Conservation Education

Table of Contents


  • 09-5-4: Why Invasive Plants Take Over
    ScienceDaily (May 4, 2009) — New research shows that two key causes of plant invasion--escape from natural enemies, and increases in plant resources--act in concert. This result helps to explain the dramatic invasions by exotic plants occurring worldwide. It also indicates that global change is likely to exacerbate invasion by exotic plants.

  • 09-5-2:  Why more fertiliser harms plant diversity
    The 35-year-old mystery of why fertilisers decrease biodiversity has finally been solved. The secret? They increase competition for sunlight.

  • 09-5-2: Conservation Commission seeks to educate homeowners on best landscaping practices
    KENNEBUNKPORT — If you're a lobster living in the waters around Kennebunkport, here's some good news: The members of the town's Conservation Commission are working with students from the University of New England and a few conscientious landscapers to make sure your water is kept chemical free.
    On Wednesday night, they sponsored a "Lawns for Lobsters" event to educate people on the dangers harsh lawn chemicals can present to the area's wildlife and aquaculture.

  • 09-4-23: Courier Connection: Lawn care could impact lobsters (April 23, 2009)
    Now that snow has melted off lawns, it's time to get outside for landscaping and working to turn that grass nice and green. But if you're laying down pesticides and fertilizers to keep insects at bay and soil nutrient rich, you might want to consider a caution from local lobstermen.
    When lobsterman and Kennebunkport Selectman Alan Daggett looks back at the shore to see a patchwork of brownish green, bright green and almost blue lawns, he said it becomes obvious which homeowners use fertilizer on their lawn.
    "I'm not an expert to say what that does to the watershed, but with the chemicals in pesticides and fertilizers it can't be good. It could go into your wells and it will go down with watershed," Daggett said, adding he does not want to consider how chemicals may affect lobsters, which are distantly related to insects targeted by pesticides.

  • 09-4-15: Fight Water Pollution in Your Own Backyard
    Greentips: April 2009
    When rain falls faster than the ground can absorb it, it runs off into storm drains along with any contaminants in its path, such as oil and grease, de-icing salts, heavy metals, pesticides, and bacteria from trash and animal waste. The Environmental Protection Agency reports that urban runoff—in which 77 of 127 key pollutants have been detected—is one of the largest sources of water contamination nationwide.
    We can all help minimize the problem of storm water runoff by planting rain gardens—6- to 12-inch-deep depressions filled with native plants. Rain gardens can capture hundreds of gallons of rainwater, filtering out up to 90 percent of pollutants while allowing the water to drain deep enough into the soil to help recharge groundwater supplies.

  • 09-4-15: Beware of Backyard Invaders
    The Nature Conservancy urges gardeners to help stop the spread of America’s worst weeds
    Brunswick, Maine — With the arrival of spring, The Nature Conservancy is asking gardeners across Maine to check their yards and gardens for plants that can escape cultivation and cause tremendous damage to the natural environment and the national economy.
    Plants such as purple loosestrife, kudzu, giant salvinia, multiflora rose and tree of heaven have been used widely in horticulture and landscaping, and can be found in backyards and business lots across the country. At first glance these plants may look pretty, but their beauty is deceptive.




  • 09-5-4: Maine State Conservation
    Resources for the Citizens of Maine

  • 09-5-4: Private Landowner Network
    The Private Landowner Network is designed to help private landowner
    conservation initiatives by providing referral networks, educational materials and other resources
    to help Resources for the Citizens of Mainethe estate tax problems faced by landowners all across the country who love their
    land and who want to keep their land in the family.

  • Audubon At Home
    What is TogetherGreen?
    TogetherGreen,a new Audubon initiative made possible by a generous grant from Toyota, funds innovative conservation projects, supports environmental leaders, and helps Americans connect with their environment and their communities through volunteer efforts.
    Visit the TogetherGreen site to:
    * Explore different ways to be green-at home, at work, in your community, and when you travel;
    * Share stories about your environmental heroes;
    * Tell us about conservation projects that you're involved with; and
    * Learn about TogetherGreen initiatives across the country.

