March 24, 2019  
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Maine Environmental News
Action Alert - Sunday, March 24, 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
Recreational Trails Program workshops
Announcement - Sunday, March 24, 2019 

The Recreational Trails Program provides up to 80% funding assistance for acquisition and or development of all kinds of recreational trails. Informational workshops will be held in 6 locations across Maine in April:
• April 1, 1-4 pm - Bethel, Mahoosuc Land Trust Offices
• April 2, 1-4 pm - Standish Municipal Center
• April 3, 1-4 pm - Ellsworth City Hall
• April 4, 9 am – 12 pm - Wiscasset Community Center
• April 5, 1-4 pm - Greenville Town Office
• April 9, 6-9 pm - Caribou Wellness Center
Maine State Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan Survey
Action Alert - Saturday, March 23, 2019 

Every five years, Maine submits a SCORP plan to the National Park Service to meet planning requirements for the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Since its inception in 1966, LWCF has injected $43 million into non-federal projects in Maine. The Maine Bureau of Parks & Lands wants to know what outdoors activities you engage in, and what you see as priorities for the future. To make your voice heard, take the Maine SCORP Survey: https://mescorpsurvey.com/
Earth Hour, Mar 30
Action Alert - Saturday, March 23, 2019 

Join millions around the world to turn off the lights and speak up about why nature matters. March 30, 8:30-9:30 pm.
Hermit Island Hike, Mar 30
Event - Posted - Saturday, March 23, 2019 

Hike a mix of sandy beaches, cliffs, shore trails, woods walk and camp roads. At Hermit Island Campground, Phippsburg, March 30. Sponsored by Appalachian Mountain Club.
MCHT looking for volunteers to mentor kids
Announcement - Friday, March 22, 2019 

Maine Coast Heritage Trust invites the public to volunteer orientation for individuals interested in mentoring families participating in a Kids Can Grow program at MCHT's Erickson Fields Preserve in Rockport. The orientation will be at MCHT's Aldermen Farm, Rockport, April 6, 4-5 pm.
Managing Forests for Bird Habitat, Mar 29
Event - Posted - Friday, March 22, 2019 

Dr. Sally Stockwell, Maine Audubon conservation director, will speak about “Managing Forests for Bird Habitat.” At Keith Anderson Community House, Orono, March 29, 6:30 p.m. Sponsored by Orono Land Trust.
Interactions Among Plants & Insects, March 28
Event - Posted - Thursday, March 21, 2019 

Maine Master Naturalist Roger Rittmaster presents. At Ladd Center, Wayne, March 28, 7 pm. Sponsored by Kennebec Land Trust.
Solo thru-paddling the Northern Forest Canoe Trail, Mar 28
Event - Posted - Thursday, March 21, 2019 

Laurie Chandler describes her 2015 solo thru-paddle of the 740-mile Northern Forest Canoe Trail. At Curtis Library, Brunswick, March 28, 7 pm. Sponsored by Appalachian Mountain Club.
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.
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
Just Eat It: A Food Waste Story, Mar 26
Event - Posted - Tuesday, March 19, 2019 

Film followed by a discussion led by Brie Berry, a Ph.D. candidate in anthropology and environmental policy. Part of a Human Dimensions of Climate Change film series. At Fogler Library, UMaine, Orono, March 26, 6 pm.
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.
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News Items
Augusta residents to decide whether to require plastic bag fee
Kennebec Journal - Friday, March 22, 2019 

City councilors had been considering a proposal to require stores to charge customers a 5-cents-per-bag fee for plastic shopping bags to carry their items out of the store. Instead, however, they opted to let voters decide on the proposal meant to discourage the use of plastic bags in Augusta. Councilors voted 4-2 Thursday night to approve the proposed bag fee only if residents also vote in favor of it in a referendum vote in November.
Maine CDC Trying To Identify Individuals Exposed To Rabid Bat
Maine Public - Friday, March 22, 2019 

The Maine Center for Disease Control (CDC) is trying to identify individuals who may have been exposed to rabies last weekend in Bangor through the handling a rabid bat. State epidemiologist Dr. Siiri Bennett says the live bat was found in the vicinity of Shaw House, a youth shelter. "We know that it was passed from hand to hand, and apparently, it was passed around for about a 24-hour period," she says. The bat was taken to a lab and tested positive for rabies.
How Maine Farmers Get By When They Find Themselves Buried In Snow
Maine Public - Friday, March 22, 2019 

