Every month, we highlight news stories and opinion pieces related to Maine’s air, land, water, and wildlife. We update News & Noteworthy weekly with the latest news related to the nature of Maine, including the work of staff at the Natural Resources Council of Maine.
May 26, 2023
The Bangor Daily News editorial board recently wrote in support of the proposed $30 million Maine Trails Bond, LD 1156. Read their editorial.
The Daily Bulldog shared a story about the statewide support, from a wide variety of businesses, towns, land trusts, and organizations, of the Maine Trails Bond.
A new visitor center is being built at Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, with private funds paying for the project. The center will tell the story of the area through the eyes of the Wabanaki people. The Portland Press Herald writes, “The…building is already under construction and will formally open to the public next spring. It bears the name ‘Tekαkαpimək’ from the Penobscot Indian language, which translates to ‘as far as one can see.’”
Maine’s bottle and can redemption centers are the heart of the successful Maine Bottle Bill, and they are getting some help thanks to a new bill passed to increase the handling fees they are paid. Now, another bill to modernize our bottle redemption program (LD 1909) is being discussed in Augusta. Read this Bangor Daily News op-ed in support of the bill.
Skowhegan is another step closer to creating a River Park, with a grant they recently received from the State of Maine.
Farther south in Westbrook, the City purchased land along the Presumpscot River to expand public access to the river.
It was announced this week that the US Supreme Court has voted to limit the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to regulate wetlands. Hear from NRCM Federal Policy Advocate Anya Fetcher about what that means for Maine in this Maine Public news story.
Former NRCM Forests & Wildlife Director Cathy Johnson and her work to protect Maine’s environment are featured in Lincoln County News‘ “Characters of the County.”
Some communities, along with the University of Maine and the Penobscot Nation, have started an initiative called Penobscot Climate Action in order to make plans and help with solutions to deal with climate change.
And finally this week, here is a great News Center Maine story about the robust return of alewives to Maine rivers.
May 19, 2023
The past two weeks have been incredibly busy for us at the Maine Legislature. Yesterday was a hearing on one of our priority bills—the Offshore Wind Bill (LD 1895). NRCM and other groups testified in strong support of the bill. News Center Maine also reports that the Marine Mammal Commission, NOAA Fisheries, and the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management all say that there is no evidence that whales are dying because of offshore windfarms. And, to learn more about offshore wind, read this piece by CNN, which features all that is going on with offshore wind at the University of Maine.
On Monday of this week, the Legislature’s Environment and Natural Resources Committee heard testimony from NRCM and others about reforms to modernize Maine’s Bottle Bill. There are ways to streamline and make it easier for redemption centers and others to get these returnable cans and bottles recycled. NRCM testified in strong support of LD 1909.
NRCM and others, including the Frenchman Bay United group, have opposed an aquafarm proposed on Frenchman Bay near Mount Desert Island. Last week, it was announced that the American Aquafarms property has been placed up for auction due to foreclosure.
Mark your calendars and plan to join NRCM and others in Strong on June 10 for the return of the Sandy River Festival, which was last held in 2008. Learn more about the event, sponsored by the Town of Strong and NRCM. We hope to see you there!
Speaking of festivals coming back after a few years away…head to Benton this Saturday for the return of the Benton Alewife Festival — and if you can’t make it to the festival, still try to find time to head to Benton Falls to see the alewife migration for yourself. It’s not to be missed!
Mining rules are once again being discussed at the State House, and one bill, LD 1363, proposes some changes to the law, which is the strictest in the United States. NRCM supports this bill with amendments, and NRCM Staff Scientist Nick Bennett explains why in this Maine Monitor news story.
Wolfe’s Neck Farm in Freeport is starting to switch their herd of cows over to a fully grass-fed diet, reducing the need to ship in large amounts of grain to feed them. This will reduce their carbon footprint. Learn more from the Bangor Daily News.
Great news from the western Maine mountains region: two pieces of land at Quill Hill and Perham Stream have been permanently protected (13,000+ acres). Maine Public reports that, “The two properties….are a culturally significant part of Wabanaki traditional territory.”
Have you heard of Furbish’s lousewart? It is a plant that only grows on 140 miles along the St. John River in northern Maine and New Brunswick, Canada. That plant, discovered by Kate Furbish in the late 1800s and added to the endangered list was one of the reasons that the Dickey-Lincoln Dam proposed for that region was denied. NRCM worked for many years to ensure that that project didn’t happen as it would have flooded 88,000 acres of land, including the entire town of Allagash. Now the US Fish and Wildlife Service is recommending that the plant be removed from the endangered list and added to the threatened list.
May 4, 2023
Make plans to visit the Portland Museum of Art during the next two months to view artwork about climate change, created by young artists. Learn more from the Portland Press Herald.
Last month, a train derailed near Rockwood in the Moosehead Lake region, and now fishermen and women fear that the burning freight train and diesel fuel spilled into a nearby stream may have harmed pristine fishing streams in that area.
Late last month, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced a public comment period for offshore wind in an aera off the costs of Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts. The Maine Legislature will also begin discussing an offshore wind bill (LD 1895) in the coming weeks.
Good news for alewives in the St. Croix River: a grant from the National Fish Passage Program will help modernize the fishway at the Woodland Dam.
The new executive director of the Aroostook Regional Transportation System wants to expand bus service across the County.
Mining and protections for Maine’s environment from mining pollution are being discussed at the Legislature again this year. Read more in this Maine Monitor story, including quotes from NRCM Senior Director of Advocacy Pete Didisheim. NRCM helped Maine to pass the strictest mining law in the US several years ago.