Environment and Outdoors

Environmental news

MYSTIC, Conn. - Three seal pups that were apparently abandoned by their parents after birth have been released into the waters off Rhode Island.

Tropical storm Jose remains stuck off the coast of Cape Cod, and according to weather experts, doesn’t appear to be in a hurry to move.

While it’s far enough away for Maine to avoid lots of rainfall, the coast will still feel its effects with unusually high surf.

“These are what we call long period swells,” says Meteorologist Tom Hawley with the National Weather Service. “They’re 5-10 footers, probably 12-15 seconds between waves.”

Hawley says as tempting as it may be to go stand at the shore to watch the waves, doing so could be very dangerous.

The Department of Marine Resources says that a shellfish recall implemented last week has resulted in about 98 percent of the product in being surrendered.

According to the department, about 57,000 out of 58,000 pounds of mussels harvested from Frenchman Bay were destroyed this week. The shellfish tested positive for higher than allowable levels of the neurotoxin that causes amnesic shellfish poisoning.

Some 1,100 pounds of the mussels are unaccounted for.

PORTLAND, Maine -Maine is among seven states where the federal government is funding a research project to try to better understand harmful algal blooms.
Harmful algal blooms can contaminate drinking water and have negative effects on the environment, wildlife and tourism. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is providing nearly $1.7 million for research projects about the blooms in Alaska, California, Florida, Maine, Maryland, Ohio and Virginia.

Harvard Forest

A new wave of forest loss is underway in New England, at a rate of 65 acres a day. That's the conclusion of a new regionwide study spearheaded by a Harvard University forest research group. And the authors say New England could lose more than a million acres of forest cover over the next half-century.

Rogier Klappe / via Wikimedia Commons

FALMOUTH, Maine - More than 100 bird watchers have traveled to Maine to catch the rare sight of a South American fork-tailed flycatcher.
The Portland Press Herald reports that the bird known for its black-and-white plumage and long, forked tail came to the Gilsland Farm Audubon Center in Falmouth on Saturday.
Maine Audubon Naturalist Doug Hitchcox says the bird was last seen in the state in June 2012. He says the bird would normally be flying south at this time instead of north to Maine.

Report: New England Losing 65 Acres Of Forestland Per Day

Sep 19, 2017

BOSTON - New England has been losing forestland to development at a rate of 65 acres per day - a loss that comes at a time when public funding for preservation of open land has also been on the decline.
That's the conclusion of a report released Tuesday by the Harvard Forest, a research institute of Harvard University.
The study found public funding for land conservation in New England dropped by half between 2008 and 2014 to $62 million per year, slightly lower than 2004 levels.

ORONO, Maine - The National Science Foundation is giving $100,000 to help with a University of Maine citizen science project geared at protecting the water quality of lakes.
The project began in 2015. The university says the grant will help extend it into next year and beyond.
UMaine says Maine lakes contribute about $4 billion to the state's economy through recreational and other uses. They are also experiencing a decline in water quality.

Jose Could Bring Strong Seas To Coastal Maine

Sep 19, 2017

A hurricane headed up the East Coast could cause high surf and minor flooding once it hits Maine late Tuesday, officials warned.

Jose is expected to be downgraded to a tropical storm and to curl eastward away from the East Coast later this week, but it could damage property along the shore, according to the National Weather Service.

Leaked Report Advises Trump To Open Maine Monument To Commercial Forestry

Sep 18, 2017
Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press/file

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke advised President Donald Trump to open Maine’s national monument to commercial forestry, according to a leaked summary of Zinke’s report to the president.

BRUNSWICK, Maine - The U.S. Navy says it plans to expand a search for potential chemical contaminants on a former Navy air station in Maine.
Officials said they will meet Sept. 21 to discuss testing for the presence of perfluorinated compounds at the former Brunswick Naval Air Station. The Portland Press Herald reports that PFCs are listed as an "emerging contaminant'' by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency after a long history as a component for fire-suppression foams.

In the wake of an algal bloom, the Department of Marine Resources says it is working to recall shellfish that was harvested on or after Sept. 10 from a stretch of the Down East coast.  

"We don't, at this point, have exact numbers or amounts of product that are affected by the recall, but we've had good compliance with dealers," says marine resources department spokesman Jeff Nichols.

Nichols says levels of domoic acid in shellfish harvested from an area between Mount Desert Island and Gouldsboro prompted the closure.

Julio Cortez / Associated Press

DEEP RIVER, Conn. - Marinas, coastal residents and others in the Northeastern U.S. are keeping a wary eye on Tropical Storm Jose.
The storm is forecast to pass well offshore of North Carolina early next week and could then menace New England.
At the Brewer Fiddler's Cove Marina in Falmouth, Massachusetts, manager Scott Carpenter said one customer had asked for his boat to be hauled out ahead of the storm, but they have not made other storm-related plans.

AUGUSTA, Maine - The state is urging Mainers to dispose of unusable and waste pesticides that could instead end up in the trash.
The Maine environmental and agricultural departments are hosting the free annual program in October.
The agencies plan to collect the unwanted chemicals and take them to out-of-state disposal facilities to be incinerated or reprocessed.

Summer May Be Getting Longer In Waters Off New England

Sep 14, 2017
Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press

PORTLAND, Maine - A group of scientists says summer is getting longer in the waters off New England.
The scientists, led by Andrew Thomas of the University of Maine, say the warming of the Gulf of Maine has added up to 66 days of summer-like temperatures to the body of water. The Gulf of Maine stretches from Massachusetts to Nova Scotia and is warming faster than almost all of Earth's oceans.