March 23, 2017  
Announcements               
Press releases, events, publications released, etc. from Maine environmental organizations and agencies. Submit content.

2017 Maine Sustainability & Water Conference, Mar 30
Event - Posted - Thursday, March 23, 2017 

Keynote "Conserving Pools and Watersheds" by Aram Calhoun, Professor of Wetland Ecology, UMaine. At Augusta Civic Center, March 30, 7:30 am - 4 pm.
Northern Goshawks in the Northeast, Mar 30
Event - Posted - Thursday, March 23, 2017 

Speaker: David Brinker, Maryland Natural Heritage Program. At Ladd Recreation Center, Wayne, March 30, 7 pm. Sponsored by Kennebec Land Trust.
Grow Your Own Mushrooms, Mar 30
Event - Posted - Thursday, March 23, 2017 

Speaker: Ben Whatley of Whatley Farm. At Curtis Library, Brunswick, March 30, 6:30 pm.
Maine Environmental News
Announcement - Wednesday, March 22, 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
Backyard Bees, Mar 29
Event - Posted - Wednesday, March 22, 2017 

Beekeeper Mike Mcnally talks about keeping bees. At Curtis Library, Brunswick, March 29, 12 pm.
Planning a Garden for Preserving, Mar 29
Event - Posted - Wednesday, March 22, 2017 

Speaker: Kate McCarty of UMaine Cooperative Extension. At Curtis Library, Brunswick, March 29, 6:30 pm.
New interactive Androscoggin River Trail Guide
Publication - Tuesday, March 21, 2017 

The Androscoggin River Trail Guide is an interactive, mobile-friendly website describing launch site details, river mileages, points of interest, and other on-river information to help guide paddlers down the Androscoggin.
Inspired by Nature, Mar 28
Event - Posted - Tuesday, March 21, 2017 

Wildlife biologist and author of I Am Coyote, Geri will illustrate how nature inspires her. At Topsham Library, March 28, 6 pm. Sponsored by Cathance River Education Alliance.
Birding at Plum Island, Mar 25
Event - Posted - Saturday, March 18, 2017 

A field trip to find special winter birds. At Plum Island, MA, March 25, 7 am - 4 pm. Sponsored by Stanton Bird Club.
Trump's "America First Budget"
Publication - Thursday, March 16, 2017 

The Office of Management and Budget today released the Trump Administration's 2018 bare-bones budget outline.
Top "Public Lands Enemies" in Congress
Publication - Thursday, March 16, 2017 

A Center for Biological Diversity report analyzed 132 bills that were introduced in Congress from 2011 to 2016, and identified the lawmakers who authored and cosponsored the greatest number of these bills. The list that emerged includes 9 members of the U.S. House of Representatives and 6 U.S. senators from 8 states.
Conservation and Management of Woodcock, Waterfowl, and Grouse, Mar 23
Event - Posted - Thursday, March 16, 2017 

Speaker: Kelsey Sullivan, Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. At Ladd Recreation Center, Wayne, March 23, 7 pm. Sponsored by Kennebec Land Trust.
Perennial Vegetables for Maine, Mar 23
Event - Posted - Thursday, March 16, 2017 

Aaron Parker of Edgewood Nursery talks about perennial vegetables for Maine. At Curtis Library, Brunswick, March 23, 6:30 pm.
Don't let Trump make massive cuts to the EPA
Action Alert - Wednesday, March 15, 2017 

Trump aims to cut the EPA by more than 25%. Tell your Senators: Stop Trump from gutting our bedrock environmental protections.
Bats of the World, Mar 22
Event - Posted - Wednesday, March 15, 2017 

Bats comprise nearly one-quarter of the world’s approximately 4,000 mammal species, yet humans continue to fear and misunderstand them. Chewonki presentation for K to 11 years old. At Patten Library, Bath, March 22, 4 pm.
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News Items
Fat bikes allow northern cyclists to conquer winter snow
Associated Press - Friday, March 10, 2017 

Gone are the days when cyclists had to put away their bikes for the winter. These days, hard-core riders are staying outdoors year-round thanks to “fat bikes” that allow them to conquer winter’s worst instead of staying indoors on a stationary bike. The bikes, with comically large tires, have come into the mainstream in the past couple of years, after being introduced about a decade ago.
7 Maine Coast Guard facilities could face cuts under Trump
Bangor Daily News - Friday, March 10, 2017 

