© 2023 Maine Public | Registered 501(c)(3) EIN: 22-3171529
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Environmental groups highlight bill to protect habitat for endangered Maine species

Robert F. Bukaty
AP file
In this Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017 photo, mallard ducks fly over the Rachel Carson Wildlife Refuge in Wells, Maine. The refuge is one of several threatened ecosystems along the coast that provide vital habitats for animals such as birds, crustaceans and shellfish.

An environmental coalition on Friday announced its top priorities for the current legislative session, including a bill to protect habitat for endangered species.

At a virtual event sponsored by Maine's Environmental Priorities Coalition, Maine Audubon's Eliza Donoghue said the number of threatened and endangered species is growing in Maine, partly due to climate change and habitat loss.

While the state has a number of policies to protect these species, she says most environmental permits for smaller projects don't have to consider or mitigate the effects on their habitat. Donoghue says that's a gaping hole that a bill sponsored by Democrat Lori Gramlich of Old Orchard Beach would fill.

"Incremental habitat loss, one poorly sited driveway or septic system at a time, can have a big impact on vulnerable species, species that are really on the brink, where every population and often every individual really counts," Donoghue says.

The coalition also highlighted bills to protect tribal sovereignty, develop offshore wind, promote trails, and conserve forests.

Murray Carpenter is Maine Public’s climate reporter, covering climate change and other environmental news.