Environment and Outdoors

Environmental news

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.

Gabor Degre / Bangor Daily News

If you spot Anita King of Belfast while doing your grocery shopping, chances are good that she’ll check out your grocery cart.

But not to see what’s for dinner. King, an advocate for the city’s new ban on single-use plastic bags and expanded styrofoam containers, may just be looking to see if you remembered to bring a reusable grocery bag, and if you do, she’ll probably smile. King has been smiling a lot lately, more than three months since the Belfast bag ban went into effect.

Nor’easter Wallops Maine With Up To 30 Inches Of Snow

Mar 15, 2018
Gabor Degre / Bangor Daily News

After a two-day nor’easter dumped more than a foot of snow in Maine — with two feet in many areas — residents across the state started digging themselves out Wednesday afternoon to get ready to go back to school or to work on Thursday.

Property owners along Clary Lake in Lincoln County are applauding a Superior Court decision upholding a Maine Department of Environmental Protection order setting water levels on the lake.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press/file

FALMOUTH, Maine - Maine Audubon says the results of its annual loon count last year showed a population that appears to be holding steady.
Maine has the largest common loon population in the eastern U.S. The bird's range has shrunk in the United States, and it faces threats such as environmental pollution.
Audubon says the number of adult loons estimated for 2017 is "virtually unchanged'' from the previous two years at about 2,800. The group says there are also about 450 loon chicks, and the estimated number of chicks has climbed in three consecutive years.

Jennifer Mitchell / Maine Public

The third nor’easter to hit Maine in the last couple weeks is dumping 12 to 18 inches across much of the state - and more in some areas - with far northern Maine getting most of its snowfall Tuesday night and Wednesday.

MONTPLIER, Vt. - The Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife is recommending the lowest number of moose hunting permits this year in the modern era as the herd continues to decline from infestations of ticks and brain worms believed to be caused by the warming climate.
Vermont Director of Wildlife Mark Scott says that if the decline in the moose herd continues, it's possible the department will recommend issuing no permits in 2019.