  • Maine Audubon Publications
    Wildlife & Habitat Conservation | Resources for Educators | Reports & Studies | Policy & Advocacy
    Wildlife & Habitat Conservation Fact Sheets (Partial Contents below)

    • Conserving Wildlife On and Around Maine's Roads 2007
    • Conserving Wildlife in Maine's Coastal Habitats 2006
    • Conserving Wildlife in Maine's Shoreland Habitats 2006
    • Conserving Wildlife in Maine's Developing Landscape 2000
    • Vernal Pools Around Maine (includes: habitat types, indicator species) 
    • Protecting Wildlife and Habitat in Maine - A primer on Federal and State Environmental Laws.2002
    • Economic Arguments for Conservation
    • Maine Citizen's Guide to Locating and Documenting Vernal Pools
  • 09-4-27: The Nature Conservancy in Maine
    Faces of Conservation
    Now, more than ever, we need stories of inspiration. Through Q&As, videos and slideshows, discover the people and stories behind The Nature Conservancy’s work in Maine.

  • Plants Database
    The PLANTS Database provides standardized information about the vascular plants, mosses, liverworts, hornworts, and lichens of the U.S. and its territories.

  • National Association of Conservation Districts
    NACD's mission is to serve conservation districts by providing national leadership and a unified voice for natural resource conservation.

  • University of Maine Cooperative Extension

    • Publications
      Business & Community Energy
      Home & Family
      Food & Health
      Pests & Plant Diseases
      Natural Resources
      Safety & Preparedness
      Yard & Garden
      Buy Extension merchandise

    • Maine Home Garden News
      This monthly newsletter is designed to equip Maine home gardeners with practical information on successfully growing vegetables, fruits, and herbs as well as flowers, lawns, shrubs and trees. Subscribers receive eight monthly issues from March through October. You can subscribe to the newsletter in print (mailed to you monthly) for $10, or you can subscribe to the electronic format (e-mailed to you monthly) at no charge. $0.00 - $10.00

  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

  • Maine Department of Environmental Protection

  • Maine Department of Conservation
    The Maine Department of Conservation is a natural resource agency whose bureaus oversee the management, development and protection of some of Maine's most special places: 17 million acres of forest land, 10.4 million acres of unorganized territory, 47 parks and historic sites and more than 480,000 acres of public reserved land.
    The Department of Conservation, created in 1973, has as its mission to benefit the residents, landowners, and users of the state's natural resources by promoting stewardship and ensuring responsible balanced use of Maine's land, forest, water, and mineral resources.

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  • The Maine League of Conservation Voters
    is an independent, non-partisan organization that works to make natural resources protection a political priority for Maine voters, candidates and elected officials. The League coordinates advocacy of the Maine conservation and environmental community, publishes the Environmental Scorecard and endorses strong environmental candidates.


  • 09-5-22: BioBlitz
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    A BioBlitz is a 24-hour inventory of all living organisms in a given area, often an urban park. The term "BioBlitz" was coined by National Park Service naturalist Susan Rudy while assisting with the first BioBlitz at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, Washington D.C. BioBlitz in May 31 - June 1, 1996. Approximately 1000 species were identified at this event. This early BioBlitz was conceived and organised by Sam Droege (USGS) and Dan Roddy (NPS), and inspired many other organisations to do the same. The bioblitz name and concept is not registered, copyrighted, or trademarked; it is an idea that can be used, adapted, and modified by any group to freely use for their own purposes. The next year, 1997, the Carnegie Museum of Natural History conducted a BioBlitz in one of the Pittsburgh parks. They added a public component, inviting the public to see what the scientists were doing. At about the same time Harvard biologist E.O. Wilson and Massachusetts wildlife expert Peter Alden developed a program to catalog the organisms around Walden Pond, which led to a state-wide program known as biodiversity Days.
    A bioblitz has the dual aims of establishing the degree of biodiversity in an area and popularising science. Botanists, mycologists and entomologists all play a role. Some BioBlitzes are an annual event.

  • 09-5-22: Colliers Reserve BioBlitz - March 24, 2008

  • 09-5-22: BioBlitz
    Join the Adventure!
    Grab your backpack and be a part of the 2009 Indiana Dunes BioBlitz from noon Friday, May 15 to noon Saturday, May 16, 2009. Stay beyond the BioBlitz or come out to West Beach Saturday afternoon from 1 to 4 p.m. for the Celebrate Biodiversity festival. Every species counts, especially you! This wild event is fun for the whole family and it’s free, so don’t miss out.
    Advance online registration to join a scientist-led BioBlitz inventory team ended Friday morning, May 8. Openings remain on more than half of the nearly 200 planned inventory teams. People can register for any open team slots in person the weekend of the event at the West Beach BioBlitz Base Camp. On-site registration begins at 10 a.m. on Friday, May 15, and remains open throughout the event.

