March 19, 2019  
Press releases, events, publications released, etc. from Maine environmental organizations and agencies. Submit content.

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.
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.
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News Items
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.
Handgun hunting, youth days, moose permits, and more at legislature
George Smith BDN Outdoor News Blog - Tuesday, March 12, 2019 

Several issues were debated yesterday by the legislature’s Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee:
• allow the holder of a super pack license to participate in an antlerless deer permit lottery
• establish 3 consecutive days as youth hunting days for hunting bear and deer
• remove the background check requirement for Maine guides who are at least 70 or hold a lifetime hunting or fishing license
• allow a special handgun hunting season that coincides with the muzzle-loading open season on deer
• allow family members to get a moose permit if the holder of that permit dies before the hunt
• require draining a vessel before it is transported from an inland water body
• prohibit seine fishing in great ponds
Maine transmission settlement could spur clean energy investments in state
Other - Tuesday, March 12, 2019 

Energy News Network - A proposed settlement over a controversial New England power line project could help the state of Maine jumpstart several clean energy initiatives. The developers of the New England Clean Energy Connect project, which would carry hydropower from Québec to customers in Massachusetts, have offered a more than $260 million package of incentives meant to soften opposition from landowners, regulators, and environmental groups in Maine. About $80 million is earmarked for clean energy projects, including heat pumps, energy efficiency, and electric vehicle infrastructure. The Maine Public Utilities Commission could consider project approval as soon as April. State environmental permits, a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and a presidential permit could be issued by year’s end. Construction could then start in early 2020.
Column: Bringing a focus to Maine’s shellfishing industry
Times Record - Tuesday, March 12, 2019 

The history of local shellfish management in Maine began back in 1821 when the state gave authority to each town to control shellfish harvest in their intertidal zone. For its nearly 3500 miles of coastline, Maine has a lot of coastal towns, which means a lot of different shellfish programs – over 80 in total. Some of these are single towns and others are partnerships between towns. Each program is responsible for setting the number of commercial licenses it issues and for surveying its resource on a regular basis. Many municipal shellfish programs also undertake conservation projects like reseeding or closing areas during the winter to let the resource rest. And many of them require that license holders participate in these conservation activities. ~ Susan Olcott
Editorial: Biddeford reborn after trash incinerator’s demise
Portland Press Herald - Tuesday, March 12, 2019 

Because of the influx of new residents in their 20s and 30s attracted by the city’s opportunities and lifestyle, Biddeford has become the youngest city in Maine, with a median age nearly a decade younger than the state’s median of 44. But 20 years ago the nickname “Trash Town USA” made Biddeford the last place you’d expect to become the state’s next hot location. The incinerator in the heart of downtown was shut down for good in 2012, the end of a two-decade effort. The vision and patience of the city’s leaders are paying off, and they should serve as an example to every other community in the state that is wondering if it, too, should take a chance and embrace change.
Opinion: To ensure respect for wildlife, rewrite conservation bond’s fine print
Portland Press Herald - Tuesday, March 12, 2019 

The $75 million Land for Maine’s Future bond proposal is a worthy aim to secure more conservation land for outdoor recreation and wildlife habitat. However, it stipulates that “hunting, fishing, trapping and public access may not be prohibited on land acquired with bond proceeds” with few exceptions. Those of us who enjoy hiking, camping, bird-watching and photographing living wildlife are disturbed by the undemocratic and unconditional nature of the clause. Why should this activity be given special protections on LMF land when it is practiced by less than 2 percent of Maine citizens? A small minority should not be able to dictate how our public lands are used. ~ Karen Coker, WildWatch Maine
Letter: An unintended legacy?
Bangor Daily News - Tuesday, March 12, 2019 

