July 24, 2016  
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Maine Environmental News
Announcement - Sunday, July 24, 2016 

Thanks for visiting Maine Environmental News, the most comprehensive online source available for links to Maine conservation and natural resource news and events. I have posted summaries and links to 40,000 news articles and announcements. I 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 my attention a few days after they are published. Follow us on Twitter @MaineEnviroNews. ~ Jym St. Pierre, RESTORE: The North Woods
Swan Island Family Field Day, Jul 30
Event - Posted - Saturday, July 23, 2016 

This is a day for the whole family to try out archery equipment, an ATV, a nature scavenger hunt, fishing, paddling, geocaching and more. At Swan Island in Merrymeeting Bay, July 30, 9 am – 4 pm, with ferry rides beginning at 7:30 am from Richmond. Reservations required.
Women and Our Woods workshop, Jul 30
Event - Posted - Saturday, July 23, 2016 

A day-long workshop for women woodland owners and foresters to learn about about forest management. At Hidden Valley Nature Center, Jefferson, July 30, fee.
Schoolhouse Supper, Jul 27
Event - Posted - Wednesday, July 20, 2016 

Join Andrew White and Katee Lafleur of High Ridge Farm for a casual high-summer feast of 100% farm-made tacos. At The Hub, Unity, July 27, 7 pm, $10. Sponsored by Maine Farmland Trust.
A New National Park for Maine, Jul 26
Event - Posted - Tuesday, July 19, 2016 

Eliza Donoghue of the Natural Resources Council of Maine will explain the proposal to create a National Park and National Recreation Area east of Baxter State Park. At Moore Community Center, Ellsworth, July 26, 7 pm. Hosted by Ellsworth Garden Club.
The Future of Solar in Maine, Jul 26
Event - Posted - Tuesday, July 19, 2016 

Hear a panel discuss what comes next for solar power in Maine. At Center for an Ecology-Based Economy, Norway, July 26, 6:30-8 pm.
Chewonki Bugmobile, Jul 25
Event - Posted - Monday, July 18, 2016 

Using models, costumes, and live specimens, Chewonki staff will explain the unique characteristics of four major groups of arthropods. Live "bug" species will introduce you to some of the fascinating adaptations essential for survival, such as mimicry, camouflage, armor, and the use of venom. Preschool through adult. At Curtis Library, Brunswick, July 25, 10:30 am and 12:30 pm, pre-register.
Allagash Wilderness Waterway 50th anniversary, Jul 23
Event - Posted - Saturday, July 16, 2016 

A day of festivities commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Allagash Wilderness Waterway. At Churchill Dam, July 23, free.
Swan Island tour, Jul 23
Event - Posted - Saturday, July 16, 2016 

Each tour will leave the Swan Island landing and travel across the Kennebec River for a 2-hour island tour. At Richmond, July 23, 11:15 am, 1:15 pm, 3:15 pm and 5:15 pm $5. Once back at the dock, join Richmond Days festivities.
Long Island Walk, Jul 23
Event - Posted - Saturday, July 16, 2016 

Explore Long Island's beautiful beaches, picturesque harbors, fresh water marsh, and 125 acre conservation area. July 23, 10:45 am - 6 pm, pre-register. Sponsored by Sierra Club Maine.
Healing and Repairing: Re-imagining conservation
Publication - Friday, July 15, 2016 

Maine is a place shaped by stories. The most important ones are about our relationships, the kind we have with places and the kind we have with each other. This essay by Peter Forbes explores dozens of efforts underway today to re-think the promise of conservation as bringing those two stories together: repairing and, perhaps, healing some of the divides between us while strengthening people’s connections to a healthy landscape.
The Future of Conservation, Jul 21
Event - Posted - Thursday, July 14, 2016 

More than a century of progress in conserving the jewels of Maine has created a legacy of lasting value. Yet significant elements of Maine’s iconic landscape remain at risk. How will we create a new conservation movement that seeks to conserve healthy landscapes while at the same time increasing the well-being of the human communities that depend on and shape the landscapes of which they are a part? Peter Forbes (Center for Whole Communities) and Tim Glidden (Maine Coast Heritage Trust) will discuss this transition. At College of the Atlantic, Bar Harbor, July 21, 5 pm.
Maine Agriculture in the Classroom Summer Teachers Institute, Aug 1-5
Announcement - Tuesday, July 12, 2016 

During a week-long workshop teachers will tour farms, aquaculture facilities, school agriculture programs, and Maine Ag based businesses. At University Maine at Machias, August 1–5.
Climate change and Acadia, Jul 19
Event - Posted - Tuesday, July 12, 2016 

