Environment and Outdoors

Environmental news

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. - A plan to try to slow the decline of southern New England's lobster population with new fishing restrictions is up for a potential final vote this week.
The population of lobsters off Connecticut, Rhode Island and southern Massachusetts has plummeted in recent years. The regulatory Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission is considering a host of new restrictions about lobster fishing at a meeting on Tuesday.

Compared to last year Maine is in much better shape as far as water is concerned. While last July most of New England was experiencing abnormally dry to moderate drought, State Geologist Robert Marvinney says almost all of New England is drought free.

There’s just a little bit of abnormally dry area on the southern coast of Maine,” Marvinney said. “Compared to last year at this time when all of New England and a lot of New York was experiencing abnormally dry, moderate to severe drought.”

FALMOUTH, Maine - A government scientist originally from Falmouth, Maine, says he was mistreated by officials in the administration of President Donald Trump for speaking about climate change.
Joel Clement until recently was director of the Department of the Interior's Office of Policy Analysis, where he examined the effect of climate change on native Alaskan communities. The Portland Press Herald reports that Clement was reassigned to a position where he collected royalties from oil and gas companies.

Peter Duley / NEFSC/NOAA

PORTLAND, Maine - The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says rare right whales will be considered for disentanglement from fishing gear on a "case by case basis'' in the future.
The agency suspended efforts to free whales tangled in fishing line last week after a Canadian rescuer was killed by a right whale after freeing it. It has since announced that whale disentanglement will go forward, with rescue teams resuming most operations.

Susan Sharon / Maine Public

This year the Land for Maine’s Future Program turns 30. Despite coming under fire from Gov. Paul LePage, who opposes most taxpayer-funded conservation projects, LMF has strong public support — since 1987 it has been bolstered by more than half a dozen statewide bonds that have helped conserve 600,000 acres and more than 150 destinations.

Those destinations are now part of a marketing effort to get Mainers to access and enjoy the properties they own.

The National Park Service is criticizing legislation sponsored by independent U.S. Sen. Angus King of Maine that’s intended to protect traditional intertidal clamming and worm harvesting in Acadia National Park.

King told a hearing of the National Parks subcommittee that his bill is simply designed to make sure traditional uses of the park by Maine wormers and clammers can continue.

ORONO, Maine - Scientists with the University of Maine say they have developed a new tool to allow blueberry growers to get a handle on how many bees they can expect to see around their fields.
The tool is called 'BeeMapper.'' The university plans to unveil it on Wednesday at Blueberry Hill Farm in Jonesboro as part of the UMaine Cooperative Extension's annual Wild Blueberry Summer Field Day.

Beware of the Beautiful Weed that Can Cause Blindness, Burns

Jul 18, 2017
Courtesy Maine Department of Agriculture

Imagine that you are poking around your flower garden, weeding or simply enjoying the beautiful blooms, when you suddenly notice a tall, beautiful plant that looks out of place among the day lilies and other midsummer blooms.

A video still showing Joe Howlett in August of 2016 as he rescued an endangered right whale caught up in a mass of fishing gear.

Members of the marine mammal rescue and research community are mourning the loss of a Canadian fisherman who died this week after freeing an entangled right whale off the coast of New Brunswick. Joe Howlett of Campobello Island, founded a Canadian whale rescue team and was considered an expert in whale rescue. Now officials at the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are suspending whale disentanglements until it can complete a review its own emergency response protocols.

FILE - In this Oct. 21, 2013 photograph, CO2 filed pipes are secured by a barbed wire topped fence at the Kemper County energy facility near DeKalb, Miss.
AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis

While the federal government pulls back from global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas pollution, the New England states are considering more aggressive curbs on power plant carbon emissions.

The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, or RGGI, is a market-based cap-and-trade program that sets limits on carbon-dioxide emissions in nine states, including all of New England. Power generators can buy and sell emission allowances under the program — which can give a financial boost to cleaner sources such as wind or hydro plants. So far RGGI’s allowance auctions have raised more than $2.5 billion, with the proceeds flowing to the states, and most of them investing heavily in energy efficiency efforts.

More Atlantic Salmon are Swimming in Penobscot, Down East Rivers

Jul 14, 2017
Ashley L. Conti / Bangor Daily News/file

On an average day in greater Bangor, most of the city’s residents pay little attention to the river that flows past, and even less attention to the invisible fish that are streaming northward in an annual return from the sea.

But the river flows on. And the fish, in various quantities each year, are there.

This year, fisheries experts at the Maine Department of Marine Resources say that there’s more Atlantic salmon in the Penobscot, and in Down East rivers than there have been in recent years.

Matthew Lambert/National Park Service

The price of a lifetime senior pass for U.S. National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands is going up significantly on August 28 from $10 to $80. The National Park Service says this is the first increase since 1994.

Current lifetime senior passes will remain valid. $10 passes will be available through August 27th.

“The fee increase helps to pay for visitor amenities and other improvements in national parks and other federal lands,” Acadia National Park spokesman John Kelly.

A.J. Higgins / Maine Public

Conservationists and members of the Millinocket-area business community say public responses to a recent federal review have been overwhelmingly supportive of the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument.

During a Bangor press conference Friday, Natural Resources Council of Maine Executive Director Lisa Pohlmann said the responses to the U.S. Department of Interior’s survey indicate that the region is a desirable tourism destination.

Susan Sharon / Maine Public

It’s back — the unwelcome bright green slime that showed up around Casco Bay in several locations during the drought last summer has returned with a vengeance, and this year it has arrived even earlier.

The environmental group Friends of Casco Bay is actively monitoring the situation, and is worried about what algal blooms like these say about the health of the bay.

This story is the latest installment in our occasional series “Beyond 350: Confronting Climate Change.”

Appalachian Mountain Club Opens Largest Maine Wilderness Lodge to Date

Jul 7, 2017
Aislinn Sarnacki / Bangor Daily News

TOWNSHIP 1, RANGE 12, Maine — Standing on a wooded hill above Second Roach Pond, deep in the Maine wilderness, the new Medawisla Wilderness Lodge and Cabins opened to the public on July 1, offering its guests comfortable beds, hot showers, home-cooked meals, and a beautiful base camp for outdoor adventures.