DIF&W Committee Debates Dams and Fish Passage

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The legislature’s Fish and Wildlife Committee jumped right into a controversial issue with its very first public hearings of this session, held this afternoon.

 LD 134, An Act to Provide Native Landlocked Salmon Fisheries from Invasive Fish Species, sponsored by Rep. Paul Davis, would prohibit the construction of a fishway or fish bypass structure that would allow invasive fish species to pass over the barrier dams on the Sebec River in Milo and at the outlet of Sebec Lake.

 “As a result of the Penobscot River Restoration a fish bypass will be build around the Howland Dam to allow native fish to return to the waters they originated from,” testified Davis. “This will include Atlantic salmon and several other species that have not been able to access the upper rivers for many years.”

Advice for Commissioner Woodcock

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I've offered advice for Chandler Woodcock in my newspaper column today.

Chandler will be announced today at a 10 am press conference in the Cabinet Room at the State Capitol as Governor LePage's choice to lead the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. 

My Down East blog yesterday reported on the savvy legislative strategy being followed by Maine's environmental groups.

Rockland's the Choice for Reading, Shopping, Eating

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Rockland’s hasn’t just had a facelift. It’s had a personality transplant. Multiple visits over the past two decades have shown a town that has evolved into a tourist destination. And it’s a great place for Mainers to spend a day. That’s why we found ourselves there on Martin Luther King Day this year.

We went to Rockland specifically to eat at two restaurants we’d not visited in a decade, and to sandwich a visit to nearby Union to visit our daughter Rebekah and grandson Vishal in between the glutinous feasting. We also managed to make some purchases in favorite Rockland shops.

Woodcock, Wolves, and Whoopies

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I’m going to begin posting Monday blogs that update you on issues and inform you about what’s coming up in the week ahead. Here we go.

On Tuesday (February 8) I had expected Governor Paul LePage to announce his nominee for Commissioner of the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. But that announcement has been put off until next Monday (February 14), just coincidentally Valentine's Day. The Governor is engrossed in preparation of his biennial budget that will be presented to the legislature on Thursday of this week.

As I reported on January 28, the Governor has made a splendid choice in Chandler Woodcock. After the Governor’s press conference, I’ll file a complete report on this exciting development.

A Day in Augusta

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I had an interesting morning in Augusta today at the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and the legislature and will report now on the following:

Deer Action Plan

Hunting Rights in Baxter Park’s Katahdin Lake Parcel

Legislation on hunting with dogs

Representative Paul Davis, the sponsor of LD 55, An Act to Restore Hunting Rights in the Katahdin Lake Region, scheduled for a public hearing on Thursday, has withdrawn the bill. It would have forced Baxter Park to restore hunting in the Katahdin Lake parcel acquired by the Park after a contentious battle at the legislature two years ago.

Finally! It's Woodcock at DIF&W.

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Finally! It’s Woodcock at DIF&W.

 Former Senator and Republican gubernatorial candidate Chandler Woodcock will be Maine’s next Commissioner of the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

 Woodcock is an avid hunter and angler and a superb choice for this important position.

 It’s important that I report that Woodcock was not the source of this report. While the Governor’s search for a commissioner of this important agency dragged on, rumors ran rampant. Because no one at the Capitol can keep a secret, it wasn’t difficult to find out who the governor interviewed, or even what he was thinking about the candidates.

But it became clear, as the process continued, that he was looking for the strongest leader he could find. He wanted someone who can shake things up at DIF&W and bring real change to the agency.

Darryl Brown Gets Grilled in Augusta

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Darryl Brown Gets Grilled in Augusta. 

Darryl Brown got grilled in Augusta this afternoon, and by my estimate, he is now well done. Or should I say he’s done well?

 Brown, Governor Paul LePage’s nominee for Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection, was not well served by the Governor’s release – just one day before Brown’s hearing - of a lengthy list of regulatory reforms focused on the DEP and other natural resource agencies. That list alarmed environmentalists and provided a rich area of exploration for Democrats on the Natural Resources Committee, the committee that held a public hearing on Brown’s nomination today, and environmental groups in their testimony at the hearing.

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