April 24, 2018  
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Maine Environmental News
Announcement - Tuesday, April 24, 2018 

Thanks for visiting Maine Environmental News, a service of RESTORE: The North Woods. MEN is the most comprehensive online source available for links to Maine conservation and natural resource news and events. 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
Portland Trails Annual Meeting & 15x15, May 1
Event - Posted - Tuesday, April 24, 2018 

Portland Trails annual meeting is a night of the best ideas in trails, transportation, conservation, and placemaking from members of our community. Presenters get 15 slides, and 15 seconds per slide, to share the story of their idea or innovation. At Space Gallery, Portland, May 1, 5:30 pm.
Trees, Trails, and Vernal Pools, Apr 28
Event - Posted - Saturday, April 21, 2018 

Arborist Doug Johnson will show how to identify trees in early spring, and Board member Roger Rittmaster will discuss the importance of vernal pools to the ecology of our forests. At Sagamore Farm, Camden, April 28, 10 am - 12 pm. Sponsored by Coastal Mountains Land Trust.
Stanton Bird Club Field Trips
Event - Posted - Saturday, April 21, 2018 

See the schedule of field trips sponsored by the Stanton Bird Club of Lewiston.
Stream Smart workshop, Apr 27
Event - Posted - Friday, April 20, 2018 

Stream Smart workshop offered for professionals who are responsible for road-stream crossings. At UMaine Hutchinson Center, Belfast, April 27, 8:30 am - 12:30 pm.
Lake Lover's Raffle
Announcement - Thursday, April 19, 2018 

Many prizes including a North Woods Dream Package. Benefits Maine Lakes Society.
Restoring Endangered Seabirds, Apr 26
Event - Posted - Thursday, April 19, 2018 

Susie Meadows, manager of Project Puffin Visitor Center, will talk about restoring endangered seabirds. At Maine Coastal Islands NWR Visitor Center, Rockland, April 26, 2 pm.
Climate Brews, Apr 25
Event - Posted - Wednesday, April 18, 2018 

A monthly get-together to discuss state and national environmental issues. At Cushnoc Brewing, Augusta, April 23, 5 pm. Sponsored by Maine Conservation Voters.
Adventures in Northern Quebec, Apr 24
Event - Posted - Tuesday, April 17, 2018 

Registered Maine Guide Polly Mahoney will talk about her adventures canoeing in northern Quebec. At Alumni Auditorium, Gould Academy, Bethel, April 24, 7 pm.
Sacred Instructions: Indigenous Wisdom for Living Spirit-Based Change, Apr 24
Event - Posted - Tuesday, April 17, 2018 

Sherri Mitchell, indigenous rights attorney, teacher and spiritual activist, will speak at Lincoln Theatre, Damariscotta, April 24, 7 pm.
Preparing for Sea Level Rise, Apr 24
Event - Posted - Tuesday, April 17, 2018 

90-minute multimedia interactive learning experience that explores the potential impact of sea level rise. At Gulf of Maine Research Institute, Portland, April 24, 6:30 pm.
Help wanted: Sierra Club Maine Chapter Director
Announcement - Monday, April 16, 2018 

The Chapter Director implements policies and programs adopted by the Sierra Club Maine Chapter Executive Committee.
DIY Adaptations & Home Energy Efficiency, Apr 23
Event - Posted - Monday, April 16, 2018 

Learn about do it yourself home weatherization projects and energy efficiency tips that will cut back on heating and energy bills and reduce your carbon footprint. At Curtis Library, Brunswick, April 23, 6:30 pm
The Changing Nature of the Maine Woods, Apr 23
Event - Posted - Monday, April 16, 2018 

Dr. Andrew Barton, UMaine Farmington, will discuss how Maine forests have changed over the past 10,000 years, their remarkable diversity across the state, and the challenges and possible solutions for the future. At Blue Hill Public Library, April 23, 7 pm. Sponsored by Blue Hill Heritage Trust.
The Birds Are Coming!, Apr 23
Event - Posted - Monday, April 16, 2018 

