March 19, 2019  
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Maine Environmental News
Action Alert - Tuesday, March 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). 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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Mount Pisgah winter trek, Mar 24
Event - Posted - Sunday, March 17, 2019 

Kennebec Land Trust Stewardship Director Jean-Luc Theriault will lead an off-trail excursion on Mount Pisgah to visit special places that are typically less accessible. Meet at the Mount Pisgah Community Conservation Area parking lot in Winthrop, March 24, 1 pm.
Winter Family Fun Day at Lily Bay State Park, Mar 23
Event - Posted - Saturday, March 16, 2019 

Ice fishing, snowmobile tote rides, winter camping demo, bonfire, scavenger hunt and free loan of cross-country skis, snowshoes, ice skates, snow tubes and sleds. At Lily Bay State Park, Moosehead Lake, March 23, 10 am - 3 pm.
Winter wildlife tracking workshop, Mar 23
Event - Posted - Saturday, March 16, 2019 

Naturalists and certified wildlife trackers Brendan White and Matt Dickinson lead a winter wildlife tracking workshop. At at Long Ledges Preserve, Sullivan, March 23, 9-11:30 am. Sponsored by Frenchman Bay Conservancy.
Maine Grass Farmers Network Conference, Mar 23
Event - Posted - Saturday, March 16, 2019 

Livestock producers are invited to learn about grass-based production and how grazing systems can become more profitable and environmentally sound. At Kennebec County Community College's Alfond Campus, Hinckley, March 23, 8:30 am - 3 pm.
Maine becomes a state, Mar 15
Announcement - Friday, March 15, 2019 

On this day in 1820, March 15, Massachusetts lost over 30,000 square miles of land as its former province of Maine gained statehood. Mainers had begun campaigning for statehood for years following the Revolution. The Massachusetts legislature finally consented in 1819. What no one foresaw, however, was that Maine's quest for statehood would become entangled in the most divisive issue in American history — slavery.
Maine Land Conservation Conference, Apr 5-6
Event - Posted - Friday, March 15, 2019 

Maine’s robust land conservation community comes together to train on best practices in all aspects of land trust work, connect with peers, and grapple with the most pressing issues facing land conservation today. At Topsham area, April 5-6.
Thoreau Society & Thoreau Farm Trust online auction, thru Mar 29
Announcement - Friday, March 15, 2019 

This auction contains many rare books written about Henry David Thoreau and other items for every Thoreauvian.
MITA Open House and Getch Celebration, Mar 22
Event - Posted - Friday, March 15, 2019 

Toast the extraordinary life of MITA founder Dave Getchell, Sr. At Maine Island Trail Association, Portland, March 22, 5:30-7:30 pm.
Call for Artists: Paint for Preservation 2019
Announcement - Friday, March 15, 2019 

The Cape Elizabeth Land Trust is accepting artist submissions for Paint for Preservation 2019, the organization’s twelfth annual juried Wet Paint Auction and one of Maine’s premiere art auction events. This 3-day (June 28-30) plein air event raises money for land conservation in Cape Elizabeth. Deadline is March 22.
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News Items
As rates spike and debt grows, a small Maine town considers selling its water department
Lincoln County News - Wednesday, March 13, 2019 

The Waldoboro Board of Selectmen has voted unanimously to start the process necessary to increase water rates and to sit down with the Maine Water Co. to discuss the sale of the town’s water utility. The utility’s working capital is depleted. Rick Knowlton, president of Maine Water Co., said a projected cash shortfall of $200,000 over the next five years is anticipated with minimum levels of capital spending, indicating Drinking Water State Revolving Fund money through the EPA is available if an unanticipated major project comes up.
Meet the Maine man who wants to be our next president
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, March 13, 2019 

More than 300 people across the country have declared their candidacy for president. Maine can claim one candidate among that pool. Fred Wiand, 78, resides on a woodlot in China. While he was working toward his forestry degree from Unity College and earning money as a seasonal employee at L.L.Bean, carpenter, and paralegal, he was also fostering his keen interest in evangelizing about the perils of climate change, which is almost single-handedly fueling his run for president. Wiand’s aim to curb carbon carbon emissions and make the country carbon neutral is his campaign platform, which he’ll get to exhibit in full force next month when he embarks on a months-long cross-country campaign tour.
Former legislator charged with fraudulently obtaining hunting licenses
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, March 13, 2019 