Do you ever wonder what farmers are doing when it's 20 degrees below zero and the snow is as high as an elephant's eye? It can be hard for farmers to make ends meet in the winter, but, even when the fields are buried in snow, the work never stops. Erica Fitzpatrick, of Fitzpatrick-Peabody Farm in Aroostook County, says, "It's a twelve month food cycle. These buyers need product year round." It’s not as simple as plant something in the spring, harvest it in the fall, then kick back and put your feet up all winter. “But it's great,” says Fitzpatrick "because it's a different set of tasks and challenges we're working on."
Maine DEP to require testing of sludge for ‘forever chemicals’
Portland Press Herald - Friday, March 22, 2019 

State environmental regulators announced Friday that all sludge will have to be tested for the presence of an industrial chemical before being used as fertilizer or applied to land. The Maine Department of Environmental Protection announced the new testing requirement in response to growing concerns about contamination from PFAS, a group of chemicals widely used to create non-stick coatings on cookware, food packaging and fabrics as well as in firefighting foam. An Arundel dairy farmer has also blamed PFAS contamination on his farm on the treated municipal sludge he used to fertilize his hay fields for years.
As Elver Season Opens, Fishermen Hope For Year Free Of Poaching, Shutdowns
Associated Press - Friday, March 22, 2019 

Maine fishermen are taking to rivers and streams in the state to fish for baby eels in a high-stakes season they hope isn't interrupted by poaching concerns as it was a year ago. Fishermen in Maine use nets to harvest baby eels, called elvers, to feed demand from Asian aquaculture companies, who use them as seed stock. They are one of the most valuable fisheries in the country on a per-pound basis, and were worth a record of more than $2,300 per pound last year. The elver season began Friday. Last year's season was shut down two weeks early by state regulators after investigators found illegal sales had caused Maine to blow past its quota for the eels. New controls on the fishery are expected to clamp down on clandestine sales.
Maine DIF&W commissioner names communications chief
Bangor Daily News - Friday, March 22, 2019 

Judy Camuso, the commissioner of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, has named a longtime department employee to serve as its communications director. Mark Latti first joined the department in 1998 and oversaw media relations for a decade, until leaving for a job at the Maine Department of Transportation in 2008. He returned to the DIF&W in 2011, directed the landowner relations program for two years and then assumed a position overseeing communications for the department’s Bureau of Resource Management. In his new position, he will oversee all media relations for the DIF&W.
East Coast Greenway: Hike or bike your way from Maine to Florida
USA Today - Friday, March 22, 2019 

Since 1991, the East Coast Greenway Alliance has been piecing together a 3,000-mile route that connects existing biking and walking paths and will eventually create a linear park from the Canadian border in Maine to Florida’s southernmost point. Favorite stretches in Maine include the Down East Sunrise Trail, 85 miles, built on the old Calais Branch railroad corridor through Hancock and Washington counties. It is the longest continuous stretch of the greenway to date. The 20-mile Eastern Trail is also a favorite just south of Portland.
Young exhibitors leave their marks on Eastern Maine Sportsmen’s show
Bangor Daily News - Friday, March 22, 2019 

Last weekend, I had the chance to talk with a few of the younger exhibitors at the Eastern Maine Sportsmen’s Show, each of whom helped remind me why the show is so much fun. Eri Martin, a student at Unity College was displaying some of the products he produces through his business, Mountain Adventure Baskets. Martin makes traditional pack baskets. At the Annika Rod & Fly booth, an impressive young fly tier, 14-year-old Noah Tibbetts, turned out a steady supply of “maple syrup” and “spunky” flies. He was selling those flies to benefit the Children’s Miracle Network. He has raised more than $40,000 during the past several years.
Column: People don’t become good at bird identification by being right all the time
Bangor Daily News - Friday, March 22, 2019 

People don’t become good at bird identification by being right all the time. They get better by being wrong, and then remembering the mistake. There’s nothing like a good mistake to sear a particular field mark into your brain. ~ Bob Duchesne
Why more offices are taking up an ecological approach to design
Bangor Metro - Friday, March 22, 2019 

The Nature Conservancy state office in Brunswick might look like it’s right at home in Maine, but there’s a well-designed reason for its seamless integration into the landscape. After all, the curvilinear walls are made from yellow birch sustainably harvested from the St. John River Valley, and the carpets are made from recycled fishing nets. In other words, the Brunswick Nature Conservancy lives and breathes Maine. Buildings that are consciously designed to be a product of their place are known as biophilic, a practice that is becoming increasingly common in architecture.
Too Many Deer, Part III
Sun Journal - Friday, March 22, 2019 

