Environment and Outdoors

Environmental news

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) _ Wildlife advocates want a federal judge to force the government to move more quickly on a recovery plan for imperiled Canada lynx.
 
    The U.S. government declared the snow-loving big cats a threatened species across the Lower 48 states in 2000. But officials haven't come up with a mandated recovery plan.
 
    After a federal judge criticized the delay, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed completing the plan by early 2018.
 

Jellyfish on the Rise in Casco Bay

Jun 23, 2014
Carrie McCusker

Earlier this month there was a notable increase in jellyfish sightings in southern Maine waters. The reason for this phenomenon is not entirely clear, say scientists, but it's prompting some of the state's hardiest swimmers to think twice before jumping in the water.

  Carrie McCusker, an endurance athlete and coach from Cape Elizabeth, says she saw unusual looking jellies last week, just a short boat ride from the South Portland marina toward Peaks Island.

'Cosmos' and Space

Jun 23, 2014
NASA

Few things are more fun, fascinating and educational than gazing into the night sky to see and learn about all that's happening away from the pale blue dot we call home. The success of the re-imagined TV show "Cosmos," starring Neil DeGrasse Tyson, has renewed interest in space, exploration and the science of astronomy.

The Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences will be among 160 sites around the globe that will sample ocean water on the summer solstice to identify naturally occuring microbes.  

Bigelow scientists plan to take the samples during high tide tomorrow morning.  Bigelow research scientist Nicole Poulton says this will provide a global snapshot in time of what the microorganisms are and what they are doing.

Terry Goss

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) _ Great white shark numbers are surging in the western North Atlantic after decades of decline.
 
    A new study by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists says great white abundance in the area has climbed since about 2000. The scientists report the shark's growing numbers are due to conservation efforts and greater availability of prey.
 

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) _ The New England Fishery Management Council will not allow Atlantic herring fishermen to exceed their limit for haddock bycatch this year.
 
    The council denied the request at a meeting Friday. Federal regulators say Atlantic herring fishermen who fish from mid-water trawl boats are on track this year to exceed their limit for incidental catch of haddock in Georges Bank. That would trigger rules that would effectively shut down the herring fishery.
 

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) _ The New England Fishery Management Council is asking the federal government to consider allowing fishermen to catch more haddock in the Gulf of Maine this year.
 
    The council voted Wednesday to ask the National Marine Fisheries Service to raise the haddock catch limit for the 2014 fishing year. The fishing year began May 1 and ends April 30, 2015. The catch limit is currently close to 700,000 pounds.
 
    The council's proposal passed by a vote of 15-1.
 

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) _ The New England Fishery Management Council is asking the federal government to consider allowing fishermen to catch more haddock in the Gulf of Maine this year.
 
    The council voted Wednesday to ask the National Marine Fisheries Service to raise the haddock catch limit for the 2014 fishing year. The fishing year began May 1 and ends April 30, 2015. The council's proposal passed by a vote of 15-1.
 

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) _ A team of American and Canadian scientists is about to depart on a two-week study of deep-sea corals in the canyons in the northern Gulf of Maine.
 
    Martha Nizinski of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Northeast Fisheries Science Center and Anna Metaxas of Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, will lead the scientists. They depart Woods Hole, Massachusetts, on Wednesday aboard the NOAA ship Henry B. Bigelow and return to Newport, Rhode Island, on July 1.
 

Bodvar Eggertsson

At 7:00 tonight, five seals will emerge from kennels and flop across a Biddeford beach into the ocean. It will be the final release of rehabilitated seals from the University of New England's Marine Animal Rehabilitation and Conservation Center. UNE announced last month the center would close due to financial constraints and a shift in programming. Those who rescue stranded marine animals say they're scrambling to figure out how to continue helping animals in distress.

The Portland City Council last night adopted two measures designed to cut down on waste that are believed to be threats to the environment.

On identical, 6-3 votes, the council enacted a ban on single-use foam packaging. In the other measure, it imposed a nickel-a-bag fee on grocery bags.

The idea is to encourage people to use, and reuse, cloth and other bags that won't go into the waste stream.

Backers of the new restrictions say much of that plastic and foam winds up littering the landscape and finding its way into the ocean where it poses a risk to wildlife.

UNITY PLANTATION, Maine (AP) _ A two-year quest by Unity College students to fit a black bear with a video collar has achieved success.
 
    The Morning Sentinel reports that professor George Matula and about a dozen students trekked deep into a 4,000-acre patch of woods off Route 139 on Thursday to fit the collar on a trapped bear.
 
    Although the team had hoped to capture a female so they could get video of it raising cubs, they were still satisfied to fit the collar on an 180-pound male.
 

A Washington, D.C., consulting group says a less costly, less damaging dredging plan would still allow Searsport's Mack Point to accommodate larger tankers and cargo ships.

  The Isleboro Islands Trust opposes the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' dredging plan for the channel off Searsport and hired the firm Dawson and Associates to research alternatives.

In its report, released today in Augusta, Dawson also calls for further environmental and economic study before any dredging is allowed to move forward.

Ocean Acidification

Jun 12, 2014

Scientists and fisherman worry about changes in the chemistry of the ocean, and the impact on clams, lobsters, oysters, shrimp and sea urchins. The Maine Legislature recently passed the first law in the East Coast that addresses the issue. Learn more about the ocean acidification and what might be done to protect Maine's fisheries and environment.

Host Jennifer Rooks speaks with:

Tom Porter / MPBN

Later this month a special commission will convene in Maine to study ocean acidification and look for ways to mitigate it. It was established by legislation passed in April, making Maine the first state on the East Coast to enact a law specifically to study the threat posed by the changing chemistry of the seas. The lawmaker behind the measure says ocean acidification is a problem he witnesses on a daily basis.

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