Nordic Aquafarms Nordic seems to be given very generous space for their infomercial in a recent BDN editorial. The editorial uses the example of wind energy projects going elsewhere because “former Gov. Paul LePage pushed the PUC to change regulations after the company had already agreed to terms with the state.” This is not comparable to the deliberations happening in the Legislature today. Land-based aquaculture is a recent technology with no large-scale historical “evidence” with which to “compare aspects of proposals against transparent standards for approval.” Some may think that Nordic Aquafarms will “put Belfast, Maine, and the entire state on the map.” Perhaps, as home to the one of the first super-sized recirculating aquaculture systems experiments to create a dead zone disaster on Penobscot Bay. That would be an unintended legacy. ~ Ellie Daniels, Belfast
Letter: Thanks to Pingree for supporting carbon dividend
Times Record - Tuesday, March 12, 2019 

I am so thankful for Chellie Pingree’s support of the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act. It takes courage to stand up for a good environment and fighting climate change. This act is the best first step to changing the direction of our government. We will put a fee on carbon and return that money to every American household thereby allowing people to make more informed choices once they face higher prices that reflect the damage done by fossil fuels. Many thanks to Rep. Pingree. We are hoping that Representative Golden as well as Senators King and Collins will not be far behind. ~ Jill Standish, Brunswick
Here Are 5 Hysterical Environmentalist Claims in Modern History
Other - Monday, March 11, 2019 

Daily Signal - The modern environmentalist movement has produced numerous egregiously wrong predictions about global trends. Here are five of the biggest misses:
1. Population Bomb to Cause Global Famine by 2000
2. Air Pollution Will Be So Bad That City Dwellers Will Have to Wear Gas Masks
3. Entire Nations Could Be Wiped Out by 1999
4. Ice Caps Will Melt Away
5. The Coming Ice Age
Maine Supreme Court dismisses Waterville plastic bag dispute after challengers miss deadline
Morning Sentinel - Monday, March 11, 2019 

After a drawn-out buildup, the disputing of ballots cast by Colby College students in Waterville’s plastic bag referendum has come to an anticlimactic close. On Monday, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court dismissed the case after challengers Shaun Caron and Cathy Weeks failed to file a complaint before the March 8 deadline and notified the Clerk of Court that they no longer wished to pursue the issue before the state’s highest court. Plastic bags will be banned at Waterville retail stores of 10,000 square feet or more, effective on Earth Day, April 22, 2019.
Study Finds Racial Gap Between Who Causes Air Pollution And Who Breathes It
National Public Radio - Monday, March 11, 2019 

A study published Monday found that air pollution is disproportionately caused by white Americans' consumption of goods and services, but disproportionately inhaled by black and Hispanic Americans.
Video captures roadside tiff between Canada lynx
Bangor Daily News - Monday, March 11, 2019 

Rob Michaud of East Millinocket was driving through Stacyville Thursday afternoon with his dad and dog Henry, as three Canada lynx showed up on the side of the road. Michaud said it appeared that two of the lynx appeared to drive the other, larger cat away. Henry the dog was none-to-impressed. While Michaud and his dad watched, Henry can be heard voicing his displeasure at the presence of three big cats.
President's FY20 Budget Proposal Cuts Interior by 14 Percent
National Parks Traveler - Monday, March 11, 2019 

It is either the best of times or the worst of times for funding the Interior Department and its many bureaus, depending on whom you ask. The Fiscal 2020 budget proposal President Trump released Monday either restores fiscal sanity to the federal government or it is so outrageous it shouldn't have been printed and will be rejected outright by Congress. For Interior, the budget proposal slashes funding by 14 percent.
Opinion: Does northern Maine need more subdivisions?
Bangor Daily News - Monday, March 11, 2019 

Maine’s Land Use Planning Commission (LUPC) proposes to eliminate rules that limit new development applications within 1 mile of clusters of similar development anywhere in the Unorganized Territories. The new proposed system would allow new development applications of any type in designated zones along any public road within 7 miles of 41 towns they have designated as “rural hubs.” Maine’s largest landowners have done a great job managing their lands for timber, recreation and wildlife while maintaining a working forest that is accessible to the public. However, increasing the areas in the UT that can be rezoned for residential subdivisions with lot sizes up to 25 acres around towns such as Greenville, Jackman and Millinocket will no doubt lead to strip development, fragmentation of working forest and wildlife habitat, and more “no trespassing” signs in the North Maine Woods. ~ Jonathan Robbins, Searsmont
You can test those ticks now in Maine
George Smith BDN Outdoor News Blog - Monday, March 11, 2019 