  • 09-5-22: Scientists Bioblitz Wells Maine preserve
    Play video
    (Marnie MacLean, NECN: Wells, Maine) - Teams of biologists from Maine and across New England Have been in Wells, Maine this week for a bio-blitz. It's a focused Three day effort to learn about every plant, animal and Insect living in a new nature preserve.

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Buffers and corridors

  • 09-5-20: Tidal Wetlands
    This document was developed to provide local land use agencies with background information regarding the value of vegetated buffers as a tool in protecting tidal wetlands from adverse impacts associated with adjacent upland development. It presents a brief overview of tidal wetlands followed by a discussion of what vegetated buffers are, how they function, what characteristics make the ideal buffer and how buffers can be used to protect tidal wetlands. Key concepts in the development of buffer regulations are presented and model regulation language is provided.
    This document concentrates on the value and establishment of buffers to protect tidal wetlands. However, it should be noted that buffers can be an effective tool in protecting other sensitive resource areas.

  • *09-5-20: Riparian buffers for the Connecticut River Valley
    Riparian buffers are a river's best hedge against erosion and pollution. View our fact sheets for landowners and decision-makers.
    Introduction to Riparian Buffers
    Backyard Buffers
    Forestland Buffers
    Buffers for Habitat
    Buffers for Agricultural Land
    Urban Buffers
    Guidance for Communities
    Planting Riparian Buffers
    Native trees, shrubs, and ground covers
    Field Assessment
    Sources of Assistanc

  • 09-5-20: How Ecology Regulates Wetlands
    This document provides an overview of the role that the Department of Ecology plays in regulating wetlands and the factors that go into the agency's wetland permitting decisions. It is an introduction to: regulatory authority, wetland definitions and delineation, wetland characterization and function assessment, wetland mitigation, buffers, and more. Note: Wetland Mitigation in Washington State: Part 1 - Agency Policies and Guidance updates and replaces the portions of this document pertaining to wetland mitigation (see related publications).

    Many local governments in Georgia are developing riparian buffer protection plans and ordinances without the benefit of scientifically based guidelines. To address this problem, over 140 articles and books were reviewed to establish a legally-defensible basis for determining riparian buffer width, extent and vegetation. This document presents the results of this review and proposes several simple formulae for buffer delineation that can be applied on a municipal or county-wide scale.

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  • Harpswell Heritage Land Trust
    Our missionis to preserve and protect Harpswell's natural open spaces, islands, shoreline, and cultural heritage for current and future generations through education, conservation and landowner assistance.

    • Land Preservation
      The Harpswell Heritage Land Trust exists to preserve the natural and cultural heritage of Harpswell. If you own land or a building in Harpswell that you cherish for its natural or scenic beauty, its habitat value or its history, and you would like to preserve those values for future generations of your family and/or others to enjoy, you may wish to talk with the Trust about ways of protecting your land or historic building forever. Not only can you protect a valued property in perpetuity, you may realize income tax benefits, property tax benefits and reduce your estate taxes.

  • Maine Coast Heritage Trust
    Maine Coast Heritage Trust conserves and stewards Maine’s coastal lands and islands for their renowned scenic beauty, outdoor recreational opportunities, ecological diversity and working landscapes. MCHT promotes the conservation of natural places statewide by working with land trusts, communities and other partners. Founded in 1970, the trust was a pioneer in the use of conservation easements as a way to protect land. Since this time we have worked to protect more than 125,000 acres in Maine, including more than 250 entire coastal islands.

    • Conserving Your Land
      As a landowner, you may consider a variety of ways in which you can protect your land. Many conservation methods offer tax advantages, helping to reduce estate, income and property taxes.
      There are three common conservation methods to help you ensure the permanent protection of the special features of your property:

  • Designing a Conservation Easement Amendment Policy

  • Tax Benefits of Donating Conservation Land
    There are several kinds of tax benefits available to donors of land or conservation easements. This article attempts to summarize these benefits and provide some examples of how they work. If you are uncertain about the differences between bargain sales and donations, or conservation easements and whole interests in property, go to Conservation 101 for a quick brush up.

