact with the caterpillars’ toxic hairs. “You can’t address this just by saying every man for themselves,” said Bruce Maasbyll of Yarmouth. “This is a public health problem. It’s a quality of life problem. It’s everybody’s problem.” Browntail moth infestations can be difficult to deal with because of restrictions on using pesticides in certain coastal areas.
In Maine, industrial hemp is the crop to watch
Maine Sunday Telegram - Sunday, June 24, 2018 

Farmer Ben Rooney spent several days last week rushing around Wild Folk Farm in Benton planting 300 seedlings of Maine’s trendiest new crop, industrial hemp. “We’re kind of in the heat of it now,” he said. It’s an apt expression; hemp is Maine’s hot new crop after nearly a century of falling by the wayside.
Column: Leaf blowers – a source of pointless pollution and maddening cacophony
Maine Sunday Telegram - Sunday, June 24, 2018 

It’s a gorgeous summer morning, fragrant with the scents of lilac and abelia, but my office windows are shut. A swarm of leaf blowers has descended just down the road, generating plumes of dust and a persistent snoring roar. There is little to redeem these wasteful and irritating yard wands now used liberally by homeowners and lawn care crews, not just in fall but year-round. Many technological advances indisputably enhance our collective quality of life. But why do some inventions that so obviously fail to promote the public good still endure? ~ Marina Schauffler
Column: Nesting has many strategies
Maine Sunday Telegram - Sunday, June 24, 2018 

All of our songbirds as well as a number of other birds in diverse families have altricial reproduction. The process of raising young until they can fledge requires 10-13 days of incubation and then feeding the rapidly growing nestlings for another 10-13 days. The other extreme in breeding type is termed precocial development, and is seen in ducks, loons, grouse, quail, shorebirds and others. Chicks hatch out fully feathered with their eyes open. They can walk soon after hatching and are soon feeding themselves. Incubation periods are longer than seen in altricial birds. A typical precocial clutch will need to be incubated for 21 days. ~ Herb Wilson
Editorial: ‘America first’ trade policy hurts Maine fishermen first
Maine Sunday Telegram - Sunday, June 24, 2018 

Between Europe and China, Trump’s trade policy has shrunk the global market for an important Maine export. If lobster prices drop as a result, “America first” will hurt Americans most.
Letter: Hydropower line would benefit Maine
Kennebec Journal - Sunday, June 24, 2018 

New England Clean Energy Connect, or NECEC, is a proposed transmission line that will bring clean hydropower from Quebec into New England. Mainers need to understand the facts about this project, and the many tangible benefits we’ll get in return for hosting this new line. We’ve come a long way since oil and coal generation. But the demand for electricity grows and we need new, emission-free sources. In addition to wind and solar, firm hydropower is the best answer. Maine’s fortunate NECEC was selected. It is a real economic and environmental windfall. Let’s all work to get it approved for the benefit of our children and their children. ~ Richard Anderson, former commissioner, Department of Conservation, Portland
After 45 years living off the land, this Maine woman has a natural elixir for anything
Bangor Daily News - Saturday, June 23, 2018 

On her ridgetop farm in central Maine, Gail Faith Edwards tends herb gardens that contain more than 100 medicinal plants and sprawls over about four acres. She also gathers a wide variety of wild plants that naturally grow in the property’s forests and fields, such as red clover and hemlock needles. Edwards has worked over the past 30 years to develop an extensive line of products that include tinctures, loose-leaf teas, incense, vinegars, oils, resins and skin creams. She’s also authored a number of books on traditional herbal medicine, and in a one-room schoolhouse her son built at the farm, she hosts workshops and retreats on the topic. or Edwards, being an herbalist is both an intellectual and spiritual journey.
Visitor numbers plunge in North Maine Woods
George Smith BDN Outdoor News Blog - Saturday, June 23, 2018 

