Late Winter 2019 Newsletter
Maine Association of Conservation Commissions
Opinion: Maine farms have key role to play in combating climate change
Portland Press Herald - Thursday, March 7, 2019
Many people understand that woodland can sequester carbon, yet don’t realize how beneficial well-managed farmland can be. In Maine Farms, the journal of Maine Farmland Trust, three years ago I wrote, “Farming…has the potential to help mitigate climate change….The right farming practices applied in the right places can make a real difference.” I now have a deeper understanding of the role agriculture can and must play: First, agriculture can reduce its own greenhouse-gas emissions. Second, farmland can sequester vast amounts of carbon. Lastly, farmland that remains in farming can prevent higher future emissions. In all these areas, Maine has a key role to play. ~ John Piotti, president of American Farmland Trust and past president of Maine Farmland Trust
Maine Launching Urgent Effort To Survey Insect Population Following 'Stunning' Declines Globally
Maine Public - Thursday, March 7, 2019
Maine is launching an urgent effort to assess the state's insect populations. The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is undertaking the initiative after new studies showed a steep decline in populations of insects across the globe. It's expected to take several months to get a snapshot of how Maine's insect populations are faring, and much longer to determine whether they are also in rapid decline.
Column: A catastrophic decline of insects
Kennebec Journal - Thursday, February 28, 2019
A study published last month of insect population research states unequivocally that “the demise of major insect taxa … (has) attained alarming proportions globally over the last two decades.” At the current rates of decline, the study says, 40 percent of the Earth’s insect species could go extinct in the next few decades. What is killing the insects? Habitat loss, pollution, biological factors, climate change. Is there any hope? Yes, if humans make changes. “Habitat restoration, coupled with a drastic reduction in agro-chemical inputs and agricultural ‘redesign’, is probably the most effective way to stop further declines,” the study says. ~ Dana Wilde
Editor’s Note: Here’s a link to the study: file:///C:/Users/HP/Downloads/1-s2.0-S0006320718313636-main.pdf and a link to a chart from the study: https://3c1703fe8d.site.internapcdn.net/newman/gfx/news/2019/chartsshowin.jpg
Washington Post - Thursday, March 7, 2019
Chocolate, alcohol and Twitter are some of the popular indulgences many Christians give up during the period of Lent leading up to Easter. But this year, some churches are encouraging congregants to give up plastics. The Rev. James Martin, a popular author and priest who is an editor at large for America magazine, said encouraging giving up of plastics for Lent would be in the spirit of Pope Francis’s major document on the environment that came out in 2015. “Giving up plastic would benefit the common good more than giving up chocolate,” Martin said.
State: Now is the time to start fighting browntail moths
Times Record - Friday, March 1, 2019
This National Invasive Species Awareness Week, entomologists from the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry are reminding Mainers that now is the best time to remove browntail caterpillars from trees that are accessible. Browntail caterpillars cause a poison ivy-like rash and they are impacting a broad swath of Maine. “NOW is the time to look for the bright white silk tying a few leaves to the TIPS of oak and fruit tree branches,” according to the Maine Forest Service. “If you see a web CLIP IT OUT and destroy the web by dropping it in a bucket of soapy water and soaking it overnight; do not just leave it on the ground."
Opinion: Green New Deal offers a possible route to conquer climate challenge
Bangor Daily News - Monday, February 25, 2019
Conquering the climate challenge will not be easy. But as long as we keep moving, we will get there eventually. The Green New Deal offers a major step forward. Finally, at long last, we have a plan that shows the way out of base camp, and now we need to go up the mountain. ~ Paul Mayewski, Climate Change Institute, University of Maine
Maine could be among first in U.S. to ban plastic bags statewide
Maine Sunday Telegram - Sunday, February 24, 2019
With a growing patchwork of local restrictions and the rising cost of improperly disposed-of bags, Maine may become one of the first states – and the first in New England – to ban single-use plastic bags. Even retailers who once opposed bans or fees on plastic bags say it may be time to consider a comprehensive state policy.
‘Skip the Straw’ campaign gains momentum in Kennebunk
Journal Tribune - Wednesday, February 20, 2019
Since last fall, representatives of The Planeteers of Southern Maine, a grass roots environmental action alliance, have visited 100 restaurants and coffee houses in Kennebunk, Kennebunkport, Arundel and Wells and asked owners and managers to agree to forgo plastic straws. Friday is National “Skip the Straw” Day and the project coincides with that effort to bring attention to the environmental impact of single-use plastic items and curb litter and plastic ocean pollution.
Maine Reps. Take Next Steps in York River 'Wild and Scenic' Designation
Maine Public - Saturday, February 16, 2019
Maine Rep. Chellie Pingree-D, has introduced legislation that advances a years-long effort to designate the York River as a Wild and Scenic River System, a program managed by the National Park Service. The moves follows a three-year study on the York River watershed, as well as advancement measures passed in the towns of York and Eliot in November, and supportive resolutions adopted in Kittery and South Berwick. Pingree says the designation could mean more federal funding and technical assistance for the waterway and its tributaries, and she says that being part of the NPS program could help raise the region's profile as a visitor destination. Maine Rep. Jared Golden-D, has signed as co-sponsor.
Falmouth gets grant to create watershed management plan
Forecaster - Tuesday, February 12, 2019
Falmouth has received a $15,000 grant to help evaluate the health of its watersheds and provide a foundation for future management. The funding came from the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry and will be administered by the Greater Portland Council of Governments. The hope is that this work will provide a case study for other municipalities to follow.