  • Coastal Mountains Land Trust Stewardship Practices Edition: 19 October 06


  • Clean water: Over the river, through the woods
    Maine has some of the cleanest water in the nation, and forests are the reason why.
    “We know that well-managed forests produce the excellent water quality that Mainers enjoy and depend on,” said Keith Kanoti, water resources forester for the Maine Forest Service. “The state’s clean drinking water is a forest product, just as important as pulpwood and sawlogs.”

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  • 09-5-20: Backyard Habitat
    Ten Birds That Help Control Garden Pests
    AS A GARDENER, it can be your worst nightmare: watching helplessly as hordes of destructive insects attack your plants. With a little planning and simple landscaping, however, you can help moderate garden pests naturally in your yard. Your weapon: bug-eating birds. "During the late spring and summer months, insects make up the great majority of many avian species' diets," says NWF Chief Naturalist Craig Tufts. The trick to enticing these birds to your property, he notes, is to first learn which of them range in your area, and then to plant appropriate types of native cover that provide insect- and bird-attracting natural foods--leaves, fruit, pollen and nectar--to sustain both adults and their insect-dependent nestlings. Tina Phillips, project leader of Cornell Lab of Ornithology's Bird House Network, adds, "The most important thing to do to attract birds to your yard is to provide an enticing habitat, not just a nest box. Birds choose a nest site based on its surrounding habitat."

  • 09-5-10: How to Create a Wildlife-Friendly Garden
    Whether you have an apartment balcony or a 20-acre farm, you can create a garden that attracts beautiful wildlife and helps restore habitat in commercial and residential areas. By providing food, water, cover and a place for wildlife to raise their young--and by incorporating sustainable gardening practices--you not only help wildlife, but you also qualify to become an official Certified Wildlife Habitat™.

  • 09-4-27: Gardening to Conserve Maine's Landscape: Plants to Use and Plants to Avoid
    Maine's Native Landscape
    Maine's landscape is famous for its variety. Within the state one can find ocean beaches, lakes, rivers, mountains and forests. Maine is locally influenced by both coastal and inland weather patterns. This creates relatively mild areas, and areas that are almost arctic within the state's 300 mile length and 200 mile width. Marine rises from sea level to over 5,000 feet in elevation at the top of Mount Katahdin. This wide range of elevation results in a diversity of habitats including flat sandy plains, rolling hills, rounded summits and craggy mountains with shear cliffs. Maine's forests vary from spruce and fir near the coast, to hardwoods in the western and northern hills. More than 100 types of habitats have been identified with about 1,500 native plant species spread across the state's varied landscape.

  • eNature: Gardening

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  • 09-5-20: Gulf of Maine Marine Habitat Primer
    * enhances understanding of marine habitats in the Gulf of Maine;
    * provides background needed to make more informed decisions on human uses, management, and conservation; and
    * provides an initial step toward a habitat conservation strategy for the Gulf of Maine, which will be developed in partnership with organizations around the Gulf.

  • Maine Natural Areas Program, Aquatic Biodiversity
    Aquatic Biodiversity in Maine
    2008 Maine Aquatic Biodiversity General Report (Executive Summary) - 5 MB pdf

  •  Habitat Stewards
     Habitat StewardsTM is a program for people who want to help improve habitats for wildlife. You may have a small yard, many acres of land, or no yard at all, but if you're interested in bringing beauty and health to the landscape and improving conditions for wildlife where you live and work, the Habitat StewardsTM Program is for you.
    Habitat Stewards help improve wildlife habitat in their communities by committing to 30 hours of volunteer activities in exchange for 30 hours of training by conservation experts. Habitat Stewards come from varied backgrounds with different interests and have fun learning together. Many continue to participate in the program even after completing their volunteer hours.

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  • 09-6-22: How to Do a Home Energy Evaluation
    A home energy evaluation can help you determine how to increase energy efficiency and reduce energy use in your home. You can do your own evaluation if you just want to find some ways to make a difference in your energy usage. If you want a comprehensive understanding of your energy usage and the best ways to save—or if you need a formal audit to apply for rebates, loans, or grant funds—you will need to hire a certified energy auditor. The Maine State Housing Authority maintains a list of certified energy auditors: visit or call 800-452-4668.