A lot fewer people are visiting and enjoying the lands in the North Maine Woods. That confirms my research when sporting camp owners told me their greatest challenge is the loss of hunters and anglers. In the last eleven years, visitor days fishing in North Maine Woods have declined from 21,143 to 12,365. Hunting days actually peaked in 1991 at 74,536. In 2017, hunter days totaled only 33,391. The loss of the deer herd in that region was a key reason for the decline in hunter numbers. I don’t know why angling declined, because that region still offers great fishing. Overall, visitor days peaked in 2001 at 283,816. In 2017, visitor days totaled 149,482.
Opinion: Lifting the Presumpscot River curse of Col. Thomas Westbrook
Portland Press Herald - Saturday, June 23, 2018 

The Presumpscot River is cursed by this history. The town of Standish is now doing its part to help lift this curse. Town councilors there recently decided to intervene in a federal Presumpscot River dam proceeding, an important action that sends a message to governing agencies and citizens that something is fishy with the current deal. Standish now becomes part of a contentious 300-year saga involving everyone from Chief Polin to the residents of towns in the Sebago Lakes region and 19th-century federal officials, all standing up for fish passage on the dams. ~ Roger Wheeler, Standish Friends of Sebago Lake
Gardiner Main Street has new director amid key tourism campaign
Kennebec Journal - Friday, June 22, 2018 

In the coming months, Gardiner is expected to show a new face to the world. “We’re on the verge of starting a Discover Gardiner campaign,” Piper Panzeri said. That campaign, promoting tourism in the riverfront city in southern Kennebec County, is one of the projects on the plate of Panzeri, who started work in May as the executive director of Gardiner Main Street.
Sappi North America: Maine mills are key to sustainable business strategy
Mainebiz - Friday, June 22, 2018 

Sappi North America's paper mills in Westbrook and Skowhegan are integral contributors to the company's industry-leading sustainability performance, which received a "gold recognition level" rating from the independent rating agency EcoVadis. That's the conclusion of Jennifer Miller, chief business sustainability officer for Boston-based Sappi North America, who cites a number of sustainability goals the two mills have achieved that were noted in the company's 2017 sustainability report.
New LePage threat to stall bonds imperils thousands of jobs
Bangor Daily News - Friday, June 22, 2018 

Maine State Treasurer Terry Hayes said Friday that Gov. Paul LePage has refused to approve the sale of $117 million in bonds funding hundreds of construction projects and backfilling $54.5 million in funds that were borrowed internally from the state government’s cash pool earlier this year. Hayes said the bulk of the money was for transportation projects — some of which are already underway — but also contained funds for environmental, drinking water, housing and research and development projects.
Waterville volunteer group ramps up Green Street Park renovation efforts
Morning Sentinel - Friday, June 22, 2018 

Volunteers in the city’s South End have a vision of a renovated Green Street Park that offers not only walking, biking and wheelchair accessibility, but also fitness stations where people of all ages and abilities may work out and improve their health and well-being. To that end, members of the South End Neighborhood Association, led by Jackie Dupont, have raised $10,000 toward a $30,000 goal to complete the first phase of renovation to the expansive, circular park off Water and Sherwin streets.
Man convicted of Maine lobster fraud sentenced to 6 months in prison
York Weekly - Friday, June 22, 2018 

Jonathan F. Cowles, 47, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Jon D. Levy to six months in prison and three years of supervised release for wire fraud. Cowles, who pleaded guilty Jan. 22, was ordered to pay $359,785 in restitution. Cowles admitted he skimmed more than $25,000 in funds from York-based lobster wholesaler Maine Coast while he was employed there from November 2013 to June 2014.
USDA to buy 8.9 million pounds of Maine wild blueberries
Portland Press Herald - Friday, June 22, 2018 

The federal government has authorized a $9.4 million purchase of Maine’s frozen wild blueberries, according to the executive director of the Wild Blueberry Commission of Maine, Nancy McBrady. This will be the fifth time since 2012 that the federal government will subsidize wild blueberry growers in Maine amid flagging market prices. The federal government will take a total of 8.9 million pounds of the frozen berries and the surplus fruit will go to food banks, child care centers and social service agencies.
Maine to get nearly $600,000 under program Trump wanted to cut
Portland Press Herald - Friday, June 22, 2018 