Maine is at the northern range of whitetails. Originally, most of Maine wasn’t whitetail habitat. Just moose and caribou. Maine has frigid winters and cuts the bejesus out of deer yards. Weather and habitat have thusfar prevented overpopulation. But with global warming it may be coming. ~ Ted Williams
Opinion: A different view of Auburn’s zone
Sun Journal - Friday, March 22, 2019 

In a guest column Jason Levesque accused all of the people in Auburn’s agricultural zone, including myself, of living off the rest while allowing our land to just waste away. It was frightening to read the words of the mayor. What kind of person believes in a terrifyingly dystopian future in which farmers are lazy, mooching enemies of the people? What kind of person believes that our precious farmland is better beneath the enormous footprint of a McMansion? I invite Levesque to come visit our farm. We would like to show him around and talk about how important open space, healthy woods and thriving ecosystems are to sustainable farming. ~ Bronte Roberts, Auburn
Letter: Public utility can’t be any worse than CMP
Portland Press Herald - Friday, March 22, 2019 

CMP has demonstrated complete incompetence in the one area in which the private sector is supposed to have an advantage over government – customer service. The absurdity of their billing problems is unmatched by anything I’ve seen – and I’ve paid electric bills in five states and three countries. Last month, CMP charged me for about 50 percent more electricity than any of my previous bills using an “estimate” that was contradicted by CMP’s own online data. Beyond poor customer service, they have distorted our public policies toward renewable energy; and manage the grid for profits instead of reliability, efficiency and sustainability. It shouldn’t be hard for Maine to do better than allow ourselves to get swindled time and again by this profit-over-everything-else company. ~ Bill Savedoff, Brunswick
Letter: Clean windshield shows that insects are absent
Portland Press Herald - Friday, March 22, 2019 

Re: “Our View: Insect population’s rapid decline alarming” (March 18): I can corroborate that I have seen a vast disappearance of insects, and the evidence is my windshield in summertime.For years I have driven an hour each way to Fryeburg on Route 113, which is a rural road, and I return at dusk, so each summer my windshield would just be a mash of squashed bugs. For the last two summers, though, 2017 and 2018, there have been hardly any insect bodies on my windshield at all. Poof! Just gone. Where did they go? ~ Mallory Hattie, Scarborough
Letter: Mills willing to sell out Maine for very little
Portland Press Herald - Friday, March 22, 2019 

How sad and disgusting to see that the governor of Maine is willing to sell Maine’s heart and soul for a lousy $6.5 million per year for 40 years. With inflation, what will that money buy in 10 years, let alone 40 years from now? Very little! Furthermore, the money will probably end up in the General Fund and used for whatever – probably to balance their overspent budget. Obviously, our governor is a typical politician. Once in office, they turn 180 degrees and forget what they said on the campaign trail. ~ Craig Elliott, Bristol
How the Green New Deal Is Forcing Politicians to Finally Address Climate Change
TIME - Thursday, March 21, 2019 

It’s not just Democrats who suddenly want to focus on climate change. President Trump seized the opportunity to double down on his denial of climate science, while other Republicans began recalibrating their messaging. Scientists have understood for decades that climate change is happening and that humans are causing it. According to polls, more than 70% of Americans now understand that climate change is taking place, and two-thirds of Republicans believe their party is “outside the mainstream” on the issue. Into this new political reality came the Green New Deal–equal parts policy proposal and battle cry. The outcome of the debate will go a long way toward determining if humanity can avoid the most catastrophic consequences of a rapidly warming world.
Bates professor: The state of Lake Auburn depends on a much larger watershed
Sun Journal - Thursday, March 21, 2019 

On Thursday, Bates College professor Holly Ewing attempted to unpack the complicated — and now political — issue playing out at Lake Auburn during a Great Falls Forum titled “History and Mysteries at Lake Auburn.” In the most-basic terms, she told the audience more nutrients, on which algae thrive, are entering the lake through stormwater runoff carrying fertilizer or fecal matter from animals or leaky septic systems. Ewing has studied the lake with her students since 2008. Ewing said, “It’s easy to do a treatment of the lake, but it’s much more difficult to control what happens in the watershed.”
Massive Exxon Valdez oil spill marred Alaska waters, beaches, wildlife 30 years ago
Associated Press - Thursday, March 21, 2019 