Scientists: 2018 was 4th-warmest year on record
Associated Press - Wednesday, February 6, 2019
While 2018 was the fourth-warmest year on record, British meteorologists are predicting the next five years will be much hotter, maybe even record-breaking. Two U.S. agencies, the United Kingdom Met Office and the World Meteorological Organization analyzed global temperatures in slightly different ways, but each came to the same conclusion Wednesday: 2018 was the fourth-warmest year on record behind 2016, 2015 and 2017.
MEACC Annual Conference April 27, 2019 Saturday 9AM
Keynote Presentation: Climate Change Impacts to and Adaptive Strategies for Coastal and Inland Communities.
Amanda Shearin, Habitat Outreach Coordinator with Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife will be the keynote speaker. Prior to joining MDIFW in 2014 Amanda worked on multiple natural resource issues across Maine, New England and internationally, including wildlife and transportation conflicts, vernal pools and wetland ecology, fishless lakes, sustainable agriculture and cetacean ecology. She holds a Ph.D. in Ecology and Environmental Sciences.
Presentation 2. Fred Snow will discuss how conservation commission involvement in Comprehensive Plan updates can make a difference with examples from town plans he has consulted on. He will also present some ways to build support for projects and encourage participation. He has more than 25 years of experience in community planning and is president of MEACC.
Conservation Commission Share Time. Each attending conservation commission will share through a spokesperson what and how they have been doing the past year and any concerns and lessons learned. Attendees at past annual meetings have found “Share Time” invaluable.
Networking Lunch. We’re offering lunch along with an opportunity to network with other conservation commissioners. Lunch will be free for attendees from a CC that is a MEACC member, $5 for those from a nonmember CC, and $10 for others.
Where: Morrell Meeting Room, Curtis Memorial Library, 23 Pleasant St. Brunswick, ME. Note: Use Morrell Meeting Room entrance door, which faces Middle St.. The rest of the library will be closed until 9:30AM.
RSVP. Please RSVP how many from your CC will be attending to Fred Snow via firstname.lastname@example.org
Pownal Conservation Commission
Proposed CMP Transmission Line Project
The Pownal Conservation Commission Is Opposed to the proposed CMP Transmission Line Project. In reviewing what information is available online, it is our opinion that this project would have a major negative impact on both the land and the community of Pownal. The Proposal includes not only rebuilding the transmission line from Lewiston to the Pownal substation, but also constructing an entirely new substation covering 6.14 acres bordering Fickett Road, and new transmission lines connecting the two.
The Western Maine Mountain landscape is also threatened by a irreversible corridor clear cut 150’ wide. This would permanently scar our wilderness which is critical wildlife habitat and provides outdoor recreation both of which are crucial elements to Maine’s tourism economy.
The Conservation Commission feels that they, the citizens of Pownal and the State of Maine have not been adequately informed as to the detailed proposals, and therefore have not been able to fully assess all the potential impacts ecologically, economically and community wise.
This is a time sensitive issue, and we hope that Conservation Commissions around the state will express their positions on this project and share concerns about the impacts on their local area.
How Behavioral Science
Can Help Conservation
John Mattor, chair of Hollis Conservation Commission and a member of MEACC’s Board of Directors shared a thought-provoking article from Science Magazine about how behavioral insights could increase the effectiveness of conservation initiatives. Here’s a link to the article: http://science.sciencemag.org/content/362/6417/889/tab-pdf
Plant Conservation Volunteer Program
As part of the New England Plant Conservation Program (NEPCoP), Plant Conservation Volunteers help the New England Flower Society maintain current information about the status of rare plant species in New England. For more information: http://newenglandwild.org/conserve/saving-imperiled-plants/plant-conservation.html
Community Engagement Academy
For those interested in learning how to increase community engagement in local projects check out the Community Engagement Academy:
Grant Application Deadlines
Nellie Leaman Taft Charitable Foundation 4/5/19 https://ignitephilanthropy.com/grant-seekers/nellie-leaman-taft-foundation/how-to-apply/
Davis Conservation Foundation 4/10/19 https://www.davisfoundations.org/dcf/apply
Quimby Family Foundation 4/15/19 https://www.quimbyfamilyfoundation.org/apply#deadlines
John Sage Foundation 4/30/16 http://www.johnsagefoundation.org/grant-guidelines.html
Recreational Trails Program Regional Workshops
The Recreational Trails Program (RTP) provides up to 80% funding assistance for acquisition and or development of all kinds of recreational trails. Eligible project sponsors can be any land managing agency or organization, even private landowners, as long as the trails developed or improved are open and accessible to the public. This is a very flexible program to help solve a wide range of your trail needs.
While it is not required to attend one of these workshops in order to apply for RTP assistance, the information covered in these workshops is sure to increase your chances of funding. This year staff from the Maine Conservation Corps will also be present at each workshop, providing a great one stop shopping for all things trails, conservation and outdoor recreation. Follow this link to register now.
2019 RTP workshops:
Monday, April 1, 1-4pm – Bethel, Mahoosuc Land Trust Offices
Tuesday, April 2, 1-4pm – Standish Municipal Center
Wednesday, April 3, 1pm-4pm – Ellsworth City Hall
Thursday, April 4, 9–noon - Wiscasset Community Center
Friday, April 5, 1-4pm - Greenville Town Office
Tuesday April 9, 6-9pm - Caribou Wellness Center
Please pre-register by March 29. Workshops may be cancelled if there is insufficient interest.
Membership Dues 2018
To become a member or renew membership to MEACC go to:
for a dues schedule and other information. Dues can be mailed to: MEACC, 665 Western Ave., Manchester, ME 04351.
MEACC membership dues for the fiscal year beginning 7/1/18 are due. We depend entirely on membership dues to maintain our work to support you. We hope you will support us with your dues. Thank you in advance.
Please check with your Town Office to confirm that they have our current address.