Veteran bird watcher Tom Hayward presents a look at what birds are returning to Maine this time of year and ways to make them feel welcome. At Auburn Public Library, April 23, 6 pm. Sponsored by Stanton Bird Club.
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News Items
Mud Season closure of carriage roads in Acadia National Park
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, April 12, 2018 

The carriage roads in Acadia National Park are closed indefinitely to all users until the roads dry out and become firm enough to prevent damage to their gravel surface. The recent wet weather and melting snow have softened the carriage roads and made them susceptible to damage.
Hall-Dale Middle School students start composting program
Kennebec Journal - Thursday, April 12, 2018 

Through a grant from the Natural Resources Council of Maine, Hall-Dale Middle School students are starting a composting program in their school cafeteria to reduce food waste, according to a news release from the council.
Push Back to Governor Lepage's Opposition To Wind Turbine Technology in Maine Gaining Support
WAGM-TV - Thursday, April 12, 2018 

Some Maine lawmakers aren't the only ones disagreeing with Governor Lepage's effort to curtail wind farm technology in Maine. In January, the governor issued an executive order placing a moratorium on permits for new commercial wind turbines in Maine and called for a commission to study turbines' impact on the environment, property values and tourism. For the past ten years, NMCC has offered a wind technology curriculum. Instructors say the classes continue to see growth, reflecting the tremendous boom for jobs in the industry. Studies show there's between 60-65 thousand wind technicians throughout the U.S. at this point and the anticipated growth over the next ten years is about 600 thousand technicians.
Conservation groups oppose development changes proposed for Maine woods
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, April 12, 2018 

Conservation groups in Maine on Wednesday urged state officials not to expand the distance limit that determines where subdivisions and commercial projects can be built in the state’s Unorganized Territory. The Land Use Planning Commission is considering a change in policy that would allow zoning changes to occur in unorganized areas of the state within at least 10 linear miles of the boundary of a designated “retail hub” community — an area that encompasses 1.8 million mostly undevelope d acres, not including land protected from development by conservation restrictions.
That seed-eating ground beetle may be your garden’s best friend
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, April 12, 2018 

It may lack the drama of a lion taking down an antelope on the Serengeti, but that small beetle scuttling through your garden is just as predatory when it comes to going after weed seeds. “Finding some of these bugs is not bad at all,” said Eric Sideman, organic crop specialist with the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association. “One of the founding principles of organic gardening is taking care of the soil and a spinoff of that is not harming the critters in the soil [because] they are all part of the ecosystem.”
Opinion: The plight of Small Town Maine
Piscataquis Observer - Thursday, April 12, 2018 

Rural Maine, Small Town Maine, and Farm Town Maine, are slowly decaying into their own landscape. No, this is not even the tale of little communities who cannot keep up with the changing times or technologies; but instead, is the story, to [sic] often told in Maine, of bureaucratic government’s abuse, corruption, and overreach and the cowardice of those, who should, to curtail it. It’s the story of Atkinson, Maine. The hay fields, farm lands, streams, and timber lands of this community has become ground zero for the subversive tactic of choice by leftist environmental groups. These groups and individuals have bought up large tracts of land and put them into programs which are tax free or nearly tax free. ~ Andy Torbett
Letter: Stop government from backpedaling on vehicle fuel-efficiency standards
Portland Press Herald - Thursday, April 12, 2018 

Maine is, unfortunately, the tailpipe of the USA, and we are the recipients of pollution blowing in from other states. We should be proud that Maine is one of 13 states that adopted stronger standards to reduce air pollution and increase fuel efficiency, following the lead of California. We are also one of nine states to adopt standards for zero-emissions vehicles. Don’t let aggressive corporate lobbyists and special-interest industries force us into backpedaling. You may not be able to buy a fuel-efficient vehicle, but you can write your U.S. senators and U.S. representatives and let your voice be heard. ~ Diane Schetky, M.D., Topsham
Don’t Miss: Love For Local Farmers
Other - Wednesday, April 11, 2018 

