Environment and Outdoors

Environmental news

Bill Trotter / Bangor Daily News

By Bill Trotter, Bangor Daily News

GOULDSBORO, Maine — A month after she donated 87,000 acres in northern Penobscot County to the National Park Service to create Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, philanthropist Roxanne Quimby has bought an oceanside campground near here that she plans to reopen.

E.R. Gundlach / oil-spill-info.com

It was 20 years ago Tuesday that the tanker Julie N crashed int the bridge connecting Portland and South Portland, spilling 180,000 gallons of oil into the Fore River in the worst oil spill in Maine’s history.

Courtesy Campobello Whale Rescue / Maine Public/file

The recent death of two right whales in the Gulf of Maine and the discovery of another entangled in fishing gear is bringing renewed attention to the plight of the endangered species.

Last Thursday, a right whale was spotted off Provincetown, Mass., swimming, but entangled in gear. Friday, a dead female whale was seen off Boothbay and towed to shore, where its death was determined to be from stress caused by entanglement. Saturday a dead whale was spotted off Mount Desert Rock, but could not be recovered.

Maine is one of 18 states that defended the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan in the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., Tuesday. Supporters of the plan say it’s a landmark move to impose limits on carbon pollution and help address climate change.

If the Clean Power Plan holds up in court, it would require power plants to reduce carbon emissions by 32 percent from 2005 levels. Maine Attorney General Janet Mills says upholding that standard is critical.

PORTLAND, Maine - Maine's moose hunt begins today, but with several hundred fewer permits issued. Nearly 49,000 hunters entered the lottery for 2,140 moose permits, 675 fewer than last year.

State moose biologist Lee Kantar says the state issued fewer permits this year because certain targets for the number of moose - such as three moose per square mile -- and the number of moose that can be killed to reach those targets, changes from year to year.

GORHAM, Maine — Federal investigators are looking into the death of a 43-foot-long endangered right whale that was found off the coast of Maine with fishing gear wrapped around her body.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says the adult female whale was found Friday near Boothbay with fishing gear ropes wrapped around her head, mouth, flippers and tail. She weighed about 45 tons.

The whale was towed to a Gorham farm. A necropsy was performed Sunday.

State wildlife officials say the deaths of three dozen juvenile herring gulls in Portland’s Deering Oaks Park over the past 3 weeks is not a cause for alarm.

Judy Camuso with the state Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife says die-offs like this are relatively common in wild birds, but most of the time occur in places away from the public. She says this type of mortality is typically seen in birds that nest in colonies, such as herring gulls.

Camuso says whatever is affecting the birds travels through the group.

Xerces Society / Via The Associated Press

Federal wildlife officials have made a formal recommendation that a bumble bee that was once quite common throughout eastern North America, including Maine, be listed as an endangered species.

Mark McCullough with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says the range of the rusty patched bumble bee has decreased by 90 percent in the past decade. He says threats to the bee and other pollinators include loss of habitat, diseases and parasites.

By Michael Casey, The Associated Press
CONCORD, N.H. - Private wells across the Northeastern United States are drying up in the face of a punishing drought that has lasted for much of the summer.

Scores of homeowners from Vermont to Connecticut with shallow wells have in the past month found themselves depending upon relatives and neighbors for bottled water to bathe, cook, and drink. Those with much deeper, underground wells have largely been spared.

A.J. Higgins / MPBN

It was just over three weeks ago that President Barack Obama designated 87,000 acres of remote Maine forestland as a national monument. But there are lots of details to work out: Recreational access, potential fees and timber harvesting were among the top concerns expressed by a crowd of more than 150 people who met Thursday evening in Stacyville to discuss the future of the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument.

Kathleen Masterson / Vermont Public Radio

Even as wind and solar energy have grown to nearly 10 percent of New England’s energy mix, they’re still not a reliable power source. Wind and sunshine can’t simply be turned on and off with a switch. 

AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine’s Drought Task Force says a severe drought continues in part of the state, with no relief in sight.

Patty Wight / MPBN

Open up a refrigerator and the chances of finding limp lettuce or soggy squash are pretty high. Here in the U.S., it’s likely that this food will find its way into the garbage — according to the USDA, at least 30 percent of the nation’s food supply is wasted.

A new program launched Wednesday by ecomaine aims to get that food out of the trash and give it a second life as compost or energy.

Campobello Whale Rescue

PORTLAND, Maine - Scientists say the ability of an endangered whale species to recover is jeopardized by increasing rates of entanglement in fishing gear and a resultant drop in birth rates.

The population of North Atlantic right whales has slowly crept up from about 300 in 1992 to about 500 in 2010. But a study in the journal Frontiers in Marine Science says the number of baby right whales born every year has steeply declined since 2010.

By Patrick Whittle, The Associated Press
PORTLAND, Maine - The black bear population in northern New England is growing, and wildlife managers say this year's hunt for the animals is especially important to control it.

The growing bear population has caused some confrontations between people and bears, especially during dry summers like this one. Dry weather prompts bears to search bird feeders and garbage cans for food.

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