A new in-state service that tests ticks for pathogens is available at the Tick Lab, housed within UMaine’s new Diagnostic and Research Laboratory. They test for three of the most common tick-borne pathogens – Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, and babesiosis – that are carried by deer ticks. Those ticks are now spread throughout the state.
Aroostook County man injured in snowmobile crash has died
Fiddlehead Focus (St. John Valley, Aroostook County) - Monday, March 11, 2019 

A Saint David man critically injured in a snowmobile crash in Madawaska last week has died. Luke Beaulier, 57, died on Saturday afternoon at Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor. Beaulieu was riding his 2006 Arctic Cat off the Gagnon Road in Madawaska about 11 p.m. Wednesday when he collided with a tree, according to the warden service. His death, which comes after the March 2 death of a Massachusetts woman in Wayne, is the 10th snowmobile fatality of the season.
Mills can bear-ly contain her excitement about visiting a black bear den
Maine Government News - Monday, March 11, 2019 

This morning, I joined Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife Commissioner Judy Camuso & her staff on a visit to a black bear den. Black bears are among Maine’s most treasured wildlife, and researching and monitoring the population is an important part of IFW’s work. As you can see, these cubs are doing quite well, and I could bear-ly contain my excitement. ~ Governor Janet Mills
Great black hawk will go on display at Maine State Museum
Portland Press Herald - Monday, March 11, 2019 

The great black hawk that was euthanized after it took up residence in Deering Oaks park and sustained frostbite during a storm in January will be mounted and displayed at the Maine State Museum. Maine state raptor biologist Erynn Call said the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife made the decision to display the large hawk, which is native to Central and South America. She said the hawk’s plight tells the story of how birds – called vagrants by ornithologists – can fly off course and end up far from their usual habitats.
Maine Science Center to Study Warming Impact on Cod, Lobster
Associated Press - Monday, March 11, 2019 

The National Science Foundation is awarding nearly $800,000 to the Gulf of Maine Research Institute to study the impact of climate change on the growth and population patterns of cod and lobster. Cod and lobster were once both major fisheries in Maine, but their productivity has gone in opposite directions in recent years. The cod fishery collapsed, but the lobster catch grew at a record pace this decade. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King say the money helps the institute "better understand and mitigate the impacts of changing ocean conditions on our communities, marine ecosystems, and economy.''
Editorial: Climate change fight will take many forms
Portland Press Herald - Monday, March 11, 2019 

Gov. Mills got involved in the negotiations regarding the New England Clean Energy Connect project right after her election and put a priority on achieving the state’s climate goals. Mills noted that half of the state’s carbon emissions come from transportation. So the companies pushing the plan agreed to pay $15 million to build a network of charging stations for electric vehicles. Because 60 percent of Maine homes heat with oil, Mills extracted another $15 million to put high-efficiency electric heat pumps in low-income homes. And Maine ratepayers would not have to pay for any of these improvements. It remains a controversial project, but there shouldn’t be any debate that the state’s negotiators were able to exchange their support for progress on important climate goals. Mills has shown that she will jump on opportunities as they arise. After eight years of inaction, that’s good to know.
Letter: Replace CMP with a public power authority
Portland Press Herald - Monday, March 11, 2019 

Like many Mainers, when I open my invoices from Central Maine Power now I get terrible shocks. It seems that no CMP bill is safe to touch, EVAH! I know that I am not alone in my outrage over skyrocketing costs. CMP’s response is generally the same to anyone who inquires about their larger-than-normal bill: There must be a problem with an appliance that is suddenly creating this large spike in electrical use. That’s difficult to believe, since it’s happening to ratepayers statewide. Rep. Seth Berry is sponsoring legislation for a consumer-owned utility. Read about this and contact your legislators to ask them to co-sponsor the bill. ~ Susan Goodwin, Kittery Point
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