Acadia National Park Science Coordinator Abe Miller-Rushing and College of the Atlantic ecology professor Chris Petersen will discuss the effects of climate change on Acadia National Park and the role citizen scientists can play in preparing for the future. At College of the Atlantic, July 19, 9 am.
Bills in Congress would cut crucial environmental programs
Action Alert - Monday, July 11, 2016 

Fossil Fuel Empires and their friends in Congress are trying to pass a narrow provision that jeopardizes the halt on new coal leases on public lands. ~ Friends of the Earth
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News Items
Everything you want to know about vernal pools and estuaries – in wonderful childrens’ books
George Smith BDN Outdoor News Blog - Sunday, July 17, 2016 

The Secret Pool (about vernal pools) and The Secret Bay (about estuaries) by Kimberly Ridley are cleverly written and beautifully illustrated books, with poetic stories that appeal to younger kids, factual sidebars for older kids, and additional information that is both interesting and informative.
Feed yourself more healthfully and protect the planet at the same time
Maine Sunday Telegram - Sunday, July 17, 2016 

Later this month, a group of Maine health professionals will gather for a meat- and dairy-free feast. On the menu? Everything from alternative proteins to vegan wine and beer. These doctors and nurses are concerned with the health of the planet. The Maine chapter of the nonprofit Physicians for Social Responsibility is joining other health care professionals around the world in focusing its attention on the public health risks of climate change. Rather than talk about the spread of mosquito-borne viruses or the impact of giant hurricanes, the group is using food as a way to engage the public in a difficult discussion about a complicated topic.
Kennebec Rail Trail offers retreat in state’s capital
Maine Sunday Telegram - Sunday, July 17, 2016 

The Kennebec Rail Trail makes locals and visitors stop and notice their surroundings. The trail, which stretches for 61/2 miles, largely runs behind woods within sight of the river. It’s always busy after work, regulars say, and often humming with walkers on the weekends.
Column: A bit of sanctuary on the river in Wells
Maine Sunday Telegram - Sunday, July 17, 2016 

Many of us love being at the ocean in July. But we also love exploring ponds and rivers in our canoes. Dilemma solved: Load your canoe and head to Wells to explore the Webhannet River. This tidal estuary is protected from the open Atlantic by the barrier beaches of Wells and Drakes Island, and is part of the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge. That means lots of birds. ~ Michael Perry
Letter: N.H. wilderness area shows value of federal protection
Portland Press Herald - Sunday, July 17, 2016 

My family owns a cabin in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, as do many Mainers who love hiking. Right behind our cabin, about 10 miles off Route 16, is the Sandwich Range Wilderness, designated by President Ronald Reagan in his last days in office. Because many in that part of New Hampshire are outdoors people – mushers, fishermen, snowmobilers, hunting guides, et al. – there were concerns that this protection would be destructive of access and use. (Similar fears are sometimes voiced about the proposed Maine Woods National Monument right now.) The exact opposite has proved to be true. Protection has made that area much more prosperous and secure. ~ Walden S. Morton, Cape Elizabeth
Letter: Maine must focus on clean, renewable energy
Maine Sunday Telegram - Sunday, July 17, 2016 

I was pleased to see that the University of Maine could be a front-runner in the wind industry going forward. Coupled with the Clean Power Plan, which sets the first federal limit on global warming pollution from power plants, actions like this are critical to avert the worst impacts of climate change. We need to be taking more steps like this. Next, I’d like to see Gov. LePage develop an approach for complying with the Clean Power Plan without delay. The governor’s recent actions to slow the growth of the solar industry in Maine are particularly disturbing. ~ Gwyneth Roberts, Cape Elizabeth
Column: Lovely weather for a Penobscot sleigh ride
Sun Journal - Saturday, July 16, 2016 

This is a true story. Only one name has been changed to avoid a civil action of libel against this publication and the teller of this story. We’ll call him Ahab, borrowing a handle from Mr. Melville’s classic novel about the brave men who went to sea in the whaling ships. ~ V. Paul Reynolds
Maine Audubon’s Loon Count draws 900 volunteers
Morning Sentinel - Saturday, July 16, 2016 

More than 900 volunteers participated in Maine Audubon’s 33rd annual Loon Count on Saturday, a statewide event in which lakes and ponds were surveyed for loons in a scientific and conservation effort. “The annual count has helped build support for laws that keep our lakes and loons healthy, including regulations around lead-free tackle, shoreline development, and invasive plants,” said Susan Gallo, director of the Maine Loon Project. “It’s also been a great way to get people outside, learning about where loons are, where they nest, and how easy it is to share a lake with a loon family.”
Invasive fish and poor water quality challenge central Maine fisheries biologists
George Smith's Outdoor News Blog - Saturday, July 16, 2016 