A former Republican legislator who got a pardon is charged with fraudulently obtaining hunting licenses. Former state Rep. Jeff Pierce, R-Dresden, will appear in a Wiscasset court on Thursday to answer three misdemeanor charges of fraudulently obtaining licenses. That issue came to light during his 2018 campaign, when the state discovered that Pierce had purchased firearm hunting licenses and tagged game on them despite a 1982 felony drug trafficking conviction. Former Gov. Paul LePage pardoned Pierce of that conviction during his last days in office, but these charges relate to licenses purchased before the pardon and pardons don’t expunge convictions in Maine. Pierce narrowly lost his re-election bid to Rep. Allison Hepler, D-Woolwich.
Squirrel emerges victorious in treetop showdown with bald eagle
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, March 13, 2019 

Roger Stevens Jr., a professional photographer from Lincoln has published several photo books. Monday, when Stevens began to drive home from McDonald’s, in a tree next to the Rite Aid store, was a bald eagle behaving oddly. A gray squirrel walked into the frame. “[The squirrel] just kept seeing how close it could get to the eagle. [It] would come up and just taunt him, dare him [to attack],” Stevens said. Eventually, the squirrel emerged victorious. “[The eagle] said, ‘Leave me alone,’ and he flew away,” Stevens said. “And he flew off over the lake.”
Column: Let’s clean our lakes and ponds
Kennebec Journal - Wednesday, March 13, 2019 

We’re blessed with our beautiful brooks, steams, rivers, ponds and lakes — but there is still a lot of work to do to clean them up. I applaud the efforts of so many Mainers who work diligently to keep out or remove invasive plant species from our waters. I’m worried that no similar effort has been made to rid our waters of invasive fish. We need to launch a statewide project to clean our lakes and ponds of lures and sinkers. We also need the industry to step up with more biodegradable lures. In case you want to celebrate Maine’s clean waters, please consider this. Freshly caught freshwater fish may be delicious but we are warned not to overindulge because of mercury, dioxin, DDT and PCBs that can be found in Maine waters. Let’s do everything we can to make them cleaner and keep them beautiful. ~ George Smith
Opinion: Portland waterfront task force lacking public input, sense of urgency
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, March 13, 2019 

Last November, Portland residents, mostly fishermen, filed a petition seeking a referendum to restore the concept of water dependency to the zoning provisions that control development along the seaward side of Commercial Street in Portland. The moratorium was passed as an emergency measure. It called for a task force to begin putting some of the more obvious zoning changes in place. A series of meetings beginning in early January was scheduled. The Waterfront Working Group on its face seems a fair-minded body, but it suffers from the absence of any critic of recent city zoning policies, the lack of opportunity for any public input, and any sense of urgency. ~ Orlando E. Delogu, Portland
Opinion: Say ‘no’ to transmission line
Sun Journal - Wednesday, March 13, 2019 

Maine residents cannot allow the Maine Public Utilities Commission to give Central Maine Power the right to build the proposed transmission line. I don’t care what Barry Hobbins has negotiated “for the benefit” of the people. There is nothing Mainers are going to get from CMP that would help. The majority of the jobs would be temporary. The power isn’t stopping here; Maine is just a transportation portal to Massachusetts. Hydro-Quebec didn’t sign a contract to sell power to Maine; it signed the deal with Massachusetts. The money it has offered will be eaten up by inflation within two years. Maine will be left with a physical abscess across the state forever. That is all Mainers will get out of it. ~ Eric Coffman, Livermore Falls
Letter: Buying approval?
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, March 13, 2019 

Central Maine Power should not be able to buy approval for its power line to Massachusetts. This is bribery. If there was any inherent benefit to Maine residents, pay outs would not be necessary. ~ Walter Hickson, Orrington
Letter: No western Maine transmission line
Times Record - Wednesday, March 13, 2019 

The proposed CMP transmission line is bad for Maine and for the environment. New Hampshire has already banned a similar proposal. HydroQuebec has not verified that the energy to be transmitted via this line will result in a net carbon reduction in the Northeast. CMP is fighting hard for this transmission line because of the profit it stands to gain by routing Canadian power to Massachusetts. Its recently proposed token benefits to Mainers mean little in the face of the long-term losses we will bear. Maine can do better. We can say NO to this poorly conceived project and encourage all Northeastern states to invest in locally sourced and verifiably clean, renewable power. ~ Jock and Annie Winchester, Pemaquid
Letter: Vote yes for new Belgrade Village Green
Kennebec Journal - Wednesday, March 13, 2019 

On March 15, Belgrade residents will be voting on a new park called the Belgrade Village Green. A generous local couple purchased the triangular piece of land where Route 27 meets the West Road and are transforming it into a beautiful park. This new Belgrade Village Green creates a great entrance to the southern end of the Village. And the classic gazebo, stone sitting wall and walking path blend with the landscape and encourage people to slow down, relax and enjoy the sense of the Village. Please join me in voting yes on March 15 to accept the new park. ~ Kathy Atkinson, Belgrade
Letter: Tannery problems hurting Hartland
Morning Sentinel - Wednesday, March 13, 2019 