  • What is your firewood hiding?
    Moving firewood can transport exotic insects & diseases that pose a serious threat to our forests

  • Bureau of Remediation and Waste Management,
    Maine Department of Environmental Protection

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Invasive Species

  • Gardening to Conserve Maine's Landscape: Plants to Use and Plants to Avoid
    Maine's landscape is famous for its variety. Within the state one can find ocean beaches, lakes, rivers, mountains and forests. Maine is locally influenced by both coastal and inland weather patterns. This creates relatively mild areas, and areas that are almost arctic within the state's 300 mile length and 200 mile width. Marine rises from sea level to over 5,000 feet in elevation at the top of Mount Katahdin. This wide range of elevation results in a diversity of habitats including flat sandy plains, rolling hills, rounded summits and craggy mountains with shear cliffs. Maine's forests vary from spruce and fir near the coast, to hardwoods in the western and northern hills. More than 100 types of habitats have been identified with about 1,500 native plant species spread across the state's varied landscape.

    • Non-native Plants Considered Most Invasive in Maine Include:
      * purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria)
      * Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii)
      * Oriental bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus)
      * Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica)
      * smooth and common buckthorn (Frangula alnus and Rhamnus cathartica)
      * non-native honeysuckles (Lonicera spp.)
      * garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata)
      * multiflora rose (Rosa multiflora)
      * small-flowered tickle-grass (Deschampsia cespitosa ssp. parviflora)
      * common reed (Phragmites australis)

  • Invasive Plants Threaten Maine's Natural Treasures
    What's the difference between a "weed" and an "invasive plant"?
    A weed is simply a plant growing in a place where it’s not wanted. It might be a problem locally, but it generally doesn’t spread to become a large-scale problem in natural areas.
    An invasive plant is a non-native plant with very high reproductive potential and the ability to establish across long distances (for example, it might produce seeds that can spread by wind or by animals). An invasive plant can become established in natural areas, and disrupt natural communities by outcompeting native plants.

  • Native Plants: A Maine Source List
    Nearly 1500 species of native plants are part of what makes Maine a unique place. Native plants—also called indigenous plants—are those that either originated here, or arrived without human intervention.
    We have brought many nonnative plants—exotic or alien plants—to Maine as food, fiber, and landscape plants. In addition, we have introduced some nonnative plants unintentionally, as contaminants in crop seed, in the soil of other plants, and in ships’ ballast.
    Includes list of nurseries with native plants

  •  Invasive Species
    University of Maine pubications

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  • 09-4-20: Welcome to YardScaping
    Can anything be more satisfying than a fertile carpet of green grass? How about a healthy landscape that features less lawn and beautiful plantings—all grown without the excessive use of pesticides, fertilizers, and water!
    Whether you've been wringing your hands over Japanese beetles or you're tired of slaving away on your lawn, YARDSCAPING is for you.
    Join the growing number of Mainers who have decided to change their yard care ways—for the health of the environment, people, and wildlife.

  • Conservation Where You Live
    The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the Forest Service co-sponsor a demonstration project at the Forest Products Laboratory in Madison, Wisconsin. The two agencies are working together to help homeowners practice "conservation where you live," by letting them know about a variety of resource-friendly ways to build and landscape their homes.



  • 09-6-24: Ridding Your Yard of Mosquitoes
    Mosquitoes are nothing if not annoying, and it seems like they just outsmart all our efforts to get rid of them. While you'll likely never be able to spend a warm summer evening outside completely free of the pesky bloodsuckers, there are some ways to cut down on mosquito populations so your outdoor barbecues are more pleasant. Many of these tricks also help eliminate ticks, which can carry Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Lyme Disease

  • - Organic Solutions for a Healthier Planet
    A non-profit company dedicated to promoting natural lawn care and grounds maintenance

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Low Impact Development

  • Promoting Low Impact Development In Your Community
    Low Impact Development (LID) is an approach to stormwater management and site development that is gaining popularity throughout the country. Its attractiveness lies in its potential to lessen off-site stormwater impacts, reduce costs to municipalities and developers, and promote development that is "softer on the land" compared with typical traditional development. The approach, which is applicable to residential, commercial and industrial projects, and in urban, suburban and rural settings, often is linked with efforts by governments and citizens to foster more sustainable communities.

