August 19, 2017  
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Maine Environmental News
Announcement - Saturday, August 19, 2017 

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 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
Bird Monitoring, Aug 26
Event - Posted - Saturday, August 19, 2017 

Join a marsh-wide survey of birds and help document all present species timed to catch the beginning of shorebird migration. At Scarborough Marsh, August 26, 7-10 am, free.
Head Harbor Passage Boat Trip, Aug 26
Event - Posted - Saturday, August 19, 2017 

A birding trip to Head Harbor Passage and the surrounding Canadian Islands. At Eastport, August 26, 10 am – 2 pm; Maine Audubon Members $60, Non-members $75.
Don’t let Trump censor climate science
Action Alert - Friday, August 18, 2017 

President Donald Trump may censor a comprehensive and alarming new report written by scientists from 13 federal agencies — research that confirms climate change is real, it’s caused by human activity and it’s already hurting people across the U.S. We deserve to know the truth about climate change — no matter how inconvenient it may be for Trump’s pro-fossil fuel agenda.
Life Happens Outside Festival, Aug 25-26
Event - Posted - Friday, August 18, 2017 

The Life Happens Outside Festival celebrates Maine's outdoors and its passionate outdoor community. Featuring 6 outdoor villages, 40+ vendors, interactive workshops, exhibits, gear demos, food, and live music. Free giveaways, competitions, outdoor presentations, and the ability to purchase outdoor gear directly from the brands. At Thompson's Point, Portland, August 25-26.
Life Happens Outside Festival, Aug 25-26
Event - Posted - Friday, August 18, 2017 

Celebrate active, outdoor lifestyles. At Thompson's Point, Portland, August 25 & 26. Sponsored by Teens to Trails.
Nature Detectives, Aug 24
Event - Posted - Thursday, August 17, 2017 

Join a scavenger hunt, make your own nature notebook, and learn how to use the tools of the trade. At Scarborough Marsh, Augoust 24, 1–2:30 pm; Maine Audubon Child Members $5, Child Non-members $7, pre-register.
Exploring Nature Through Art, Aug 22
Event - Posted - Tuesday, August 15, 2017 

Through various art forms children (age 6-10) will discover some of the secrets of Scarborough Marsh; August 22, 10:30 am – 12 pm; Maine Audubon Child Members $5, Child Non-members $7, pre-register.
Sierra Club Maine Climate Action Conference, Sep 16
Event - Posted - Tuesday, August 15, 2017 

The theme of this year's event is "Maine Community-Based Approaches to a Clean Energy Future and Climate Change Solutions." At University of Southern Maine Lewiston Campus, September 16.
Project WILD Educator Workshop, Aug 21
Event - Posted - Monday, August 14, 2017 

This 6-hour workshop introduces educators to Project WILD materials, activities, and strategies. At Bonny Eagle Middle School, Buxton, August 21, 9 am – 3 pm; Maine Audubon Members $23, Non-members $25.
Kayak Scarborough Marsh, Aug 20
Event - Posted - Sunday, August 13, 2017 

Discover the wildlife and plants of Scarborough Marsh as you paddle the Dunstan River. At Scarborough Marsh, August 20, 1–2:30 pm; Maine Audubon Members $13, Non-members $15, deduct $1.50 if you bring your own kayak, must be 16+.
Exploring Wabanaki/Maine History, Aug 20
Event - Posted - Sunday, August 13, 2017 

Maine-Wabanaki REACH offers an interactive learning experience, "Exploring Wabanaki/Maine History," a participatory presentation for adults and teens. At Reversing Falls Sanctuary, Brooksville, August 20, 4-6 pm.
Native Plants & Wildflower Symposium, Aug 29
Event - Posted - Saturday, August 12, 2017 

Includes talks, tours of two native-plant gardens, and a chance to view an herbarium. At McLaughlin Gardens and Homestead, South Paris, August 29, 8:30 am - 3:30 pm, $20 for members, $30 for non-members, registration deadline Aug 21.
Katahdin Woods & Waters 5k Relay, Aug 19
Event - Posted - Saturday, August 12, 2017 

This race in Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument is part of the 'Wild Maine Weekend' hosted by local area businesses. August 19.
Animals, Animals, Animals, Aug 19
Event - Posted - Saturday, August 12, 2017 

International wildlife and travel photographer Gary Harmatz will share his photographs and stories of the wonderful world of exotic and highly endangered wildlife. At Blue Hill Public Library, August 19, 10 am.
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News Items
Gulf of Maine lobster conservation efforts to be reviewed
WCSH-TV6 - Thursday, August 3, 2017 