I was born and raised in Hartland and the tannery has always been a part of life here in town. We put up with the smell and commotion because we felt it was worth it. However, the tannery has gone through bankruptcy and in the process burdened the town with a hazardous waste dump and a huge tax burden. In 2016, the town received approval to dispose of “special wastes,” including paper mill sludge, on an ongoing basis. People in close proximity to the landfill have been exposed to horrendous odors and huge dust plumes. Wake up Hartland — we are putting our community at risk. The landfill and its out-of-town sludge and waste are not worth the cost to our health and quality of life. ~ Debbie Cooper, Hartland
Maine Land Conservation Task Force podcasts
Natural Resources Council of Maine - Tuesday, March 12, 2019 

Tim Glidden is the President of Maine Coast Heritage Trust, and he served as one of two co-chairs of the Maine Land Conservation Task Force. Senator Cathy Breen (D-Cumberland) served on the Maine Land Conservation Task Force, and she introduced LD 911 to refund the Land for Maine’s Future program and to support Maine’s State Parks.Rep. Pat Corey (R-Windham) served on the Maine Land Conservation Task Force, and he is one of over a hundred co-sponsors of LD 911 to support LMF and Maine’s State Parks.
These Bird Songs Are Disappearing From Nature, So This Artist Captured Them In A Sound Installation
Other - Tuesday, March 12, 2019 

WBUR - This weekend, a dozen critically endangered or extinct creatures will be heard in "Requiem," a sound installation at the Boston Nature Center. It combines the noises of birds and frogs, whose sounds have been sourced from field recordings at the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology and The Amphibian Foundation in Atlanta. "Requiem," which has traveled from Maine to Boston and back again, is a purely auditory experience. Steve Norton is the Maine-based artist and musician who created the installation. "Requiem" opens on March 16 and runs through March 23.
Land & Water Conservation Fund Renewal Signed into Law
Other - Tuesday, March 12, 2019 

Environment Maine - The president signed the public lands package today that permanently reauthorizes the Land and Water Conservation Fund, a historically bipartisan program that has funded projects in all 50 states since its inception in 1965. The program, which expired last September, has supported everything from the expansion and maintenance of local parks and recreation centers to national forests, national parks and historical sites. The bill permanently renews LWCF, but does not fully fund it at the $900 million a year authorized. Instead, it leaves funding to the annual appropriations process. Erik DuMont, of Environment America, said: “Permanently reauthorizing the program took a strong group effort from members on both sides of the aisle. Now we need to see it fully funded."
Hike: Taft Point Preserve in Gouldsboro
Aislinn Sarnacki Act Out Blog - Tuesday, March 12, 2019 

Taft Point Preserve covers 68 acres of forestland on the coast of Gouldsboro, and features a network of trails that altogether total about 1.5 miles. From the preserve’s rocky beaches, hikers are rewarded with views of the mountains of Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island, as well Stave Island, Calf Island, Schieffelin Point and Schoodic Mountain. The preserve was gifted to the Frenchman Bay Conservancy by Jeremy Strater in 2014, and is now open to the public year round. It’s an excellent place to enjoy a quiet walk in the woods, breathe in some salty ocean air and walk along the shore. At low tide, there’s quite a bit of beach to explore.
Not just roadkill: Some states say it makes sense to let residents use the animals
Associated Press - Tuesday, March 12, 2019 

Between 1 million and 2 million large animals are hit by vehicles every year in the United States [not counting bugs] in accidents that kill 200 people and cost nearly $8.4 billion in damages, according to estimates from the Federal Highway Administration. Now more states are joining Idaho and others, letting people like Lindskoog, owner of a local breakfast and burger joint, reclaim fresh, nutrient-dense, grass-fed meat that might otherwise end up as a grease stain on the highway. In Maine, it is legal to pick up most road kill, but some restrictions apply, so residents who are unsure would want to check with local and state officials.
Massachusetts Senate advances lobster processing bill
Associated Press - Tuesday, March 12, 2019 

Republican Sen. Bruce Tarr of Gloucester wants to reform Massachusetts processing laws so wholesale dealers can process unfrozen lobsters, import unfrozen shell-on lobster parts and allow for sale of processed lobster. Current laws require Massachusetts lobstermen and seafood dealers to sell or transport lobster out of the state for processing for parts. Tarr said current law results in Massachusetts lobster going to Canada and Maine, where processing infrastructure is located.
Trump most outrageous statement on climate denial
Other - Tuesday, March 12, 2019 