Under a proposal by President Donald Trump, the U.S. Coast Guard could endure substantial budget cuts — but what that might mean for the agency’s facilities in Maine is unknown. The Washington Post reported on Tuesday that Trump’s draft budget includes a 14 percent cut — about $1.3 billion — to the current $9.1 billion U.S. Coast Guard budget and 11 percent cuts to the Transportation Security Administration and Federal Emergency Management Agency budgets, all in order to fund the planned multibillion-dollar border wall.
Maine’s Delahanty among 46 Obama-appointed U.S. attorneys ousted by Trump
Bangor Daily News - Friday, March 10, 2017 

Maine’s Thomas Delahanty is among the remaining chief federal prosecutors appointed by former President Barack Obama who were asked to resign by President Donald Trump’s U.S. Justice Department on Friday. The Justice Department said Friday that U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has asked the Obama appointees who have not already resigned to do so “in order to ensure a uniform transition.”
Maine camp has women shooting guns, tracking wildlife and becoming best friends
Bangor Daily News - Friday, March 10, 2017 

The Becoming an Outdoors-Woman program has a history that spans more than 20 years in Maine, where BOW workshops are sponsored in the spring, fall and winter by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, and hosted by the University of Maine Bryant Pond 4-H Camp and Learning Center.
Editorial: NOAA budget cuts would have high cost for Maine
Portland Press Herald - Friday, March 10, 2017 

Though funding for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration amounts to less than one-half of 1 percent of discretionary federal spending, it pays outsize dividends for Maine. The people at the center of our state’s $700 million commercial fishing industry depend on NOAA’s weather forecasts, research and fisheries management services. A proposal to slash the agency’s budget is a short-sighted move that would save pennies now only to forfeit dollars later.
Letter: On new national monument, LePage ignores rights of land donor
Portland Press Herald - Friday, March 10, 2017 

Gov. LePage’s letter urged the president to undo the federal government’s designation of the Quimby property as a national monument. The governor offers no facts to support these claims. The letter also calls for return of the land within the monument to private ownership. Could he mean returning it to its most recent owner, Quimby? The governor’s letter presents a patently socialist position whereby the purported collective interests of “the people” trump the rights of a private property owner. Is Gov. LePage OK with taking a socialist position with respect to a property owner’s actions when that position aligns with the particular outcome he wants? ~ Mike Hubbard, Falmouth and Island Falls
Letter: Plastic bag ban bad
Bangor Daily News - Friday, March 10, 2017 

The Belfast City Council and the do-gooders are at it again working on a fee for plastic bags at some local businesses. They want us to pay 5 cents per bag when we purchase our groceries. Here is a possible scenario. To save money, I tell the bagger to put as many items as possible in one bag. But when I get outside the bag breaks, spilling my adult diapers, hemorrhoid cream and my laxative medicine on the ground for the world to see. Not a pretty sight. Apparently big government is not all we have to fear. Small government that is out of touch with us is a problem as well. ~ Richard F. Dinsmore, Belfast
Falmouth residents warned about possible bobcat sighting
Portland Press Herald - Thursday, March 9, 2017 

Falmouth police are warning residents about a reported sighting of a large cat resembling a bobcat or lynx, an animal that police say could be involved in the disappearance of a dog.
Metro expands service to Brunswick
Portland Press Herald - Thursday, March 9, 2017 

The Metro regional bus service is expanding its Breez commuter shuttle to Brunswick. Funding for a two-year pilot project was approved by the Brunswick Town Council by a 6 to 3 vote this week. The service, which already links downtown Portland to Falmouth, Yarmouth and Freeport, will add Brunswick stops this summer. The three-year pilot Breez service runs 10 round-trips five days a week from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. and a five round-trip schedule on Saturdays. One-way fares are $3, and the shuttles are outfitted with USB ports, wireless internet, overhead storage and bike racks.
No one knows who ‘owns’ rockweed in Maine
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, March 9, 2017 