This is peak season for eating Maine lobster. The industry has seen record catches and income in recent years. But researchers have said there appear to be fewer small, juvenile lobsters growing on the bottom of the inshore areas of the Gulf of Maine. That has raised concerns about the possibility of declining catches in the future.
‘Ultra-high performance’ home in Monmouth signals trend in efficiency living
Kennebec Journal - Thursday, August 3, 2017 

Standing inside the first home his company is building for someone else, Thom LaBrie said he hasn’t made it yet. “I can touch it, though,” LaBrie said. In April 2016, the inventor and his partner, Bob Bower, launched their concept for a building shell system at an open house in West Gardiner. Scores of people stopped by to tour the Ultra-High Performance Building Shell System LaBrie developed.
Unity College wins national grand prize in sustainability
Morning Sentinel - Thursday, August 3, 2017 

In the race to sustainability, a small college in central Maine is proving tough competition. Unity College won the grand prize for sustainability in July at the National Association of College and University Food Services conference in Nashville, Tennessee, beating out finalists Duke University and the University of Texas at Austin, among others.
Down East salmon restoration efforts celebrated
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, August 3, 2017 

“In the early 80s, all of the [salmon restoration] resources were going to the Bangor crowd,” said executive director of the Downeast Salmon Federation, recounting the attitude of the day. That’s when the Downeast Salmon Federation was formed, in hopes of restoring runs to rivers in Hancock and Washington counties.m“We call these runs the last best hope for Atlantic salmon,” Shaw says. “[These rivers] never lost their fish.”
Alter your fish and you’ll be in big trouble
George Smith BDN Outdoor News Blog - Thursday, August 3, 2017 

A new law governing fisheries included language that “prohibits anglers from altering fish, including smelts, from their natural state until after they have conducted a wet measure.” That’s the way the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife described their proposal, sponsored for the agency by Senator Scott Cyrway, Senate chair of the IFW Committee. Cyrway explained that “fishermen are cleaning smelts and cutting the heads off at the stream, in order to allow an increased limit of fish, and this is negatively impacting the smelt population.”
Blog: When Did We Stop Worrying About Population Growth?
Mark W. Anderson's Stirring the Pot Blog - Thursday, August 3, 2017 

The world’s population is estimated now to be over 7.5 billion people. And the human population continues to grow by over 80 million people a year. Part of the complacency about population growth is due to the fact that most estimates now suggest that we are adding a million or two fewer people to the size of humanity than we were when growth peaked a few years ago. But still, there are over 80 million more humans each and every year. This should be a source of concern and a matter for public policy in this country.
Newport fish passage, dam removal, river realignment to be celebrated Saturday
Morning Sentinel - Thursday, August 3, 2017 

It’s been about 15 years since the town of Newport realigned the Sebasticook River to match the flow the river took 100 years ago before the Main Street Dam and the spillway were built. Along the way, the town installed a fish ladder on the North Street Dam, removed the Main Street Dam and drained the old impoundment area to create a park it calls Riverwalk.
These Maine projects aim to cash in on Bay State hunger for clean energy
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, August 3, 2017 

It’s tough to pin a hard number on how many projects power companies have proposed for Maine in response to the Bay State’s call for energy that does not derive from fossil fuels. But it’s clear big plans are underway. In total, 14 companies bid projects located in or passing through Maine. Another proposed a power cable passing through Maine waters from New Brunswick to Plymouth, Massachusetts. Eleven of the proposals include new wind turbines — often combined with battery storage — and two include new solar farms.
‘Battling Mother Nature,’ climate change on Marginal Way
Seacoast Online - Thursday, August 3, 2017 

Climate change and sea level rise pose a looming threat to communities, businesses and residents throughout the Seacoast, and nowhere is it more evident than along Ogunquit’s picturesque one and a quarter mile walking path, Marginal Way. Jeanne Roche of the Marginal Way Preservation Fund and Rob Werner of the League of Conservation Voters led a guided hike last Friday morning along Marginal Way to highlight the impacts of climate change to coastal shorelines, and discuss how conservation efforts will be impacted by proposed budget cuts to EPA funding. Over 300,000 people walked Marginal Way from July through November last year.
Menhaden fish population in good shape
Associated Press - Thursday, August 3, 2017 

One of the most important little fish in the sea is in good shape. That’s the analysis of the regulatory Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, which reviewed the Atlantic menhaden population and found it remains healthy. The commission says the fish is not experiencing overfishing. Atlantic menhaden are harvested by fishermen for use as bait and to make fish oil. They travel in schools that can number in the thousands and are a key link in the ocean food chain. Fishermen have caught more than a billion pounds of menhaden every year since at least 1950. They are brought to shore all along the East Coast.
State’s digital mapping office accidentally defunded, administration says
Portland Press Herald - Thursday, August 3, 2017 