“Central Maine is the invasive species headquarters for the state.” That’s the sobering conclusion of DIF&W Fisheries Biologist Jason Seiders, one of the three biologists in Region B which includes 4000 square miles, 370 lakes and ponds, and 3500 miles of flowing water in central Maine. Jason presented a very interesting talk at the Maine Lakes Conservation Center in Belgrade Lakes on July 14. At the end, Jason summed things up, noting that “water quality is the biggest problem and challenge in this region,” – even bigger than invasive fish. Something to think about and work on.
Potato industry touts FDA label update, benefits of potassium
Bangor Daily News - Saturday, July 16, 2016 

For decades, Maine potato industry officials have lauded the nutritional benefits of the state’s signature crop, which has just 110 calories in a medium potato, along with zero fat and 620 milligrams of potassium if eaten with the skin. Now the Maine Potato Board is watching steps taken by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in late May, when the agency updated nutritional information for most packaged foods sold in the United States. One step taken was to add potassium and vitamin D to the new nutrition labels, a decision made because those two nutrients often are absent in the American diet.
Editorial: How Congress’ GMO labeling bill can focus the debate
Bangor Daily News - Saturday, July 16, 2016 

Congress has approved a bill that will require some disclosure of the use of genetically modified organisms in American food products. It’s far from a full victory for consumers’ right to know what is in their food. GMO labeling can be a way to alert consumers to foods produced with a heavy reliance on pesticides. Congress’ bill falls short because it allows food manufacturers to use alternatives to labels, such as QR codes, which few consumers would likely access. It also preempts labeling laws like Maine’s. President Barack Obama should veto the GMO labeling law that has emerged from Congress. Then, scientific evidence should guide the debate that unfolds.
Maine study finds lots of problems with rubber worms
George Smith BDN Outdoor News Blog - Saturday, July 16, 2016 

This is the final column in my five part series on the issues and problems surrounding the use of rubber worms for fishing. Today I’ll tell you about a study conducted by the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife that raised troubling questions about the use of rubber worms, and included lots of recommendations.
Growers find ways to weather this summer’s lack of rainfall
Portland Press Herald - Saturday, July 16, 2016 

According to the weekly U.S. Drought Monitor, over half the state is experiencing abnormally dry conditions, with an increasingly large percentage of York County seeing moderate or severe drought. The drought conditions may be perfect for tourists looking for sunny beach weather, but the lack of rain forces farmers and nursery operators to rely more heavily on irrigation systems to keep their crops growing. And it appears there won’t be relief any time soon.
In rebuttal: A threat to Baxter State Park
Sun Journal - Saturday, July 16, 2016 

Steve Wight's guest column (July 10) completely ignores the negative impact the proposed North Woods National Monument would have on Maine's Baxter State Park. A national monument or park adjacent to Baxter State Park could easily destroy a priceless gem owned by the people of Maine. If the proposed donors are serious about preserving and protecting their land, they could donate it to the state as a state forest, where hunting, fishing and timber harvesting would be allowed. ~ Fred Huntress Jr., Poland Spring
In rebuttal to In rebuttal
Maine Environmental News - Saturday, July 16, 2016 

Fred Huntress is a smart old-line forester and hardcore believer in well-managed working forests, but not a fan of public lands in Maine. He supports the constitutional right of private property owners to choose what to do with their land, unless he disagrees with it. And he ignores the reality that the EPI land is already out of the wood basket. No matter how much he wishes otherwise, it is not going to be another state forest where the LePage Administration can log for fun and profit. ~ Jym St. Pierre
'Shocking,' 'Plain Stupid': Theresa May Shuts Climate Change Office
Other - Friday, July 15, 2016 

Common Dreams - Less than a day after becoming the U.K.'s unelected leader, Prime Minister Theresa May closed the government's climate change office, a move instantly condemned as "shocking" and "plain stupid." May shuttered the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) on Thursday and moved responsibility for the environment to a new Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy. The decision comes the same week as the U.K. government's own advisers warned in a report that the nation was not ready for the inevitable consequences of climate change.
Governor LePage and Maine’s Environment: A Dismal Record
Natural Resources Council of Maine - Friday, July 15, 2016 

The Natural Resources Council of Maine produced this Special Report to compare the work that NRCM is doing to protect Maine’s natural resources with the LePage Administration’s record of undermining safeguards for our environment.
Bowdoin College shows up for food fight with best-selling author
Portland Press Herald - Friday, July 15, 2016 

