Environment and Outdoors

Environmental news

PORTLAND, Maine - Environmental groups that want to save a marine monument created by former President Barack Obama in the ocean off of New England are asking to intervene in a lawsuit.
They say the nearly 5,000-square-mile monument area has "extraordinary scientific and ecological importance,'' including its rare deep-sea corals and endangered whales.

Barbara Cariddi / Maine Public

PORTLAND, Maine - Researchers at the University of Maine say hemlock trees will be at risk of accelerated decline as winters warm in the Northeast.

Bill Livingston is associate professor of forest resources at UMaine.  He says in northern New England,  cold winter weather has been able to keep the insect that causes hemlock decline in check.

"But because the model we had was something where we could vary the temperature, we warmed up winter temperatures by 2 degrees and found that, yes, that decline of hemlock then started creeping northward," Livingston says.

ELLSWORTH, Maine - Interstate fishing regulators are sending a plan to try to fix New England's shuttered shrimp fishery to the public for a series of June hearings.

The northern shrimp fishery has been shut down for more than three years because of a collapse in population. The regulatory Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission has been considering new ways to save the fishery for the shrimp, which were a popular winter seafood item in New England.

PORTLAND, Maine - South Portland and Scarborough will conduct pilot projects soon in collecting food waste for composting. 

South Portland's pilot will begin in May.  Travis Wagner, an Environmental Policy Professor at the University of Southern Maine, will be evaluating the program, "trying to figure out the percentage of people that participate on a weekly basis, and then trying to measure the amount of food waste that's actually collected."

Wagner also says he'll try to talk with participants to find out if there were any "barriers" to their participation.   

Bubblecuffer / Wikimedia Commons

For the first time in decades, the length of the U.S. ski season is shrinking. And as climate change curtails winter’s length, an industry transformation is under way: one expert says most ski mountains in southern New England could be out of business in 25 years unless they diversify their offerings. But ski areas in northern New England could benefit.

Wild Picker Law Would Bring Rules For Maine Foragers

Mar 27, 2017

PORTLAND, Maine - Get off my lawn, and out of my blueberry bush.
That's the message in a proposal before the Maine state house that would restrict foraging for wild, edible vegetables, fruits and funguses on private property.
Republican Sen. Thomas Saviello's proposal, as currently written, would prohibit the harvest of such food without written permission or a bill of sale from the owner of the property.

WASHINGTON - A federal judge has ordered the National Marine Fisheries Service to revisit a decision not to list the blueback herring as a threatened species.
In a ruling Saturday, a District of Columbia judge said officials failed to offer a rational connection between the facts and two essential conclusions, and also failed to consider other aspects of the issue.
Blueback herring live along the Atlantic coast. They are born in inland rivers, spend most of their adult lives at sea, then return to rivers each spring to spawn.

BAR HARBOR, Maine - Acadia National Park is warning hikers of closures of some popular trails because of peregrine falcons that have returned to nest.

Officials say the falcons are nesting at the Precipice, Jordan and Valley Cove cliffs.

That means the Jordan Cliffs Trail, Valley Cove Trail, Precipice Trail, and a part of the Orange & Black Path are closed to public entry until further notice.

Research has shown that nesting peregrine falcons have been known to temporarily abandon nests when there's human activity nearby, putting chicks at risk.

SACO, Maine - Officials in a Maine city are seeking public input on a proposal to ban all single-use plastic shopping bags.

The Portland Press Herald reports that a public hearing is set for Monday in Saco.

If the proposal is approved by the City Council in April, Saco will join the towns of York, Freeport and Kennebunk in banning single-use plastic bags altogether. Other communities have adopted fees for single-use plastic and paper shopping bags.

PORTLAND, Maine - The public will have a chance to comment on a plan to change the way New England's shuttered shrimp fishery is managed with an eye toward saving it.
 The regulatory Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission has been working on a plan to try to make the fishery more sustainable in the long term. It includes options such as changing the way the quota system is managed.
 An arm of the commission has voted to send the plan out for public comment.

Jennifer Mitchell / Maine Public

Tuesday’s storm left Maine with an additional 20 inches of snow in some areas and widespread power outages in others.

At Central Maine Power, spokeswoman Gail Rice says the combination of heavy, wet snow and powerful winds took its toll on the company’s power lines. She says outages peaked Tuesday night when 32,000 CMP customers reported power losses.

PORTLAND, Maine - Interstate fishing regulators are getting ready to vote on whether to send a plan about the future of the imperiled Maine shrimp fishery to the public.

Regulators shut down the fishery in 2013 amid declining populations of shrimp, and say environmental conditions off New England are poor for the recovery of the stock. Scientists say warming ocean temperature is one factor holding them back.

BUZZARDS BAY, Mass. - A plan to try to preserve southern New England's lobster fishery could come up for a vote in May.

The interstate Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission has been working on a plan to stave the decline of the lobster fishery in Connecticut, Rhode Island and southern Massachusetts. The population of lobsters has dwindled in those areas as waters have warmed, though they remain plentiful off of Maine and Canada.

PORTLAND, Maine - More than 2,000 customers in Maine and 5,000 customers in New Hampshire are without power as the states deal with high winds.
A wind advisory is in effect on Thursday for York and Cumberland counties in southern Maine. The National Weather Service in Gray says gusts of more than 50 mph have been felt around southern Maine and in New Hampshire.
Parts of New Hampshire are also under a wind advisory. The weather service says the two states have had reports of downed trees on roads and in utility wires.

PORTLAND, Maine - The danger of major river flooding this spring is low.  That's the conclusion today of the Maine River Flow Advisory Commission, which met Thursday.  

Maine Emergency Management Agency Director Bruce Fitzgerald co-chairs the group. "The main rivers, the Kennebec and the Penobscot River, seem to be ice-free and we've got a couple of small ice jams in localized areas," he says, "but I think we're looking pretty good there."