Environment and Outdoors

Environmental news

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press

GEORGETOWN, Maine - New England's clam harvest is in decline, and people who want to save it are encouraging the industry to try turning to a new model - farming.

Fishermen have harvested soft-shell clams from coastal mud in Maine and other states for hundreds of years. But threats such as growing populations of predators drove Maine's harvest to its lowest total since the 1930s last year.

Credit Paul Cyr / Crown of Maine Photography

State and federal wildlife authorities are asking the public for help in determining who fatally shot a bald eagle.

Officials with the Maine Warden Service say the dead eagle was found on Chain Lake Boulevard, also known as Mill Road, in Day Block Township, located in Washington County.

The eagle was found inside a bucket tossed along a travel way. An X-ray of the eagle showed that it was riddled with dozens of shotgun pellets. The condition of the eagle's body indicates that it was killed several weeks ago, officials say.

Nick Woodward / Maine Public

Alewives, or river herring, are making their usual spawning migration to Maine in unusually high numbers this year, thanks in part to restoration efforts and the removal of dams on the Penobscot and Kennebec Rivers.

Michael C. York / Associated Press/file

A pair of conservation groups says it has struck a deal with commercial fishermen in Greenland and the Faroe Islands to protect thousands of vulnerable Atlantic salmon.

Commercial fishing for Atlantic salmon is prohibited in the United States, where the fish's Gulf of Maine population is listed under the Endangered Species Act. 

Bangor, Maine - Officials in Orono say dead fish washing up on Maine waterfronts is due to work on a local dam.
Brookfield Renewable says the dead fish found washed up in Bangor and Brewer is a result of work being done on the Orono Dam. WABI-TV reports crews had most of the dead fish cleaned up by Tuesday.
Brookfield Renewable said in a statement that fish deaths occurred due to reduced flows from the dam, and that they worked to rescue fish that remained stranded in bypass pools.

Northeast Fisheries Observer Program / via NEFSC/NOAA

PORTLAND, Maine - Yes, those baby seals are cute. No, you should definitely not touch them.
That's the message from the federal government, which is reminding beachgoers that it's pupping season for harbor seals along the New England coast. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says it's common to see seal pups resting on beaches in Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts during this time.

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources via AP

An invasive pest that has killed hundreds of millions of ash trees in North America has finally been found in Maine.

Maine conservation and forestry officials say they have long anticipated that the emerald ash borer, a forest insect from Asia, would make its way to the state.

State Entomologist Dave Struble says they have been looking for the borer in the state for about 15 years and finally found it last week in Madawaska. The ash borer had just been discovered across the river in Edmunston, New Brunswick.

PORTLAND, Maine — Two conservation groups say a deal has been struck with commercial fishermen in Greenland and the Faroe Islands to protect thousands of vulnerable Atlantic salmon.

Commercial fishing for Atlantic salmon is prohibited in the United States, where the fish’s Gulf of Maine population is listed under the Endangered Species Act. The Atlantic Salmon Federation and North Atlantic Salmon Fund say their new deal with Greenland and Faroe Island fishers will allow more fish to return to the rivers of North America and Europe.

Gabor Degre / Bangor Daily News

The old saying about migrating fish holds that during the peak of a run, it’d be possible to walk from stream bank to stream bank on the backs of the fish, and never get your feet wet.

The Trump administration has announced plans to increase access to hunting and fishing on national wildlife refuges, including three in Maine.

The Portland Press Herald reports the proposal announced Monday by U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke would open about 250,000 acres to hunting and fishing.

The three Maine refuges that would be affected are the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge in York, the Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge in Washington County and the Lake Umbagog National Wildlife Refuge along the New Hampshire-Maine border.

A Maine state project aims to bring salmon and river herring back to a tributary of one of the state's major rivers.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is using its Species Recovery Grants to States Program to award more than $310,000 to the Maine Department of Marine Resources for the project. The state wants to restore salmon and herring back to Togus Stream.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press

When state wildlife officials last formulated a long-range management plan for moose back in 1999, the population was booming, and both wildlife watchers and hunters could count on finding the state’s iconic critters in likely spots.

Today, the population is lower, and as biologists have gathered valuable data over the last eight years, a grim reality has begun to creep into discussions: We may still have too many moose, and the density of moose in some regions may be linked to thriving parasites and an unhealthy herd.

Patty Wight / Maine Public

The Maine Department of Environmental Protection got an earful at a public hearing Tuesday from a group of high school and middle school students worried about climate change.

The public hearing was prompted by a petition the students filed earlier this year about what they say is the state's failure to do its part to protect them. They're are asking the DEP to take steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Wells Police Department

An endangered North Atlantic right whale has been swimming off the coast of York County — a rare sighting of the giant mammal at a time when its population may be headed toward extinction.

The whale has been seen swimming — and spouting — off Cape Neddick, Ogunquit, and Wells over the past few days. Tony LaCasse, a spokesman at the New England Aquarium, says right whales historically have spent time in the spring in eastern Cape Cod Bay, but this year have been showing up closer to the mainland shore — including in the Marblehead, Massachusetts, area.

Paul Cyr / Crown of Maine Photography

Maine wildlife officials say the recovery of the bald eagle is a true conservation success story. In the 1970's there were fewer than 40 nesting pairs in Maine, predominately Down East, but five years ago there were more than 600 nesting pairs of eagles scattered across the state.

"Back then it was extremely rare to see a bald eagle. Now if you're in certain areas of the state it can be a daily occurrence," says Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife spokesman Mark Latti.