The state office that manages, updates and coordinates digital maps and other geospatial data and services lost its funding in the recent budget making process, leaving the LePage administration and lawmakers squabbling over who is at fault and scrambling to rectify the oversight. The Maine Office of Geographical Information Systems, or MEGIS, appears to have lost its funding as the result of a budget-making accident, threatening services widely used by towns, other state agencies, real estate professionals, developers, conservationists, foresters, planners and surveyors.
EPA reverses decision to delay Obama-era ozone rules
Associated Press - Thursday, August 3, 2017 

One day after getting sued by 15 states – including Maine – Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt reversed his earlier decision to delay implementation of Obama-era rules reducing emissions of smog-causing air pollutants. Pruitt presented the change as his agency being more responsive than past administrations to the needs of state environmental regulators. He made no mention of the legal challenge filed against his prior position in a federal appeals court.
Scientists plant medicated treats in Maine woods in effort to curtail raccoon rabies
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, August 3, 2017 

An annual federal rabies control effort is underway in northeastern Maine, with 351,000 doses of an oral vaccine spread through the woods, where they’ll hopefully be eaten by raccoons. The vaccine baits are coated with fishmeal, which attracts animals, and is either packaged in a 1-inch square cube or in a 2-inch plastic sachet. The program, first used in Maine in 2003, targets raccoon rabies and is run by Wildlife Services, a program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. Robin Dyer, state director and wildlife biologist for the USDA, said via email that the baits, which cost about $1 each, will be primarily spread using two King Air A90 airplanes.
Opinion: Marine monument vital for a healthy, bountiful ocean
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, August 3, 2017 

Most have likely heard that the Trump administration has ordered a review of the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument and that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke visited it in June. But we have another nearby monument hanging in the balance, this one off Maine’s shores — the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument. Its location makes it difficult to visit, but the underwater scene is no less impressive than iconic places on land. ~ Zack Klyver, head naturalist, Bar Harbor Whale Watch Co.
More Women Move Into Maine's Rough And Risky World Of Lobstering
Maine Public - Thursday, August 3, 2017 

It's 6 a.m. on a calm morning in Maine's Rockport Harbor, and Sadie Samuels is loading traps from her pickup truck onto her 28-foot lobster boat. The daughter of a lobsterman, Samuels has been on the water here for most of her 25 years. Samuels her sister are following in the wake of many women who got no glory. "Maine has a pretty big history of women being involved in the fishery, like in the big schooners," Samuels says. "There were many women who were the navigators of the boats and did all kinds of really awesome stuff. But you don't ever hear about it." With more women lobstering in Maine, the word seems to be getting out now. Port by port, and captain by captain.
The Future of Microgrids & Cleaner Locally Managed Power
Free Press - Thursday, August 3, 2017 

These days, microgrids are generally smaller-scale projects confined to university campuses, research facilities and military installations. But with improvements in smartgrid technology and the cost of distributed energy resources like solar panels, demand-response systems, smart appliances and battery storage devices plummeting, microgrids are starting to look like the wave of the future. Although renewable energy provided only 17 percent of electrical generation nationally in 2016, about two-thirds of the new generators installed in 2016 were powered by renewables, according to the U.S. Energy Information Agency.
Editorial: Actions to promote clean air may help Maine breathe easier
Portland Press Herald - Thursday, August 3, 2017 

Maine is the oldest state in the nation and has one of the highest rates of asthma, so when the Trump administration takes steps that imperil senior citizens and those with lung problems, Mainers have to push back. With that in mind, we’re glad to see Maine, through Attorney General Janet Mills, join a lawsuit, along with 14 other states and the District of Columbia, against the Environmental Protection Agency and its administrator, Scott Pruitt, for slowing down an initiative that would help Mainers breathe easier.
Letter: Plastic bags — why not tax them?
Sun Journal - Thursday, August 3, 2017 

Once created, plastic can take generations to break down. Some 479 million non-biodegradable plastic bags are trashed annually in Maine alone. They are detrimental to delicate ecosystems and have turn the picturesque Maine landscape into an eyesore. My solution? Every retailer that generates 2 percent or more from grocery products would be required to charge customers 5 cents per plastic bag. The fee won’t apply to farmers markets, pharmacies, or restaurants. The generated revenue will then be promptly redistributed among the city’s local schools. Several municipalities, including Portland, South Portland, York, Saco, Kennebunk and Brunswick have already adopted a five-cent tax on plastic bags. I hope Lewiston will follow suit. ~ Ryan Lizanecz, Portland
Atlantic salmon restoration steady but slow despite many efforts
Other - Wednesday, August 2, 2017 