Gordon Smith is a Portland attorney who represents several Washington County landowners upset that their shore-front properties have become targets for rockweed harvesters. They’ve made Acadian Seaplants Ltd. the focus of a lawsuit filed in Superior Court. The Nova Scotian biotech company is the largest independent manufacturer of marine plant products of its type in the world. Smith says that based on his reading of case law, it is clear to him that landowners control access in the inter-tidal zone of their property – a point he repeatedly made during arguments in court last week.
Strong Blueberry Harvests Mean Lower Prices and Less Money to Growers
Maine Public - Thursday, March 9, 2017 

As the growing season approaches, industry experts say Maine’s wild blueberry producers will likely have to slash production to keep the industry afloat. There’s been too much of a good thing, and prices are suffering.
LePage’s potato remarks puzzle industry experts
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, March 9, 2017 

At a Yarmouth town hall gathering Wednesday, Gov. Paul LePage said that the state has struggled to find investors for a potato flake and starch facility that could buy otherwise unmarketable spuds. Don Flannery, executive director of the Maine Potato Board, said he’s not aware of any companies eyeing Maine for a starch or other type of potato processing facility.
Who 'Owns' Rockweed in Maine?
Maine Public - Thursday, March 9, 2017 

For 15 years, shore-front property owners, rockweed cutters and Maine Department of Marine Resources regulators have attempted to balance the competing interests that have tended to define the state’s rockweed industry. Maine case law has produced mixed opinions on the question of who actually owns the olive-brown algae that is used in fertilizer and in some consumable products. But a Washington County Superior Court case could help settle what’s become a contentious rockweed debate.
EPA chief says Congress should weigh whether carbon dioxide is a pollutant
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, March 9, 2017 

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said on Thursday he is not convinced that carbon dioxide from human activity is the main driver of climate change and said he wants Congress to weigh in on whether CO2 is a harmful pollutant that should be regulated. Pruitt is a climate change skeptic who sued the Environmental Protection Agency he now leads more than a dozen times. Trump campaigned on a promise to roll back environmental regulations. Scientists immediately criticized Pruitt’s statement, saying it ignores a large body of evidence collected over decades that shows fossil fuel burning as the main factor in climate change.
Column: Embracing the unexpected pleasures of stupidity while birding
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, March 9, 2017 

I’ve come to enjoy the excitement of feeling stupid. Stupidity opens up a world of pleasant surprises. For instance, I just returned from vacationing in Hilton Head, South Carolina. Although there was little likelihood of finding a bird that was new to me, I had a wonderful week encountering old friends in new ways. Nothing surprised me more than the red-throated loons. ~ Bob Duchesne
Maine’s native bees a ‘very optimistic story’
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, March 9, 2017 

In late May, when it’s time to pollinate the state’s blueberry barrens, millions of tiny migrant workers will arrive on trucks from warmer southern climes and get right to work zooming from blossom to blossom in Down East Maine. While on the job, those migrant honeybees, which blueberry growers depend on to increase annual yields of the sweet blue fruit, are likely to brush wings with Maine’s own pollinator workforce of native bees. And while lots of people have read the dire headlines about the country’s dramatically declining honeybee population, they may not know that Maine’s native bees are largely bucking that trend, according to a University of Maine bee expert who is happy to share some positive buzz.
Maine’s 2016 Lobster Fishery Sets Records
Free Press - Thursday, March 9, 2017 

Maine’s commercially harvested marine resources topped $700 million in overall value in 2016, according to preliminary data from the Maine Department of Marine Resources. The total reflects an all-time high and an increase of nearly $100 million in value over 2015. For the second straight year, the largest single increase in value was in Maine’s lobster fishery. When factoring in bonuses paid to harvesters as reported by 14 of Maine’s 19 lobster co-ops, the overall landed value of Maine’s lobster fishery reached $547,249,010.
EPA Chief Scott Pruitt Questions Basic Facts About Climate Change
National Public Radio - Thursday, March 9, 2017 

President Trump's head of the Environmental Protection Agency says he does not believe that carbon dioxide is a major cause of global warming. "I would not agree that [CO2] is a primary contributor to the global warming that we see," Scott Pruitt said Thursday in an interview with CNBC's Joe Kernen. That statement is at odds with an overwhelming body of scientific evidence showing that humans are causing the climate to warm by releasing CO2 into the atmosphere.
Maine Lawmakers Put Off Decision on Baby Eel Lottery System
Associated Press - Thursday, March 9, 2017 

