Environment and Outdoors

Environmental news

PORTLAND, Maine - Federal regulators say they are reviewing the status of the porbeagle shark to determine if listing the species under the Endangered Species Act is warranted.

The National Marine Fisheries Service says it is taking responding to a recent court order and new information about the sharks. The service says it will compile information for use in a status report about the sharks. It will then be independently peer reviewed. A decision on whether to list the sharks should be made by December.

AUGUSTA, Maine - A bill that proposes to add two bat species that have been severely reduced by white nose syndrome to Maine's endangered species list will be the subject of a public hearing in April.
The state Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife wants to add the northern long-eared bat and little brown bat to the list. Wildlife officials said last year that cave counts of the species showed nearly 90 percent declines. The eastern small-footed bat is also being proposed for the state's threatened species list.

By Bob Salsberg, The Associated Press

BOSTON — From picturesque coastal estuaries of Cape Cod to the soaring White Mountains, much of New England's rich native flora is fighting for survival against increasing odds, according to what conservationists call the most comprehensive accounting ever made of the region's plant life.

PORTLAND, Maine — Friends of Casco Bay is looking for volunteers to help measure the coastal Maine bay's water quality.

Citizens Stewards Coordinator Peter Milholland says volunteers will work in teams to share the monitoring of 40 shore sites on 10 Saturdays from April to October. The group says its "citizen scientists" do not need background in science to help monitor the bay.

Tom Porter / MPBN

AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine lawmakers are considering several bills that would discourage the use of plastic bags by retailers, including one that would impose a fee for their use. Meanwhile, food retailers in Portland are gearing up for an ordinance also designed to limit the use of plastic bags.