Environment and Outdoors

Environmental news

WINSLOW, Maine - A traveling petting zoo in Maine says its reindeer has unexpectedly given birth to the first baby reindeer in the state in more than 20 years.
Pony X-Press co-owner Ed Papsis says the reindeer is a dark brown female calf and it was born at a farm on Easter Sunday.
Papsis tells the Morning Sentinel that the new reindeer has yet to be named. Her mother's name is Cocoa.

Brian Jackson / AP Photo

State lawmakers are giving an initial thumbs down to Gov. Paul LePage's proposal to raise the bar for new wind energy projects in Maine.

The governor wants to limit streamlined permit reviews to wind projects only in eastern Aroostook County. And he wants to expand reviews of their visual impacts to anywhere within 70 miles of significant scenic resources.

Rep. Paul Stearns, a Guilford Republican, says he sees the scenic harm wind farms can do first hand.The porch of his camp on Piper Pond in Abbot is in the shadow of the Bingham wind plantation.

The state continues to be at a slightly higher than normal risk for flooding. That's according to the state’s River Flow Advisory Commission, which met Thursday, for the second time this season.

Commission members said that while rivers in southern Maine are mostly ice free, in northern Maine it's a different story.

"The rivers still have as much as 40 inches of ice on them," said Susan Faloon, with the Maine Emergency Management Agency.

Jesica Waller / University of Maine Darling Marine Center

New science is bearing down on a poorly understood part of the North American lobster’s diet. And it turns out that a tiny crustacean’s abundance may help to explain expected declines in Maine’s lobster harvest.

CALAIS, Maine - Officials say a small earthquake was recorded along the border of Maine and Canada.
The 2.2 magnitude earthquake was reported early Tuesday about 20 miles north of Calais. WMTW-TV reports the earthquake is the latest in a spate of earthquakes recorded across Maine since the beginning of the year.
The U.S. Geological Survey says earthquakes recorded below a 3.0 magnitude are considered low intensity and felt by very few people, usually.

Court: Lawsuit To Eliminate Atlantic Marine Monument Can Proceed

Mar 27, 2018

PORTLAND, Maine - A federal court has ruled that a group of fishing organizations can move forward with a lawsuit that seeks to eliminate the first national marine monument in the Atlantic Ocean.

The fishing groups sued to challenge the creation of the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument created by President Barack Obama in 2016. It's a 5,000-square-mile area off of New England. 

How Climate Change Is Affecting The Maine Maple Syrup Industry

Mar 26, 2018
AP Photo

On a spring day so cold the sap froze in the few old-fashioned buckets that Mark Cooper of Coopers Maple Products still uses, the Windham maple producer talked about the changes he has noticed over the 31 years he’s been in business.

The season used to start in late February and run through early April.

“It was pretty consistent,” he said.

Mike Groll / Associated Press File

With the wood of the mighty ash tree, the inhabitants of Maine have been paddling across rivers and bays, sowing crops, weaving baskets and surviving the cold for thousands of years. To Maine’s indigenous people, the ash tree is the very source of their existence, the tree that legend says gave birth to the Wabanaki people. And it’s in danger of disappearing from the Maine landscape.

ELLSWORTH, Maine - A Down East Maine environmental group is encouraging the public to show up for a public meeting about the relicensing of dams on a river in a rural part of the state.
The Ellsworth City Council is hosting the meeting on March 28 at Ellsworth High School. The Downeast Salmon Federation, which advocates for the removal of dams to make way for fish habitat, is calling on people to attend.

The federal government is touting new protections for young cod as a way to help rebuild the population of the fish.

The population of cod has plummeted off of New England, which was once home to a much larger fishery for the species. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says new fishing management rules include a Habitat Area of Particular Concern designation to help juvenile cod.

Nor'easter Rolls Into New England As Millions Begin Cleanup

Mar 22, 2018
Julio Cortez / Associated Press

NEW YORK - The latest nor'easter is rolling into New England as millions of others in the Northeast begin to dig out.
The fourth major storm in three weeks dumped more than a foot of snow in parts of Pennsylvania Wednesday, while major cities along the Interstate 95 corridor saw much less.
Downtown Philadelphia got 7 inches and New York City's Central Park recorded a little less than 7. Boston was expected to get 4 to 9 inches before tapering off Thursday afternoon.

Study: Warming Arctic Could Be Fueling Nor’easter Storms

Mar 21, 2018
University of Maine/Climate Change Institute / via Bangor Daily News

The two nor’easters that together dumped more than two feet of snow throughout much of Maine in the past week — and more than three feet in some areas — could have been fueled by warming temperatures in the Arctic, according to a new scientific study.

Spring Nor'easter Targets Northeast With Heavy Snow, Winds

Mar 21, 2018
Matt Slocum / Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA - A spring nor'easter is targeting the Northeast with strong winds and a foot or more of snow expected in some parts of the region.
The bulk of the snow and sleet is predicted to pound New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware and parts of eastern Pennsylvania on Wednesday before heading toward Cape Cod early Thursday.
Widespread power outages are possible with gusts blowing up to 35 mph (56 kph).
Airlines canceled flights and schools canceled classes ahead of the fourth major storm in three weeks.

A powerful nor'easter approaching the East Coast will deliver a glancing blow to Maine and New Hampshire, bringing the potential of up to 6 inches of snow.
The National Weather Service says snow will begin falling Wednesday afternoon in southern New Hampshire and Wednesday evening on the southern Maine coast. Forecasters say accumulations could reach a half-foot along the entire coast of Maine and New Hampshire.
Heavier snow accumulations are expected to the south from the fourth nor'easter to hit the eastern seaboard in three weeks.

Irwin Gratz / Maine Public

PORTLAND, Maine — Many Maine cities are spending more than expected to keep roads clear of snow and ice this winter, and another nor’easter could send them even further over budget.

Portland is still totaling bills from plowing contractors, but had already spent nearly all of its $1.37 million budget before the last two storms.

A city spokeswoman tells the Portland Press Herald the city expected 60 inches of snow this year, but has already gotten nearly 90. She says cost overruns will be covered by unspent money elsewhere in the budget.