Non-Point Source Pollution

  • 09-5-26: Do's and Don'ts Around the Home
    The importance of education in bringing nonpoint-source pollution under control is a recurring theme in this issue of EPA Journal. The reason for this is pragmatic: What you don't know can hurt the environment. When rain falls or snow melts, the seemingly negligible amounts of chemicals and other pollutants around your home and premises get picked up and carried via storm drains to surface waters. The ramifications include polluted drinking water, beach closings, and endangered wildlife.
    So what can you do to help protect surface and ground waters from so-called nonpoint-source pollution? You can start at home. Begin by taking a close look at practices around your house that might be contributing to polluted runoff: You may need to make some changes. The following are some specific tips to act on--dos and don'ts, organized by categories, to help you become part of the solution rather than part of the problem of nonpoint-source pollution.

  • Polluted Runoff (Nonpoint Source Pollution) (EPA)

  • Nonpoint source pollution (Wikipedia)
    Nonpoint source (NPS) pollution is water pollution affecting a water body from diffuse sources, such as polluted runoff from agricultural areas draining into a river, or wind-borne debris blowing out to sea. Nonpoint source pollution can be contrasted with point source pollution, where discharges occur to a water body at a single location, such as discharges from a chemical factory, urban runoff from a roadway storm drain, or from ships at sea.
    NPS may derive from many different sources with no specific solution to rectify the problem, making it difficult to regulate. It is the leading cause of water pollution in the United States today, with polluted runoff from agriculture the primary cause.[1] [2]
    Other significant sources of runoff include hydrological and habitat modification, and silviculture (forestry).[3] [4]
    Contaminated stormwater washed off of parking lots, roads and highways, and lawns (often containing fertilizers and pesticides), is called urban runoff. This runoff is sometimes included under the category of NPS pollution, however, it is typically channeled into municipal storm drain systems and discharged through pipes to nearby surface waters, and is a point source.

  • Bureau of Land and Water Quality
    Maine Department of Environmental Protection

  • Air Quality and You
    Take a deep breath. What did you just breathe in? Air of course. Although we don't think about it most of the time, we continuously inhale and exhale lots of different molecules-mostly nitrogen and oxygen (the stuff we NEED). However, there are a bunch of other compounds floating around out there that we can neither see nor smell. Some are natural and harmless, but many others are man-made pollutants that can harm our health and damage the environment.

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Pests and Plant Diseases

  • 09-5-26:  Pests & Plant Disease Management University of Maine Cooperative Extension
    pest scout inspecting potato plants for insects University of Maine Cooperative Extension provides practical, how-to solutions based on university research. Whether you attend our workshops, use our publications, read something in the newspaper, or hear it on the radio, Extension information is where you are.
    Our pest and plant disease management experts conduct field research and provide information and consultation for people involved in integrated pest management (IPM) for potatoes, apples, blueberries, sweet corn, strawberries, broccoli, and greenhouses. Other related efforts include the Insect and Plant Disease Diagnostic Lab, Pesticide Applicator Training, and PRO New England: Pest Resources Online for New England.

  • 09-5-26: Maine School IPM Tool Kit

  • 09-5-26: Pesticide Information

  • 09-5-26:  How to Manage Pests; Pests in Homes, Gardens, Landscapes, and Turf
    University of California's official guidelines for pest monitoring techniques, pesticides, and nonpesticide alternatives for managing pests, including information from Pest Notes and The UC Guide to Solving Garden and Landscape Problems. Includes discussion of many individual pests.

  • 09-5-26: What is Nonpoint Source Pollution?

  • 09-5-26: GreenScapes (in New England)
    GreenScapesThe U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) GreenScapes program provides cost-efficient and environmentally friendly solutions for landscaping. The program is designed to help preserve natural resources and prevent waste and pollution by encouraging more holistic decisions regarding waste, water, chemicals, energy and land use. Use the regional and national links shown below to learn more about greenscaping practices.
    Can't find what you need? Try our A-Z Index.

  • 09-5-26: Homeowners
    GreenScaping: The Easy Way to a Greener, Healthier Yard
    Our yards are our outdoor homes: fun, beautiful, great spaces for relaxing. By taking care of our lawns and gardens properly, we can save money, time, and help the environment. GreenScaping encompasses a set of landscaping practices that can improve the health and appearance of your lawn and garden while protecting and preserving natural resources.

