Environment and Outdoors

Environmental news

Michael Dwyer / Associated Press

The Canadian government says it is taking steps to protect endangered North Atlantic right whales from encounters with fishing vessels and gear.

The whales are one of the world's rarest marine mammals, and they have struggled with high mortality in recent years, especially in Canadian waters. Fisheries and Oceans Canada says it is enacting temporary fisheries closures in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and off Quebec.

Courtesy University of Maine

FRENCHVILLE, Maine - Maine forestry officials are holding a meeting near the Canadian border to address the discovery of a destructive forest pest in the state.
The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry says the emerald ash borer was discovered recently in Madawaska, less than 200 yards from the Frenchville town line in Aroostook County. The agency and others are holding a public meeting Monday at 6:30 p.m. at the Frenchville Community Center.

Lucia Helder / Maine Public

By plane, you can travel the 173 miles of the Androscoggin River in about half an hour. By car, it would take about three hours. By canoe, you have to allow for about 13 days.

That’s how long it took Jen Deraspe. Deraspe launched in Errol, New Hampshire, an hour west of Rangeley, on June 2, and she completed her trek where the river meets the Atlantic in Topsham, Maine June 14. And Deraspe was on a mission.

“It is an inspired journey to see what could happen in the way of healing and restoring this river,” Deraspe said.

Courtesy Maine.gov

Preserving the Allagash Wilderness Waterway's logging history, while keeping the area wild, is one priority to come from a new report released Friday. 

The report was released by the Allagash Wilderness Waterway Foundation and the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands, which manages the area. 

Central Maine Power (CMP) and utilities in Massachusetts are announcing the finalization of a contract for CMP to build a new transmission line through western Maine.

The 20-year contract would bring hydro-electricity from Canada to customers in Massachusetts. The proposal is controversial as it is in the area of the Kennebec River Gorge, where CMP wants to site the high-voltage, direct-current power lines. The 145-mile project still must win state permits in Maine and Massachusetts, and faces federal review as well.

Jim Cole / AP Photo

Maine deer hunters scored their highest annual harvest in a decade during last year's hunting season, and state wildlife regulators say those numbers support a proposal to increase the number of any-deer permits.

Mark Latti, spokesperson for the state Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, said Thursday that last year's harvest of about 22,200 deer represented a 15 percent increase over 2016.

Bigelow Lab

Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences has a new president who wants to expand its research into how climate change is affecting marine environments around the world, but not so much that the organization loses its nimble, collaborative ethos.

BANGOR, Maine — Unseasonably cool temperatures in northern Maine have damaged crops across the region.

Aroostook County agricultural assistant Linda Trickey tells Bangor Daily News the area has experienced "pockets of frost everywhere." Trickey says the cooling has slowed down germination for crops like corn.

Farmers and gardeners across the region have seen temperatures drop down below freezing at night. Farmers and gardeners who can’t bring their seedlings indoors have lost their crops in some cases.

PORTLAND, Maine - A meeting of an international conservation group will bring government leaders and activist groups together in Maine's largest city to talk about saving the Atlantic salmon.
The meeting of the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization will take place from Tuesday to Friday in Portland. The event is being held in the United States for the first time in more than a decade. Last year it was in Sweden.

A.J. Higgins / Maine Public

More than 75 fishermen turned out in Brewer Wednesday for the first of two Maine hearings on proposed changes to the American eel fishery management plan.

WESTBOROUGH, Mass. - Workers at a Massachusetts supermarket have found a rare orange lobster.
Roche Bros. Supermarkets said in a Facebook post on May 29 workers at their Westborough store found the lobster in a shipment of crustaceans from Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia.
It has since donated the lobster to the New England Aquarium in Boston.
The Lobster Institute at the University of Maine says the likelihood of a lobster being orange is about 1 in 30 million.

An official in a Vermont town wants to cut down numerous ash trees before they can become infested by an invasive pest.

Berlin Tree Warden Beth Daut says it would be safer and cheaper to remove the trees now than to wait for a possible infestation by the emerald ash borer.

The Times Argus reports that Daut told the Select Board this week that it is only a matter of time before the pests hit Berlin's trees.

Susan Sharon / Maine Public

Originally published June 5, 2018.

The Portland-based Biodiversity Research Institute is calling the return of an adult, male loon to a chain of ponds in southeastern Massachusetts “a major milestone in loon conservation.”

John Holyoke / Bangor Daily News

CHASE STREAM TOWNSHIP, Maine — Somewhere nearby, likely up this skidder path a few hundred yards, or perhaps down the wooded trail that will follow, is a pond. Emily Bastian knows it’s there. She knows it holds brook trout. But she’s not exactly sure of the best way to approach it.

Fred Bever / Maine Public

Solar power’s emergence as an important feature of New England’s energy landscape just hit an important milestone.

Normally the amount power drawn from the regional grid is lowest at night. But one sunny day this spring, residential solar arrays flipped that pattern around — and the phenomenon will likely become more frequent in New England.

It happened on April 21.