Environment and Outdoors

Environmental news

What Mackerel and a Volcano Can Tell us About Climate Change

Jan 23, 2017
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration / Associated Press

PORTLAND, Maine - A group of researchers say an Indonesian volcano eruption, a centuries-old weather disaster and a surge in the consumption of mackerel could inform present-day scientists about today's era of climate change.
Scientists with the University of Massachusetts and other institutions made the findings while conducting research about a long-ago climate calamity in New England that was caused by the eruption of Mount Tambora in 1815.

Abhishek Srivastava / Flickr/Creative Commons

Acadia National Park got a record number of visits last year, an estimated 3.3 million.

Park spokesman John Kelly says that an 18 percent increase over the previous year. He says they assume that among the reasons for the increase was the marketing around the centennials of both the National Park Service and Acadia National Park.

“National park visitation was up across the country, so we sort of are part of that overall increase,” he says.

Sweden Not Giving up Fight Over Lobster Imports

Jan 19, 2017
Pat Wellenbach / Associated Press/file

PORTLAND, Maine - Officials in Sweden say the country is not giving up on its battle with the U.S. and Canada about lobsters that turned up in Swedish waters.
Sweden wanted the European Union to consider banning imports of American lobsters into the EU. The call came after Sweden announced it had found 32 American lobsters in its waters.
European Union officials turned away the request in October. But Swedish officials say the country remains concerned that American lobsters could interfere with valuable European lobsters.

Caribou Area Gets Snowiest First Half of Winter in Nine Years

Jan 19, 2017
Michael A. Gudreau / Star-Herald

HOULTON, Maine — More than 50 inches of snow fell on the Caribou area in December and through Jan. 15, making this the snowiest first half of winter since 2007-2008, according to the National Weather Service.

Many residents of Maine and New Hampshire are awakening to snowfall.
The National Weather Service says a coastal storm is expected to dump about 3 to 4 inches along the coastline, and a half-foot or more of snow farther inland
The storm started late Tuesday and was expected to wrap up by Wednesday morning.

PORTLAND, Maine - A Maine marine research institute says it has added a species of New England flounder to its list of sustainably harvested fish species.

The Gulf of Maine Research Institute says it is adding the American plaice to its list of species that can carry the "Gulf of Maine Responsibly Harvested'' brand.

Fishermen from New York to Maine typically catch 2 million to 4 million pounds of American plaice per year. They are among many flounder species used for seafood.

PORTLAND, Maine - The cold weather that started the week in the Northeast has given way to warmer temperatures - a so-called January thaw.

National Weather Service meteorologist Tom Hawley says there's usually a time during the month that temperatures go above freezing and stay there for a couple of days.

"Usually at some point during the wintertime the jet stream retreats and allows some warmer air to come into the Northeast," Hawley says.

Hawley says temperatures will be mild today and tomorrow, a bit cooler on Friday - and back to reality on Saturday.

Rich Hatfield / The Xerces Society via AP

A bumblebee that was once quite common throughout eastern North America, including in Maine, has become the first-ever bumble bee to be declared endangered.

The rusty patched bumble bee also becomes the first bee of any kind in the contiguous 48 states to be protected under the Endangered Species Act.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist Mark McCullough says the listing means that the bee is protected from being killed. In addition, the insect can’t be traded or sold. But he says what’s probably more important is to let the public know that this bee is in real trouble.

Susan Sharon / Maine Public

Seasonal passes to Maine’s state parks will increase this year, prompting hikers and swimmers to dig a little deeper for their outdoor experiences.

BERLIN, N.H. - Bitter cold temperatures are heading into northern New England.
The National Weather Service says the wind chill could hit minus 30 degrees in Maine and northern New Hampshire. A wind child warning is in effect from 8 p.m. Sunday to 9 a.m. Monday. The weather service says exposure to such frigid temperatures could result in frostbite or hypothermia.
It won't be quite as cold in Vermont, but experts say people should also brace for very cold weather. Temperatures could drop to minus 10 degrees and will be even colder in the mountains.

CARIBOU, Maine - There's so much snow that Maine residents are being warned to be wary of potential roof collapses.
The Maine Emergency Management Agency says the snow load on structures is a concern after several storms with heavy, wet snow across central and northern Maine.
Rich Norton from the National Weather Service says the latest storm on Wednesday brought the season snow total to nearly 70 inches in Caribou. Norton says that's about 2-and-a-half feet above normal.

Ice fisherman head for home at dusk on Long Lake, Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2012, in Naples, Maine. Mount Washington and Presidential Range in New Hampshire can be seen 40 miles to the west.
AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty

TOWNSHIP 6, RANGE 11, Maine (AP) _ Maine officials are warning that there’s still thin ice in many locations, even as a winter storm dumps heavy snow across most of the state.

Rangers on the Allagash Wilderness Waterway say the ice is still spotty in late December: They found only 1 to 3 inches on Chamberlain and Eagle Lakes this week.

They’re advising fishermen to use caution when heading out onto the ice this weekend.

Rangers note that the snow isn’t helping the ice. Snowfall tends to serve as insulation and slows the thickening of the ice.

Coast Guard Cutters Tackle Ice on Penobscot River in Bangor Area

Dec 29, 2016
Ashley L. Conti / Bangor Daily News

BREWER, Maine — Thick ice formed on the Penobscot River earlier than normal this year, so the U.S. Coast Guard was called in to help break it up as part of its annual mission to keep the river passable.

Robert Bukaty

The U.S. Agriculture Department announced Wednesday that it will invest $225 million in conservation projects around the country, including $6 million for Maine.

The five-year Maine Aquatic Connectivity Restoration Project will help private forestland owners reduce the effects of flooding on road-stream crossings and restore more than 250 miles of fish habitat by replacing and resizing several hundred culverts.

Feds to Pour $225M into Water Projects Around US, Including Maine

Dec 21, 2016

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - The federal government will be pouring nearly a quarter-billion dollars into several dozen projects aimed at tackling the effects of drought in the West and restoring watersheds that provide drinking water to communities around the nation.
The $225 million in funding will be shared among 88 projects, from California's Central Valley to centuries-old irrigation systems in northern New Mexico and thousands of square miles of fragmented streams in Maine.