Environment and Outdoors

Environmental news

Steven Senne / Associated Press

AUGUSTA, Maine - Biologists want Mainers to report if they see brown rabbits this winter.
Fewer than 300 New England cottontail rabbits live in Maine, and they are an endangered species in the state.
Each winter, biologists from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife partner up with conservation groups to survey sites known to have cottontails.
The rabbits look similar to snowshoe hares most of the year, but remain brown in winter when the hares turn white.

Susan Sharon / Maine Public

Heavy, wet snow that fell over much of southern Maine Wednesday night is keeping Central Maine Power crews busy Thursday afternoon.

CMP spokesperson Gail Rice says there are 85 crews working to restore power to trouble spots in parts of York, Cumberland and Androscoggin counties.

“They have made some progress, however the heavy snow load on trees is causing a lot of new outages and it seems kind of one step forward, one step back,” she says.

ERIC KILBY / Flickr/Creative Commons

A federal judge in Bangor has thrown out a lawsuit claiming that state and federal wildlife officials were failing to protect the threatened Canada Lynx as required by the Endangered Species Act.

Canada Lynx are abundant north of the border, but fewer than 1,000 are estimated to survive in Maine. Over the last several years state and federal wildlife regulators have set and adjusted new rules that permit a limited number of lynx to be accidentally killed or injured in traps set for other animals, such as fox or bobcats.

PORTLAND, Maine - Another round of winter weather is poised to clobber Maine.

The National Weather Service says the latest snowfall will begin late Wednesday morning. Meteorologist Tom Hawley says some parts of the state could get hit with up to a foot of snow.

He says there will be lesser tallies to the south.

This will be the third storm in a little more than a week.

Hawley says Portland already received 31 inches in a seven-day stretch. That's about half the amount recorded in a full winter season in Portland.

Mal Leary / Maine Public

Many schools remain closed or delayed today after a ferocious winter storm blew into Maine Sunday night, shutting down most of the state for all or part of the day Monday.

Gulf of Maine Deep Coral Science Team 2014 / NURTEC-UCONN, NOAA Fisheries, UMAINE

PORTSMOUTH, N.H. - Federal fishing regulators want input from fishermen about how they can protect deep-sea coral off of New England while limiting impacts on commercial fishing.

The New England Fishery Management Council is holding a pair of meetings on the subject in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. The council says it is looking for feedback about fishing activity that takes place within proposed coral protection zones.

The council says it is also looking for help in refining the boundaries of its management areas so it can protect corals while still allowing fishing.

Powerful Storm Hits Maine

Feb 10, 2017
Susan Sharon / Maine Public

A storm brought moderate to heavy snow, strong winds and rugged driving to Maine Thursday, especially to coastal sections.

PORTLAND, Maine - More snow is on the way for Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont.
The National Weather Service says a storm that's moving across the region on Tuesday will bring a messy mix to the coast and up to 8 or 9 inches of snow for the mountains of Maine and New Hampshire.
Hundreds of school cancelations were reported in advance of the storm.

Cleaning Maine’s Coastal Waters: Are Seaweed Gardens the Answer?

Feb 6, 2017
Merritt Carey / Courtesy Bangor Daily News

BOOTHBAY, Maine — Seaweed cultivation has been promoted in recent years in Maine as a way to produce local nutritious food and to boost the coastal economy.

Now, seaweed harvesters say their industry provides yet another benefit: environmental protection, in the form of improving water quality.

A $5 million outdoor education facility and trail system near Baxter State Park and the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument could be open by fall, pending the approval of state permits.

The money for the Maine Waterside Trails project has been donated by millionaire philanthropist Gilbert Butler, founder of the New York-based Butler Conservation Fund.

SACO, Maine - Maine Water says it pumped and treated 100 million fewer gallons of water in 2016 than it did in the previous year.
The utility says it was able to provide the same level of service to customers despite pumping and treating less water. The utility is reviewing 550 miles of pipes to see what is old and in need of repairs and replacement. It has also has been seeking out leaks in the system.
Maine Water provided customers with 2.8 billion gallons of water last year.

Maine and New Hampshire are getting some light snow - plain ol' snow.
Unlike past storms, the weather system that's going to drop 1 to 3 inches across Maine and New Hampshire on Wednesday will feature only snow, with no sleet, freezing rain, or rain.
The storm's arrival just in time for the morning commute could create some travel delays.
Meteorologist Mike Ekster from the National Weather Service says the forecast is pretty uniform across Maine and New Hampshire. But he said Maine's Midcoast could see up to 4 inches of snow.

PORTLAND, Maine - Interstate fishing regulators could select new restrictions for the declining southern New England lobster fishery by May.
Lobster fishing is experiencing a boom, and prices have also been high. But the species has dwindled in the waters off southern Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut, where it was once plentiful.

Ice Researchers Create Their Own Storms to Study Phenomenon

Jan 25, 2017
Holly Ramer / Associated Press

WOODSTOCK, N.H. - Along a broad belt that stretches from east Texas to New England, ice storms reshape forests, damage infrastructure and disrupt lives. But their unpredictable nature has made them difficult to study, until now.
At the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest in New Hampshire, researchers with the USDA Forest Service and multiple universities have been making their own storms to study how the extreme weather events affect the forest ecosystem, and eventually, model the timing and location of future storms.

A powerful nor’easter blew into Maine after midnight Monday, and by this morning, layers of ice, sleet and snow created treacherous driving conditions that prompted hundreds of cancellations across the state.

At the National Weather Service in Gray, meteorologist Tom Hawley said that the storm’s effect ranged from rain to freezing rain along the coast to snow in Aroostook County. Hawley says travel conditions may not improve until Wednesday.