Environment and Outdoors

Environmental news

AUGUSTA, Maine - If you love fall colors, then this is the time to get outside in Maine.
The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry says the vibrant golds, oranges and reds are at their peak across western and northern Maine.
The rest of the state is rated at "high'' for fall hues.
The timing of the fall colors has been delayed a bit this year, but the colors are now popping.

This week Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt proposed repeal of the Clean Power Plan, the cornerstone of the Obama administration’s efforts to address climate change. While not unexpected, the decision is coming under fire as ideologically driven and a boon for the fossil fuel industry at a critical time for the planet.

Finding a cause of death for hundreds of surf clams that washed up on Old Orchard Beach last week isn't a major priority.

That's according to a spokesman for the state Department of Marine Resources.  Jeff Nichols says commercial harvesting is already prohibited in the area, so no one is likely to eat and be sickened by the clams.

"It is a closed area for harvesting so the bureau is not focusing its resources on that at this point," he says.

A.J. Higgins / Maine Public

More than 200 private landowners from across the country gathered in Bangor Thursday to talk about conservation and how they can collaborate to protect wildlife while also expanding commercial forestry.

Finding a balance between conservation economic interests remains a big challenge, but stakeholders from both sides say there’s room for middle ground.

Maine Public/file

Danny Moody and Dan Giguere both recently finished hiking the nearly 2,200-mile Appalachian Trail.

T.B. Ryder / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

PORTLAND, Maine - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services says a migratory songbird that summers in the northeastern United States does not warrant listing under the Endangered Species Act.

Fred Bever / Maine Public

State marine officials say an unusual algae bloom in Casco Bay may be retreating, but they say it still poses a toxic threat to fish.

Department of Marine Resources biologist Bryant Lewis sampled water up and down the coast, including at a South Portland dock. He’s measuring oxygen levels and the prevalence of an invasive Asian algae — Karenia mikimotoi — that has turned parts of the bay an unusual brown and unleashed an unpleasant, rotting fruit smell.

He says levels have dropped since last week.

PORTLAND, Maine - An astronaut who hails from Maine is biking 600 miles across the Amazon to raise awareness about climate change.
WCSH-TV reports that Chris Cassidy is traversing the Amazon with a team of environmental scientists to record the effects of climate change in the region as part of a documentary. The team will bike across the Trans Amazon highway.

Despite the recent warm weather, parts of Maine are seeing a real sign of fall: leaves sporting their autumn colors.

State forestry officials say northern Maine, above Houlton to Jackman, is seeing high color change with moderate-to-low color change elsewhere. The entire state is reporting low leaf drop.

“We’re headed into what’s probably going to be a typical Maine foliage year, with brilliant colors,” says state Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry spokesman John Bott.

AUGUSTA, Maine - The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry says autumn color has arrived, even as temperatures linger in the 70s in much of the state.
The state's fall foliage report says fall colors are high in northern Maine this weekend and moderate in the rest of the state. That means there will be 70 percent color in much of the northern region and 30 to 50 percent color change elsewhere.

EASTHAM, Mass. - A tropical bird never before seen in Massachusetts has been rescued from a Cape Cod beach after it was likely blown off course by Hurricane Jose.
Wild Care, a wildlife rehabilitation facility in Eastham, says the masked booby was found Tuesday at a Wellfleet beach.
Wild Care Executive Director Stephanie Ellis tells the Cape Cod Times the bird was thin, weak and experiencing respiratory discomfort likely due to a fungal infection.

The Maine Department of Marine Resources says it’s monitoring a large, unusual phytoplankton bloom that has been observed in the Casco Bay region from Portland northeast to Harpswell.

Department spokesman Jeff Nichols says, while the bloom isn’t a threat to human health, the species, Karenia mikimotoi, can be harmful to finfish, shellfish and other marine organisms. There have been fish kills reported during blooms in Hong Kong, Australia, Ireland, Japan and Alaska.

DMR wants area dealers, aquaculture lease holders and harvesters to be on the lookout for any symptoms.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press

Scientists have been closely watching puffin populations in the Gulf of Maine in recent years, in an effort to restore the species on certain islands. This summer, puffins and other seabird populations appear to have rebounded, but are still facing a threat from predation.

Northern New England isn't letting go of summer.

Temperatures have reached some record highs in the last couple of days, and more may be on the way.

The National Weather Service office in Gray, Maine, says temperatures in most locations were into the 70s and lower 80s by 10 a.m. Monday. This is already 10 to 15 degrees above the normal highs for the day.

Peter Duley / NEFSC/NOAA

PORTLAND, Maine - Researchers with the federal government and the New England Aquarium say they've developed a new model to provide better estimates about the North Atlantic right whale population, and the news isn't good.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says the model could be critically important to saving the endangered species, which is in the midst of a year of high mortality. The agency says the analysis shows the probability the population has declined since 2010 is nearly 100 percent.