George Smith's blog

Maine Warden Service strangling fisheries and wildlife management.

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It’s a roadmap to the agency’s priorities and programs. And some of the things along that road will surprise you.

I just received a financial report on the revenues and expenditures of Maine’s Fish and Wildlife Department for Fiscal Year 2014, from July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2014.

The agency received $35,860,125 from 55 revenue sources and spent $37,360,309 in its 7 divisions. While it’s a bit of a mystery as to how they came to spend more than they raised, Commissioner Chandler Woodcock did disclose recently that the agency currently has a $3 million surplus.

If you don’t read any more of this report, please consider this:

Kid's book delivers important environmental message

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Gramma Golden is as interesting as her children’s book, It’s a Great Day for Pulling Weeds. A nurse and health care educator, Janet Golden, aka Gramma Golden, in her retirement, is focused on teaching young people to be good environmental stewards.

She writes a monthly newspaper column and, with her husband, maintains gardens and property as both an Audubon Bird and Butterfly Sanctuary and National Wildlife Federation certified habitats.  This is her first book, focused on how gardening practices can help or harm birds and butterflies.

Homeless Deer may be doomed in Maine's north woods

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“We’re not going to do very well as long as deer are homeless.”

Representative Bob Duchesne’s comment sums up the problem nicely. Without habitat – especially wintering yards – deer are doomed. Bob’s radio show with Erin Simons-Legaard, a research professor at the University of Maine’s Forestry School, was – well, there’s no other way to describe it – discouraging and depressing.

But you must listen to it. And you can do that here:

In about a month, the report Erin talks about on the show will be published. It’s an impressive look at wildlife habitat in Maine’s forests from 1975 to 2007. That includes the time period when the Forest Practices Act was enacted to govern forest harvesting practices (including limits on clearcuts), and the spruce budworm epidemic.

The devil is in the details of Maine’s 2015 moose management plan

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Permits to hunt moose in Maine will be reduced this year, but not nearly as sharply as they were in 2014 when we lost about 1000 permits.

However, when you get into the details of the permit proposal from the Wildlife Division professionals at Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, you will find that the only reason the total number of permits will be reduced is a significant cut in WMD 2.

In that district, the legislature directed DIF&W in 2010 to decrease the moose population to reduce motor vehicle collisions with this beast of the woods. And Judy Camuso, DIF&W’s very capable Wildlife Division Director, told me that the population has been reduced in WMD 2, the goal has been met, and consequently the recommendation for 2015 is to reduce permits in that district by 300.

Dinner and a Show

City or Town: 
Waterville
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At Amici’s Cucina we were transported to Tuscany. But it was only a short walk to the Waterville Opera House for another great performance.

Linda

                Mary and Angelo Carpinito have created a very inviting space for dining at their restaurant, Amici’s Cucina, on Main Street in Waterville. While there were people in the bar – a space that also offers tables for dining - we had the interior dining room almost to ourselves when we arrived at 5 pm for an early dinner before a show at the Waterville Opera House.

A lobstering tale of murder, mayhem, love and loyalty

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This is lobstering like you’ve never known or experienced it. And this is what I can tell you about Jon Keller’s awesome novel, Of Sea and Cloud, a tale of murder, mayhem, and mystery, along with love and loyalty amongst families of Maine lobstermen and women.

I abandoned a lengthy to-do list after lunch yesterday, started a fire in the wood stove, and spent the afternoon reading the second half of Keller’s novel, published in 2014 by Tyrus Books. I’d read the first half on Monday and Tuesday nights, but I just couldn’t wait to find out what happened in this compelling story. Linda insisted I set it aside long enough to eat dinner. I finished it about 8 pm.

Moose ticks, legislation, management recommendations and more

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This is the third of three columns about Maine’s moose. Part I, posted two days ago, includes a bit of history of moose issues, management, research and the lottery. Part II, posted yesterday, covers issues debated in the last two legislative sessions and brings us up-to-date. Part III recognizes the important advances DIF&W has made recently in its moose research and management, but notes all that we don’t know, and offers some challenging suggestions for the future. After each of the three columns, readers are invited to share their opinions on these issues.

                We know a lot about moose. The 2014 Research & Management Report of Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife contains an impressive amount of information about moose. The report includes details of the 2014 moose hunting season, including success rates by season and permit type.

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