Since Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez released the visionary resolution for Green New Deal, the response from right-wing climate deniers has been ludicrous. Just this morning, Patrick Moore — a paid polluter lobbyist who falsely claims to be a founder of Greenpeace — went on Fox and Friends to spew lies about the climate crisis and bash the Green New Deal. President Trump was quick to tweet his agreement. But, we know better. The Green New Deal is more than just a response to an environmental threat — it’s a vision for the future of this country that puts people and communities first.
Franklin County Farm Creates Maine’s Only Commercial Birch Syrup
Maine Public - Tuesday, March 12, 2019 

By the time the maple sugaring season comes to an end this spring, it’ll be time to start tapping birch trees. What may be the only commercial birch syrup operation in Maine, and one of the few in New England, is run out of a family farm in the Franklin County town of Temple. Michael Romanyshyn says Temple Tappers got started about 7 years ago. Compared to the maple process, it takes three times as much birch sap — about 120-130 gallons — to make one gallon of syrup.
Gov. Mills gets to cuddle 4 bear cubs
Associated Press - Tuesday, March 12, 2019 

Maine’s biologists are grappling with rapid growth in the bear population, and the state’s governor has joined them to learn more – and to sneak in a little snuggle time with cubs. Maine has about 36,000 bears, up from just 23,000 less than 15 years ago. Democratic Gov. Janet Mills accompanied Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife biologists to rural Orneville Township on Monday for a check on a hibernating radio-collared mother bear.
Skowhegan groups awarded $75,000 for fiery river art display
Morning Sentinel - Tuesday, March 12, 2019 

The Maine Arts Commission has awarded Main Street Skowhegan funding for “Kennebec on Fire,” a collaborative public art project with the Wesserunsett Arts Council that will bring real fire to the Kennebec River. Through a Creative Communities = Economic Development implementation grant, Main Street will receive $75,000 over three years to implement the project modeled after the long-running WaterFire project in Providence, Rhode Island, where more than 80 bonfires and artwork by award-winning sculptor Barnaby Evans have been installed on the three rivers of downtown Providence.
Opinion: How Auburn’s current Agriculture and Resource Protection Zone works
Sun Journal - Tuesday, March 12, 2019 

As we continue to allow 20,000 acres of Auburn to sit dormant in a “land bank,” the ability to utilize the land for agriculture diminishes. Currently, 74 percent of Auburn’s agriculture land — land that was historically cleared and used for agriculture — is now forest land. It will cost $5,000 to clear just one acre of land for agriculture. We are starting to get priced out of the very industry this ordinance was supposed to attract. While we are late, there is still time to act by modernizing Auburn’s zoning so that we can attract new farmers, increase the tax base, lower land property taxes and, yes, still conserve land and open green space. Agriculture in Auburn can be made strong again, like it once was before greed got in the way. ~ Jason Levesque, mayor of Auburn
Resource extraction responsible for half world’s carbon emissions
The Guardian - Tuesday, March 12, 2019 

Extractive industries are responsible for half of the world’s carbon emissions and more than 80% of biodiversity loss, according to the most comprehensive environmental tally undertaken of mining and farming. The study by UN Environment warns the increasing material weight of the world’s economies is putting a dangerous level of stress on the climate and natural life-support systems. Resources are being extracted from the planet three times faster than in 1970, even though the population has only doubled in that time. A dire scenario could be avoided if there is a faster transition towards renewables, smarter urban planning to reduce the demand for concrete, dietary changes to lower the need for grazing pastures and cut levels of waste, a greater focus on creating a cyclical economy that re-uses more materials, and a switch of taxation policies away from carbon and resource extraction.
Maine’s barred owls are going through a rough patch after a snowy winter
Bangor Daily News - Tuesday, March 12, 2019 

Across the state, barred owls — smallish birds that weigh just over 1 pound — are going through a rough patch as they struggle to find prey that isn’t covered by snow, said Erynn Call, raptor specialist for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. There are simply more owls on the landscape this year than usual. A massive squirrel population explosion in 2018 left motorists dodging the long-tailed speed bumps all around the state. The abundance of other kinds of natural prey has led to an increase in owls, too. Some owls have starved to death, while others simply find other ways to find food. Anyone encountering an owl that seems to need help should contact the nearest wildlife rehabilitator. Among those are Avian Haven in Freedom (382-6761) and Center for Wildlife in Cape Neddick (361-1400).
Mackerel fishery to be scaled back for rest of 2019
Associated Press - Tuesday, March 12, 2019 

Fishermen catch millions of pounds of Atlantic mackerel from Maine to Virginia every year, as the fish is widely used as food. However, federal rules state that the mackerel fishery must be restricted once fishermen approach their limit for the catch of river herring and shad, which are other species of small fish. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said 95 percent of the catch cap has been exhausted. That means mackerel fishing vessels will be prohibited from fishing for more than 20,000 pounds of mackerel per trip from Tuesday to the end of the year.
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