Environment and Outdoors

Environmental news

PORTLAND, Maine - New restrictions might be proposed for southern New England's lobster fishery as it deals with a steep decline in population.

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission is considering ways to save the lobsters and might cast a vote on Thursday.

A report from the commission says that one way to slow the loss of lobsters could be to increase the minimum harvesting size for the crustaceans.

John Drury / Courtesy photo

Editor's note: Since this story was originally published — on Friday, July 29 — Explore.org, in partnership with the National Audubon Society, captured this dramatic slow-motion footage of a bald eagle attacking ospreys on Hog Island, Maine. Watch below, then read our story about what the bald eagles' resurgence means for other bird species.

Call it conservation blowback: Since the 1970s, when the pesticide DDT was banned and the Endangered Species Act took effect, the emblematic American bald eagle’s population has roared back from near-extinction. But more eagles need more food, and for some other struggling bird species — here in Maine and around the country — the eagle’s success story has a menacing side.

Irwin Gratz / MPBN

PORTLAND, Maine - Protecting bees:  That's the thinking behind an ordinance South Portland is considering to ban pesticide use on lawns and gardens in the city.

Today, the group Environment Maine said it has gathered more than 900 signatures in South Portland on petitions urging the federal government to move in that direction.

Looking more like the set of a science fiction movie than a north shore New Brunswick community, the Campbellton-Dalhousie area was invaded by millions of spruce budworm moths over the weekend.

Businesses in both towns were forced to hired vacuum trucks to to clear piles of moths from parking lots and streets after the insects fell to the ground and died.

Forestry officials are hoping the swarms stay out of Maine.

It’s been six months since the residents of Mount Desert Island launched a grassroots initiative to become energy independent in 15 years.

The effort was highlighted in January as part of our ongoing series Beyond 350: Confronting Climate Change. This Sunday residents are getting together again for an update on the project, and they’ve already gotten a clearer picture of how to reach their goal.

BAR HARBOR, Maine - The National Park Service says it has reopened areas of Acadia National Park that had been closed for months to protect peregrine falcons from disturbance while they were nesting.

The service says it has reopened Precipice, Valley Cove and Jordan cliffs and the trails associated with them. Those areas had been closed since March 17.

A mile-long stretch of Valley Cove Trail between Flying Mountain Trail and Man O'War Brook Trail will be closed to all public entry starting on Friday.

Bangor Daily News

By John Holyoke, Bangor Daily News

BANGOR, Maine — University of Maine researchers went to the Penobscot River with new optimism this spring, as they hoped to find evidence that endangered shortnose sturgeon had spawned in the river. Documentation of that would be the first since two dams were removed from the river in recent years.

Paul VanDerWerf / Flickr/Creative Commons

It has been a dry summer — parts of York County are in the grips of what weather experts are describing as a severe drought. But, so far, it all pales in comparison to what took place 200 years ago.

Wikimedia Commons


Each year, thousands of deer are killed on Connecticut roads and highways. Those collisions can lead to costly insurance claims, injuries, and deaths – which made scientists wonder what would happen to deer, and to us, if an elusive carnivore came back to the northeast: the mountain lion.

PORTLAND, Maine — The Maine Department of Environmental Protection is warning of unhealthy air in parts of the state.

The agency has issued an air quality alert for Friday because ground-level ozone is expected to reach unhealthy levels.

The alert applies from Kittery, Maine, to Acadia National Park.

The National Weather Service says the air quality alert accompanies a shift in the weather pattern, with hot and humid air coming in from the south.

Patty Wight / MPBN

PORTLAND, Maine - Advocates for solar power say Maine is falling behind most other states in its ranking for solar capacity.

Environment Maine today released its fourth annual report on solar energy in Maine. Owen Mansfield is a campaign organizer for the group.

"In this year's ranking, Maine dropped to 27th in per capita solar capacity, and 34th in total solar capacity," Mansfield says, "after ranking 24th and 29th respectively in both categories last year."

BOSTON - Federal authorities say much of the Northeast is experiencing drought conditions, with sections of New York and Massachusetts among the driest.

The U.S. Drought Monitor said Thursday that western New York, the state's Finger Lakes region, as well as much of central and northeastern Massachusetts are experiencing severe drought conditions. The severe conditions extend into southern New Hampshire and southwestern Maine.

"Severe'' is the third most serious of five drought intensity levels.

BOSTON — The federal Environmental Protection Agency is warning that Friday’s air quality in parts of New England could be unhealthy for some people.

The regional branch of the EPA says air in coastal Connecticut, all of Rhode Island, southeastern Massachusetts and southern and central coastal Maine could have exceed the Federal air quality standard for ozone.

The agency is recommending people in those areas limit strenuous outdoor activity.

It has been a dry spring and summer so far across New England. Southern New Hampshire and parts of Maine are coping with parched conditions, but it’s not all bad news.

In New Hampshire, several municipalities have instituted water restrictions through October. In Maine, Portland’s rainfall levels are lagging by about 4 inches.

“Southern Maine here is in what we’d consider a moderate drought category right now,” says Tom Hawley, senior service hydrologist with the National Weather Service in Gray. “Extreme southern York County is in a severe drought.”

Chris Ford / Flickr/Creative Commons

When it comes to communicating climate change, there can be a thin line between making things seem completely hopeless in the world and making adaptation and even mitigation seem possible.