The Maine Sea Grant College Program will receive $574,691 from the federal government under a funding stream that President Trump proposed eliminating this year. U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King of Maine made the announcement Friday about the award from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that “will be used to advance sustainable use and environmental conservation efforts along Maine’s coast led by the University of Maine.”
Editorial: Public is right: There’s no reason to change Unorganized Territory development rule
Bangor Daily News - Friday, June 22, 2018 

The Land Use Regulation Commission website says new development throughout Maine’s Unorganized Territories must be near existing development to maintain the character of the rural, mostly forested areas, which total more than 10 million acres. This makes sense. However, LUPC has proposed to change this so-called adjacency rule to allow development as far as 10 miles from existing stores, homes or other public services. It would open up nearly 2 million acres for potential development. Developers have long complained that the commission is hampering the growth of second homes and camps. But, there is little evidence that this is true. The agency should abandon these misguided and unneeded rule changes.
Maine farm under fire after nesting fields for declining bird species gets mowed over
Bangor Daily News - Friday, June 22, 2018 

This time of year, two familiar sounds seem to signal the arrival of summer. One is the thrum of a tractor’s engine as farmers mow their sweet-smelling hayfields. The other is the bubbling, lyrical song of the bobolink, a small grassland bird with a shrinking population that is known for its cheerful plumage and captivating voice. But put them too close together, and the bobolink and the tractor sound more like disaster. Just ask scores of ardent bird lovers who have registered their dismay that a farmer last weekend mowed large open fields at the Hart Farm in Holden, a historical dairy farm that was purchased last year by the Holden Land Trust.
Electricity sellers allegedly posed as CMP auditors to sign up customers
Bangor Daily News - Friday, June 22, 2018 

Residents in Bath, Norway, Paris and Fryeburg opened their doors in recent months to the same scene: a man claiming to be an “auditor” for Central Maine Power Co. He said he was there to make sure customers were not overpaying for electricity, at a time when hundreds were shocked by high wintertime bills from the utility. But CMP doesn’t send auditors door to door. The “auditors” were actually salesmen for Electricity Maine, an electricity seller that historically has led customers to shell out hundreds of dollars more a year for electricity than they would have under the standard rate for power.
Arrest of Saddleback’s prospective buyer spurs nonprofit to try again to put the ski area back in business
Portland Press Herald - Friday, June 22, 2018 

A group that once had been in negotiations to purchase Saddleback plans to approach the ski area’s owners about reviving those talks following the news Thursday that an Australian businessman who had entered an agreement to buy the resort was arrested and charged with fraud. “We see a path forward that can work and we are prepared to lead,” said Crystal Canney, executive director of the Saddleback Mountain Foundation, a nonprofit composed of area business owners and skiers.
Land Use Planning Commission’s proposed new ‘adjacency’ rule has few backers. Will it matter?
Bangor Daily News - Friday, June 22, 2018 

One by one, interested parties walked to to the microphone Wednesday afternoon, introduced themselves to the members of the Land Use Planning Commission, and told those commissioners why scrapping their one-mile “adjacency” principle was the wrong thing to do. Then, the 40th witness stepped forward to testify, and the previous consensus didn’t really seem to matter any more. Patrick Strauch, the executive director of the Maine Forest Products Council, said his group supported some sort of change. Here’s hoping the LUPC heard one thing loud and clear, even if it ends up revamping its development framework. There’s no hurry. Slow down. And eventually, get it right.
Editorial: State planners should tread lightly on rural rule changes
Portland Press Herald - Friday, June 22, 2018 

The proposal from the Land Use Planning Commission, the planning and zoning authority of the unorganized territories, would do away with the “one-mile rule,” a longstanding policy that limits new housing subdivisions and commercial development to within 1 road mile of existing similar development. Under the new rules, development would be allowed within 10 miles of the border of more than 40 designated retail hubs – communities that provide public services. About 100 people showed up this week to the first and only public hearing scheduled on the matter. Every speaker was against the proposal. The commission should think twice before making such broad changes.
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