This month marks 30 years since an Exxon Shipping Co. tanker ran aground outside the town of Valdez, Alaska, spewing millions of gallons of thick, toxic crude oil into the pristine Prince William Sound. The world watched the aftermath unfold: scores of herring, sea otters and birds soaked in oil, and hundreds of miles of shoreline polluted. Commercial fishermen in the area saw their careers hit bottom. The disaster was, at the time, the largest oil spill in U.S. history. Only the 2010 Deep Water Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico has eclipsed it. [Ed: In 1990, Majority Leader U.S. Senator George Mitchell (D-Maine) shepherded through Congress the Oil Pollution Act, which established a fund to deal with catastrophic oil spills. It was based on the Maine Coastal Conveyance of Petroleum Act passed in 1970 to deal with oil spills along the Maine coast.]
Energy Committee Co-Chair Introduces Bill That Would Let Affected Mainers Vote On CMP Project
Maine Public - Thursday, March 21, 2019 

A legislative effort emerged Thursday to put Central Maine Power's proposed billion-dollar transmission line on hold. State Rep. Seth Berry, a Bowdoinham Democrat, says that state regulators should hit the pause button while the Legislature considers several measures, including one he is introducing, that could affect the controversial project. Berry co-chairs the Legislature's Energy Committee. He and a bipartisan group of lawmakers are introducing a bill that would strengthen standards that regulators use when considering large-scale transmission projects, and require that the majority of residents in every host municipality vote in support.
Waterville plastic bag ban opponents file more specific argument in appeal
Morning Sentinel - Thursday, March 21, 2019 

Opponents of a plastic bag ban have fulfilled a request by the city to submit more specific information about why they are challenging 75 Colby College students who cast ballots for the ban in the November election. Their request says they suspect the challenged voters swore an oath of residency and submitted no other proof of residency to confirm the validity of their oath. The challengers initially took the voter issue to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, which dismissed the case.
Biologists want to issue more moose hunting permits for 2019 hunt
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, March 21, 2019 

Maine wildlife biologists on Thursday proposed a 12.8 percent increase in the number of moose permits for the coming seasons. If approved, the number of permitted hunters would jump from 2,500 to 2,820, according to a Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife spokesman. The modern moose hunt in Maine began in 1980 as a one-year experimental hunt. After a year to assess that season, it was staged again in 1982 and has been held annually since.
Maine Legislature Approves Bill To Repeal Gross Metering
Other - Thursday, March 21, 2019 

Solar Industry - The Maine legislature has approved a bill that would eliminate the state’s controversial “gross metering” rule for solar. The legislation, L.D.91, was introduced in January by State Rep. Seth Berry, R-Maine, to repeal a fee for solar customers that was enacted under the administration of Maine’s previous governor, Paul LePage. In the face of criticism from the business and industrial sectors, the Maine Public Utilities Commission suspended gross metering for those sectors. Now, L.D.91 would terminate the fee for residential solar systems.
Maine Lawmakers Consider Local Version Of Green New Deal
Maine Public - Thursday, March 21, 2019 

Maine lawmakers and the Sierra Club are beginning their push for a local version of the Green New Deal, currently under consideration in Congress. The state and federal proposals share the same name and many of the same goals: namely tackling climate change while also transitioning the economy to create manufacturing jobs in the renewable energy sector. But the proposals differ significantly on how to get there. The federal bill is a non-binding resolution. It calls on the federal government to take specific steps, but lacks the force of law compelling the government to do so. Conversely, the Maine bill creates a task force to come up with a local Green New Deal.
ReEnergy to tear down its shuttered Fort Fairfield biomass plant
Bangor Daily News - Thursday, March 21, 2019 

The company that operated the recently-closed Ashland and Fort Fairfield biomass plants is planning to demolish the Fort Fairfield facility. New York-based ReEnergy is seeking to demolish the Fort Fairfield biomass plant that closed last November, in an effort to make the property suitable for other uses, ReEnergy communications director Sarah Boggess said. ReEnergy also is closing its Ashland biomass plant in April, leaving Aroostook County’s forestry sector without biomass plants and without a market for low-grade mill and logging residues.
State biologists propose increasing moose permits by 11 percent to 2,820
Portland Press Herald - Thursday, March 21, 2019 

For the second straight year state biologists propose increasing the number of moose permits in the fall hunt after a four-year stretch that saw the number of permits slashed 49 percent, largely because of the winter tick parasite. At the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Advisory Council meeting Thursday biologists proposed increasing moose permits 11 percent to 2,820 – with most additional permits being alloted in what biologists are now calling the state’s “core moose habitat” in northern Maine.
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