Planet Jackson Hole - Farm owners Erika Eschholz and Ken Michael wanted desperately to run a regenerative biodynamic farm in the Tetons but land prices skyrocketed. The couple couldn’t find a place. They booked flights and traveled through Maine and Vermont. They noticed agricultural land prices were affordable. They learned it was thanks to the Maine Farmland Trust, which buys up agricultural properties and places conservation easements on them. This lowers the price and protects the land in perpetuity for farming. “That really gave us hope that despite the climate of development prices that we could potentially find a piece of land and put a conservation easement on it,” Eschholz said.
South Portland council rejects oil companies’ request for pesticide waiver
Forecaster - Wednesday, April 11, 2018 

The City Council Tuesday rejected a request from five oil companies to delay implementation of the city’s pesticide ordinance, which starting next month will restrict the use of synthetic pesticides. The ordinance was adopted in September 2016 and will be fully enforceable city-wide May 1. Councilors also heard from a resident who wants the zoning ordinance amended to allow farm animals in some areas.
Democrats say it’s time for Pruitt to be out as EPA chief
Associated Press - Wednesday, April 11, 2018 

Senate Democrats are formally calling for Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt to resign or be fired, citing allegations of ethical lapses and questionable spending on travel and security. Meanwhile, the Republican-led House Oversight committee has expanded its ongoing review of Pruitt’s travel spending. President Trump has defended Pruitt.
L.L. Bean to court: Suit over return policy lacks footing, give it the boot
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, April 11, 2018 

L.L. Bean is asking a court to dismiss a lawsuit challenging the Freeport retailer’s new return policy. The plaintiff misunderstood the company's change in practices and has suffered no injury because of it, the Freeport retailer argues in a motion for dismissal.
Interior secretary: Maine will be ‘very happy’ with report on oil and gas drilling
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, April 11, 2018 

Secretary Ryan Zinke made the comments during a back-and-forth exchange with U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, who pointed out the strong bipartisan opposition to drilling off coastal Maine. Zinke’s comments appeared to suggest that the outer continental shelf off Maine’s coastline could be excluded from the next version of the Interior Department’s five-year plan for offshore drilling in the Atlantic.
Lobster shell disease up slightly in Maine
Associated Press - Wednesday, April 11, 2018 

A disease that disfigures lobsters has ticked up slightly in Maine in the last couple of years, but authorities and scientists say it’s not time to sound the alarm. The disease, often called epizootic shell disease, is a bacterial infection that makes lobsters impossible to sell as food, eating away at their shells and sometimes killing them.
Maine Taking Stricter Approach On Shellfish Toxins This Year
Associated Press - Wednesday, April 11, 2018 

Maine officials say they will take a more cautionary approach to managing toxic algae blooms this year in the hopes of avoiding shellfish recalls. Sudden blooms in recent years have forced the Maine Department of Marine Resources to close large sections of coast to shellfish harvesting and issue recalls of clams and mussels.
Pingree Questions Interior Secretary About Changing Scientific Reports Regarding Climate Change
Maine Public - Wednesday, April 11, 2018 

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke insists that his department is not changing scientific reports to edit out references to climate change. Zinke's response came under questioning by Maine Congressperson Chellie Pingree at a budget hearing Wednesday. “There is a pending report about the national parks and the impact of climate change on the national parks, and there has been reporting to say there has been some editing to take climate change out of the document.” Zinke says he has not seen the report, and that it is still in draft form. He did promise Pingree that he does not edit scientific reports in any way.
Maine scallop fishery continues to rebound
Associated Press - Wednesday, April 11, 2018 

Maine’s scallop fishery is reaching the end of a season that showed signs of further rebuilding. The fishery collapsed in the mid-2000s and has steadily rebuilt amid new management measures over the last few years.
Studies say Atlantic Ocean’s circulation hasn’t been this sluggish in 1,000 years
Washington Post - Wednesday, April 11, 2018 

The Atlantic Ocean circulation that carries warmth into the Northern Hemisphere’s high latitudes is slowing down because of climate change, a team of scientists asserted Wednesday, suggesting one of the most feared consequences is already coming to pass.
Column: Of bugs, disasters, balance in nature
Morning Sentinel - Wednesday, April 11, 2018 