Bowdoin College’s high-profile food fight with New Yorker commentator and best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell boiled over Friday when Bowdoin alum and Black Lives Matter leader DeRay McKesson blasted Gladwell on Twitter, calling his criticism “a sham.” Ella Driscoll, a senior from Massachusetts, said she simply didn’t understand what Gladwell was trying to say. “While we all recognize that paying for people’s education is important, comparing financial aid to the true cost of supporting local farmers and consuming quality food is like comparing Twinkies and kale,” Driscoll wrote.
Regrowing the Forest Economy
Other - Friday, July 15, 2016 

Land Trust Alliance - When the Kennebec Land Trust acquired the Curtis Homestead in Leeds the idea of cutting trees provoked a debate. In 2000 the Curtis family donated the land, the childhood home of former governor Kenneth Curtis, but they didn’t make a contribution to pay for its ongoing stewardship. Instead, the governor suggested they cut wood to cover the costs, like his dad did. At the time most of the land trust’s board was opposed to harvesting timber on their preserves. They were in business to conserve land, not to log it. Nat Bell, who lives near the property, suggested that they could do both — and they should go further. He approached the land trust with an idea to use the Curtis Homestead as a demonstration woodlot to educate students and the public about sustainable forestry.
Maine lawmakers split on bill to block funding of new monuments
Bangor Daily News - Friday, July 15, 2016 

The U.S. House passed legislation Thursday that would block federal funding for new national monuments, including one in Maine, though the president has threatened to veto the measure. President Barack Obama is said to be considering signing an executive orderthat would create a monument of about 87,500 acres east of Baxter State Park. U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, a Democrat representing the southern district, voted against it. U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin, a Republican from the northern district where the monument is proposed and a vocal critic of the plan, voted for it. It remains unclear how any congressional attempts to block funding for national monuments could affect the North Woods proposal. Quimby has offered a $20 million endowment, and another $20 million in fundraising, for monument operations.
Opinion: Belfast’s rise is a model to follow. It has attracted new people while honoring its heritage.
Bangor Daily News - Friday, July 15, 2016 

For the greater part of the 20th century, there was a saying around Waldo County: “If you want to go to hell fast, go to Belfast.” Since then, however, the city has changed.No longer is Belfast the punchline in an old Maine joke. In 2016, Belfast is booming, but not at the expense of its citizens or its identity. Instead, this change has brought out the best in its people, all while keeping its heritage close to heart. ~ William Hyland
Conservationists pray that Bishop's anti-monument bill languishes in Purgatory
Maine Environmental News - Friday, July 15, 2016 

After years of missed deadlines, U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT) finally introduced his long-delayed Public Lands Initiative yesterday. As expected, it would divest the American people of their public lands heritage. There is little chance the bill could be passed in the few days left in this Congress. Its purpose is to forestall President Obama from designating national monuments, including in Maine, by including a companion bill that would remove the president’s authority under the Antiquities Act to protect deserving landscapes.
Maine's U.S. Reps split vote on EPA funding cut
Bangor Daily News - Friday, July 15, 2016 

The U.S. House has passed a bill, which would provide $32.1 billion of fiscal 2017 funding for the Interior Department, Environmental Protection Agency, and various other environmental agencies. Supporters said it would “to stop unnecessary and damaging regulatory overreach” by the EPA. Opponents said its cut in funding for the EPA would degrade the agency’s “ability to protect human health and the health of our environment and to ensure clean air and clean water.” The vote was 231 yeas to 196 nays. Rep. Chellie Pingree gave a nay vote, and Rep. Bruce Poliquin gave a yea vote.
Turner egg farm plans cage-free future
Portland Press Herald - Friday, July 15, 2016 

The operator of New England’s largest egg-producing farm, located in Turner, said Friday it will convert its operation to cage-free, but only as its farms are expanded or older facilities are replaced. Hillandale Farm said that, in any expansion, it will convert to facilities where egg-laying chickens are no longer confined to cages, a practice that animal rights groups have labeled as cruel.
Maine's U.S. Reps split vote on regulating offshore oil wells
Bangor Daily News - Friday, July 15, 2016 

The U.S. House has passed an amendment sponsored by Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colorado, that would block funding for any threatened or endangered species listing that has not undergone a five-year review as required under the Endangered Species Act. Lamborn said the government has regularly failed to follow the five-year review requirement, with the result that many flourishing plant and animal species have not been removed from a threatened or endangered status. Amendment opponents blamed Congress for the failure to conduct five-year reviews because it has not provided the Fish and Wildlife Service with the necessary funding. The vote was 238 yeas to 190 nays. Rep. Chellie Pingree gave a nay vote, and Rep. Bruce Poliquin gave a yea vote.
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