Maine lawmakers put off a vote on a proposal to create a lottery system for permits to fish for baby eels, which are used in the global sushi market. The Marine Resources Committee is considering creating such a system to replace fishermen who leave the elver fishery. The committee decided to table its vote on the issue on Wednesday. The proposal appears to have the support of state leaders and members of the industry.
Blog: Can Maine position itself as a 2017 tourism destination?
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, March 9, 2017 

The Governor’s Conference on Tourism will focus on important issues of workforce development and visitor experience. There are several issues that need to be considered for 2017. Here are some things I am watching and trying to plan for in the 2017 Maine tourism season.
Another Stab at the Bottle Bill
Free Press - Thursday, March 9, 2017 

On March 13, the Environment and Natural Resources Committee will consider yet another bill to weaken the bottle deposit law. LD 683, sponsored by Rep. Wayne Parry (R-Arundel), would phase out beverage containers 46 ounces and greater in capacity from the bottle redemption laws starting in December. The measure would also require manufacturers of certain refillable containers and distributors of certain nonrefillable containers to pay a [Summary].005 fee per beverage container delivered for sale or distribution during any month until 2022. All of the revenue from the fee would be deposited into the Maine Solid Waste Management Fund for use by the Maine Solid Waste Diversion Grant Program.
Wild Game Dinners, Sunday Hunting, Amish Hunters
Free Press - Thursday, March 9, 2017 

Under current law, military veterans with a service-connected disability can obtain a complimentary license to fish, trap and hunt. On March 16, the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee will consider a bill (LD 275) that would provide free hunting, trapping and fishing licenses to nonresident disabled veterans who hold hunting and fishing licenses in other states. For about the billionth time, IF&W will also consider yet another Sunday hunting bill. LD 424, sponsored by Rep. Jeffrey Pierce (R-Dresden), would allow hunting on five Sundays for each of the seasons for bear, moose, deer and wild turkey in coastal wildlife management areas, on public land, and on private land of 5 acres or more with the landowner’s permission. Senate President Mike Thibodeau (R-Waldo Cty.) is once again backing a measure (LD 426) to allow Amish hunters to wear red because their religion forbids them to wear blaze orange.
‘Gross negligence’: Patagonia founder, Maine native calls out LePage for anti-monument stance
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, March 9, 2017 

The founder of a California-based outdoor clothing retailer fighting to save a national monument in Utah has slammed Gov. Paul LePage as part of extending his company’s efforts to protect Maine’s national monument. Patagonia founder and Lisbon, Maine, native Yvon Chouinard mentions LePage in a Los Angeles Times op-ed piece as among “top executives” whose “gross negligence” in opposing the monuments threatens the future of the nation’s 640 million acres of federal public lands.
Maine’s North Woods Will Move to Canada Under Current Climate Models
Free Press - Thursday, March 9, 2017 

The iconic Maine north woods, which foresters refer to as the spruce/fir forest, is among the forest types most vulnerable to a changing climate, according to researchers at the U.S. Forest Service. That provides both opportunities and challenges, according to Maria Janowiak of the Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science. Some forest managers are focusing on increasing forest complexity. One thing is clear, said Janowiak: the more types of trees and associated plants, the more diverse their ages, the healthier the individual trees, and the more genetic variability in the soil — basically, the more complex a forest stand is — the more resilient it will be.
Maine Public Lands Back in the Spotlight
Free Press - Thursday, March 9, 2017 

A new state bill proposes how timber revenue from Maine Public Lands can be spent and requirements that must be met before timber harvesting can be increased, again. The bill favors timber over other uses and values. For example, LD 586 lacks language that would require a professional recreation manager to identify and implement recreation projects, does not promote outreach education, nor propose funding seasonal recreation staff on high-use properties with known problems. The governor’s proposed budget seeks to further neuter the fiscal autonomy and multiple-use approach of Maine Public Lands while setting up another attempt to untie the purse strings of the revenue account.
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