For bugs natural disasters such as floods can be in the range of catastrophic. Researchers point out that global warming leads to an increase in severe weather events that in turn scramble ecological communities. We need stable ecosystems, we need healthy bug populations. ~ Dana Wilde
Time to look for more of Maine’s wild native brook trout
George Smith BDN Outdoor News Blog - Wednesday, April 11, 2018 

Maine Audubon is looking for anglers to help locate more of our very special native brook trout. Audubon is gearing up for their eight season of the Brook Trout Survey Project. While they have many returning volunteers for this important project, they could use more, which would allow them to survey more waters.
Column: Looking back at Dad’s letters
Kennebec Journal - Wednesday, April 11, 2018 

My dad, Ezra Smith, wrote lots of letters to the editor. I hunted for 53 years with Dad, and he gets credit for making me a conservationist. In a 1980 letter he wrote: “The Maine wildlife does indeed belong to all Maine people. It is time that all Maine people started paying for their protection. The sportsmen have supported the Fish and Wildlife Department all by themselves long enough.” ~ George Smith
Editorial: Our View: Wait for facts before setting Maine fishing policy
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, April 11, 2018 

A bad year for the already struggling North Atlantic right whale has everyone concerned with its survival eager to respond. But even with the clock ticking, it would be wrong to act out of panic, or just for the sake of taking action. That’s why we’re glad to see that Maine will receive a $700,000 federal grant from NOAA to investigate what role the lobster industry in the Gulf of Maine might be playing in the surge of deaths among the ocean behemoths. If lobstering is not killing right whales, then new rules on lobster fishing will do nothing to save them.
Letter: Don’t blow it with offshore wind
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, April 11, 2018 

This month, the Maine Public Utilities Commission will decide whether to reopen a draft term sheet it awarded to Maine Aqua Ventus in 2014 for a two-turbine offshore wind farm that would prove whether University of Maine’s VolturnUS floating concrete hull technology at full scale works. If the commission decides to reopen the term sheet, the project will not proceed, a clear message will be sent internationally that Maine is not open for business, and future investments will not be made in Maine. This would be a tremendous loss for all of us. ~ David T. Edson and CEO, James W. Sewall Co.
Researcher from Maine uncovers surprising things about squirrels
Other - Tuesday, April 10, 2018 

Mercury News - An analysis of fox squirrels on the campus of the University of California, Berkeley, by psychologist Mikel Delgado found that the rodents consider several variables when deciding whether to store food, or save it for later. Squirrels assess the characteristics of food they find, such as its perishability and nutritional value. They also consider the availability of food at that time and the presence or absence of competitors. Delgado, whose Ph.D. dissertation was on the complexity of squirrel behavior, is a Maine native who first attended the University of Southern Maine. She said has always been obsessed with animals and was interested in better understanding what they do instinctively in the wild.
Wheaton honored with legendary Maine guide award
Bangor Daily News - Tuesday, April 10, 2018 

Lance Wheaton of Forest City was honored for a lifetime spent guiding clients in the Maine woods on Saturday when he was given the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife’s Wiggie Robinson Legendary Maine Guide Award.
Government Ethics Officials Raise Red Flags On EPA Chief Scott Pruitt
Associated Press - Tuesday, April 10, 2018 

Republican Sen. Mike Rounds of South Dakota went on NBC's Meet the Press on Sunday and defended embattled EPA administrator Scott Pruitt. Republicans seem to be struggling with how to respond in the age of Trump — whether it's about Pruitt and ethics or the president and questions about his personal behavior. But ethics officials in government are starting to speak out and raise red flags. The Office of Government Ethics on Monday issued a strongly worded letter that lays out its case for why ethics matter. "Public trust demands that all employees act in the public's interest, and free from any actual or perceived conflicts when fulfilling governmental responsibilities entrusted to them," writes David Apol, acting director and general counsel of the office. What's more, "Agency heads in particular bear a heightened responsibility." In a weekend tweet, President Trump said, "Scott is doing a great job!"
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