Town Line - Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar, have long been the target of recreational and commercial fishing, and this, as well as habitat destruction, has reduced their numbers significantly. The species is the subject of conservation efforts in several countries. The Endangered Species Act currently places 11 Maine rivers on the list: the Kennebec, Androscoggin, Penobscot, Sheepscot, Ducktrap, Cove Brook, Pleasant, Narraguagus, Machias, East Machias and Dennys. The Penobscot is the anchor river for Atlantic salmon populations in the U.S. Much is being done to restore the Atlantic salmon populations in the North Atlantic region, but much more needs to be done.
Solar bill falls to LePage veto, leaving policy in regulators’ hands
Bangor Daily News - Wednesday, August 2, 2017 

The Maine House of Representatives narrowly sustained Gov. Paul LePage’s veto of a bill that would have placed solar power incentives into state law while regulators study a replacement. The bill also would have raised the cap on solar plants with shared ownership, or community solar, allowing 100 utility customers to share the net metering benefits, up from the current cap of 10. Maine’s Senate voted to override the veto 28-6. The House voted 88-48, with 14 members absent, falling three votes short of the two-thirds majority needed to enact the law over LePage’s objections.
Maine Solar Bill Fails
Associated Press - Wednesday, August 2, 2017 

One of the biggest fights this year has been over the solar bill, which saw extensive lobbying by utility companies, environmental groups and solar groups. The governor has long opposed solar policy that he says funnels above-market credits to rich solar owners. But supporters say the governor's move lets stand solar rules that the governor himself criticized. The bill to prevent those rules and call for reform received a 28-6 override vote in the Senate, but an 88-48 vote in the House fell just short of the two-thirds needed. "This rule will have a chilling effect on solar growth because there is no assurance that people will be able to sell excess power back to the grid," said Beth Ahearn, of Maine Conservation Voters. "This loss feels especially tough now, as we watch other states lead on clean energy legislation and partnerships in the face of federal backpedaling on climate action."
Portland to roll out recycling carts, replacing open bins
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, August 2, 2017 

The 25,000 carts will be distributed over most of the month and are intended to cut down litter, a problem with the open-top blue bins. Although city officials say public response has largely been positive, some property owners are worried about where to store the much larger containers, especially in the winter, when piles of snow fill what little outdoor space is available.
Legislature Sustains LePage’s Veto of Solar Power Bill
Maine Public - Wednesday, August 2, 2017 

The future of Maine’s residential solar power industry was thrown into doubt Wednesday after lawmakers upheld Gov. Paul LePage’s veto of a measure that supporters say aimed to stabilize the sector. The bill would have stalled a comparatively rapid phase-out of incentives small solar electricity generators get when they put excess energy back onto the power grid. Until recently it looked as if the Legislature was poised to override LePage’s veto — the Senate easily passed the override on a bipartisan vote. But recent lobbying by net-metering opponents, including Central Maine Power, succeeded in peeling off enough support in the House to make sure that the veto held.
Solar bill fades as House heeds CMP claims of higher electricity rates
Portland Press Herald - Wednesday, August 2, 2017 

In a hotly contested vote, the Maine Legislature heeded warnings about higher electricity rates on Wednesday and sustained a veto by Gov. Paul LePage of a bill that would have temporarily kept financial incentives for rooftop solar panels. The measure lost by three votes. While it easily passed in the Senate, 28 to 6, it failed in the House, 88-48. L.D. 1504 had won strong initial support in both chambers, but it needed to maintain a two-thirds margin to override the governor’s veto. But that support faded in the House, as Republicans allies of the governor cast doubt about the bill’s impact, and even its constitutionality.
LePage and utility lobbyists block solar legislation, again
Natural Resources Council of Maine - Wednesday, August 2, 2017 

While both the Maine Senate and House passed this year’s solar bill with a greater than 2/3 super majority, several legislators failed to uphold their previous support and today voted to sustain Governor LePage’s veto of the measure, so the bill failed to pass. The bill was a significant compromise, crafted almost exclusively by Republican lawmakers, and falling far short of the comprehensive solar bill considered in 2016. But the outcome was the same: the Governor’s baseless ideology, aided by false claims from utilities, prevented Maine from moving forward with clean solar energy, and from reaping the jobs, clean air, and economic benefits that go with it.
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