Environment and Outdoors

Environmental news

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."

Maine Public/file

President Donald Trump has signed an executive order to start rolling back a clean water rule finalized in 2015 to limit pollution in rivers, streams and wetlands — a rule that took years to put in place and involved extensive public and stakeholder input.

The rule was established under the Clean Water Act after two Supreme Court rulings created confusion about protection for streams and wetlands and left hundreds of pollution enforcement cases hanging. The rule was intended to provide clarity about which waters are protected.

Susan Sharon / Maine Public/file

LEWISTON, Maine - Six months after the creation of the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, a new nonprofit group has been formed to preserve and protect it. 

The Friends of Katahdin Woods and Waters is a private group with a 13-member board of directors.  Secretary Cathy Johnson says the initial goal is to attract more members of the public to volunteer in the monument and work on educational programs about it.

The record warmth in northern New England may not be over.
The National Weather Service says the temperature is projected to climb to a record-high 65 degrees on Wednesday in Concord, New Hampshire. In Portland, Maine, the temperature is projected to climb to 57 degrees, just 1 degree shy of the daily record.
The warmth continues from last week.
Concord set three records in a row from Thursday through Saturday. The period included the highest temperature ever recorded in Concord in February: 69 degrees.

AUGUSTA, Maine - For those who want to really know where their meat is coming from, there's a cooking class for you.
Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife has been partnering with Maine's community colleges to offer wild game cooking workshops.
Professional chefs lead the workshops, which let participants learn how to prepare wild game meat and sample the completed recipes.
State wildlife staff will be on hand to help answer questions.