Environment and Outdoors

Environmental news

BANGOR, Maine — The federal government has agreed to pay Maine about $413,000 to clean up decades-old hazardous pollution at oil storage facilities.

Maine Attorney General Janet Mills alleged two weeks ago in U.S. District Court that Maine faces $10.8 million in total cleanup costs for pollution at former Portland-Bangor Waste Oil Co. sites in Casco and Ellsworth.

The lawsuit claimed the Department of Defense had used the sites, which stored waste in tanks that leaked contaminants like lead into the ground.

BAR HARBOR, Maine — A nonprofit formed by the co-founder of Maine-based personal care products company Burt’s Bees has donated roughly 100 acres of land to Acadia National Park.

The Portland Press Herald reports Roxanne Quimby and her foundation, Elliotsville Plantation Inc., had been working for years to acquire "inholdings" within the park on Mount Desert Island.

The inholdings donated by Quimby’s foundation were either inside or adjacent to the park boundary. The 13 parcels are valued at just under $2 million collectively.

State health officials are urging Mainers to take precautions as tickborne diseases surge in the state.

The Maine Center For Disease Control and Prevention says, as warm weather continues and Mainers enjoy outdoor activities, the state has received a record number of tickborne disease reports.

While mention of ticks often brings Lyme disease to mind, state epidemiologist Dr Siri Bennett says deer ticks can also carry other diseases such as anaplamosis and babesiosis, which are also on the rise.

By Michael Casey - The Associated Press
TILTON, N.H. - By putting tracking devices on ospreys, scientists are unraveling some of the mysteries behind the marathon migration of these fish-eating birds.

The brown and white birds spend their spring and summer in New England breeding before flying thousands of miles to South America. They spend their winters there.

Researchers at the University of Maine are using a $400,000 three year grant to study the survival of endangered Atlantic Salmon moving upstream in the Penobscot River as adults and moving downstream into the ocean as juveniles.

“Trying to understand the connectivity in the life history for these fish and certainly looking at that in the context of dams as impediments for movement in terms of delay as well as in terms of survival,” says Joe Zydlewski, a professor in the department of wildlife fisheries and conservation biology at the University of Maine.

PORTLAND, Maine - Maine's Department of Marine Resources has reopened the menhaden fishery, after closing it earlier this month.

Department spokesperson Jeff Nichols says the state closed the fishery because initial reports seemed to indicate that the quota of menhaden - or pogies - for Maine, Rhode Island and New York, had been used up.

But Nichols says that's turned out not to be true. "We determined that there still are more fish to catch."

If you drive by Portland’s Back Cove, you may have noticed a green slime on the tidal flats this summer.

Algae blooms have also been reported in other communities up the coast, and it’s a cause for concern to environmentalists, who point to nitrogen-rich wastewater runoff as a contributor.

The transcript for this story is not available.

Campobello Whale Rescue

A team of scientists and fishermen rescued an endangered right whale off Campobello Island this weekend, freeing the animal from tangled fishing gear in a five-hour effort.

By Marina Villeneuve, The Associated Press
BANGOR, Maine - Maine is again seeking money from the federal government to clean up decades-old hazardous pollution at oil storage facilities.
In an Aug. 9 lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court, Democratic Attorney General Janet Mills estimates Maine faces $10 million in total cleanup costs for pollution at former Portland-Bangor Waste Oil Co. sites in Casco and Ellsworth.

State fisheries officials are urging Maine anglers to keep in mind that recent hot dry weather can have a negative effect on coldwater species such as trout and landlocked salmon.

Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Fisheries Director Francis Brautigam says this time of year, it’s not unusual to experience low flows and elevated water temperatures in streams, lakes and ponds. He says the real difference this year is the duration.

Those fishing are being asked to be more conscientious when fishing and handling fish.

AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine Department of Environmental Protection has released an advisory warning that ground-level ozone concentrations are expected to reach unhealthy levels.

The Portsmouth Herald reports unhealthy levels are expected to be experienced Thursday along Maine’s coast from Kittery to Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island.

By Michael Casey, The Associated Press
CONCORD, N.H. - A study has found that noise from shipping in North Atlantic waters is impacting the feeding behavior of humpback whales.

Writing in the Royal Society's journal Biology Letters Wednesday, researchers found that some whales in the Gulf of Maine changed their foraging behavior due to ship noise. Some decreased the speed that they descended while others demonstrated fewer side-rolls - a technique used by the whales for feeding on sand lance fish.

For the first time since 2002, the Maine Emergency Management Agency has brought together the Drought Task Force to assess conditions in the state.

MEMA Director Bruce Fitzgerald says it’s dry in parts of Maine, but not as dry as the 2002 drought.

“We’re dry right now, but we’re not that dry,” he says. “It sounds like the lack of snow this winter — we had a very low snow winter — and in southern Maine at least, the snow melted early and so our groundwater has not had chance to recharge.”

PORTLAND, Maine - New restrictions might be proposed for southern New England's lobster fishery as it deals with a steep decline in population.

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission is considering ways to save the lobsters and might cast a vote on Thursday.

A report from the commission says that one way to slow the loss of lobsters could be to increase the minimum harvesting size for the crustaceans.

John Drury / Courtesy photo

Editor's note: Since this story was originally published — on Friday, July 29 — Explore.org, in partnership with the National Audubon Society, captured this dramatic slow-motion footage of a bald eagle attacking ospreys on Hog Island, Maine. Watch below, then read our story about what the bald eagles' resurgence means for other bird species.

Call it conservation blowback: Since the 1970s, when the pesticide DDT was banned and the Endangered Species Act took effect, the emblematic American bald eagle’s population has roared back from near-extinction. But more eagles need more food, and for some other struggling bird species — here in Maine and around the country — the eagle’s success story has a menacing side.