  • 09-5-26: Lawn and Garden
    Pests come in a variety of forms: weeds, insects, animals, molds, and fungi to name a few. Pesticides provide relief from many pests, but they are not the only solution to every problem. The need to control outdoor pests varies. Having some weeds in your garden, or some grubs in your lawn, may be more tolerable; however, certain pests present serious threats in some years. Some pests can damage human and animal health, such as mosquitoes that carry diseases.
    The most effective strategy for controlling pests may be to combine methods in an approach known as Integrated Pest Management (IPM) that emphasizes preventing pest damage. In IPM, information about pests and available pest control methods is used to manage pest damage with the least possible hazard to people, property, and the environment.

  • 09-5-26: Integrated Pest Management (IPM) in Schools
    What IPM means
    Protecting Children in Schools from Pests and Pesticides
    Pesticides are powerful tools for controlling pests. However, pesticides need to be used carefully and judiciously, especially when used in sensitive areas where children are present. Children are more sensitive than adults to pesticides. Young children can have greater exposure to pesticides from crawling, exploring, or other hand-to-mouth activities.
    The EPA recommends that schools use integrated pest management (IPM) to reduce pesticide risk and exposure to children. Put simply, IPM is a safer, and usually less costly option for effective pest management in a school community. A school IPM program uses common sense strategies to reduce sources of food, water and shelter for pests in your school buildings and grounds. An IPM program takes advantage of all pest management strategies, including the judicious and careful use of pesticides when necessary.
    Since children spend so much of their day at school, integrated pest management provides an opportunity to create a safer learning environment - - to reduce children's exposure to pesticides as well as eliminate pests. EPA is encouraging school officials to adopt IPM practices to reduce children's exposure to pesticides.

  • Plant Disease Fact Sheets

  • Insect Fact Sheets

  • Mosquitoes
    Mosquitoes are widely distributed and familiar to us all. Although there are roughly 40 species in Maine, slightly less than half are considered biting pests of humans. In spite of this, one of the most common of all complaints from people trying to enjoy the outdoors during the spring and summer months concerns the annoyance caused by the often enormous populations of these small, slender, long-legged flies and the bites they inflict. Both males and females obtain some nutrition from flower nectar, but it is only the females that feed on blood to acquire the extra protein boost needed to produce and lay eggs. In this process the females can also carry disease organisms and parasites from one host to another and thus may serve as vectors of diseases such as malaria, yellow fever, and various forms of viral encephalitis. In the past these diseases have not been considered a problem in Maine. Recently, however, concern has been expressed regarding the increased incidence in the Northeast of arboviruses (arthropod-borne viruses) such as Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) and more recently the introduction into the eastern U.S. of another form of encephalitis known as the West Nile Virus (WNV). As a result of increasing concerns, a monitoring protocol has been developed for Maine mosquito species which may serve as vectors. Heartworm, a disease of canine pets caused by filarial worms, is also transmitted by mosquitoes and is now established throughout most of New England.

  • Anti-pesticide Laws

    • Myth vs. Fact On Pesticide Bylaws
      Myth: Lawn care pesticides are only two percent of pesticides used, getting rid of them won't make a difference.
      Fact: The two percent statistic comes from a Canada-wide industry survey on sales that is not available for third party critique, and certainly holds little relevance for Ontario and Ottawa, where the numbers are likely much higher. In 1993, an Ontario government survey concluded that professional applicators alone were applying 1,302,086 kg of pesticides for cosmetic reasons, which accounted for 21 percent of the provincial total of outdoor pesticide use. Add in homeowners who apply the pesticides themselves and this percentage would surely increase significantly.

    • Trying to Protect its Citizens from Pesticide Poisoning (Comments)
      Dear Mr. Helliker:
      Here in Canada, our Supreme Court ruled in favour of a town called Hudson, in Quebec, with respect to their right to regulate certain aspects of pesticide use. I was of the impression, from my years as a primary school student in New England, that the American system of democracy was stronger than the one in Canada. Apparently, I was mistaken. In fact, our Province of Quebec recently announced its plans to seriously restrict the use and sale of many pesticides currently in use in California. I used to believe that Quebec protected its citizens even less than a place like Orgeon or California, but again, I was mistaken.

    • Canada's First Province-Wide Ban of Cosmetic Pesticides Threatened Under NAFTA
      Quebec's Minister of the Environment has called for new regulations to reduce pesticide use throughout the province. In July 2002, the Minister presented a new Pest Management Code that includes strict new regulations designed to "progressively institute a decreased and more prudent use and sale of pesticides." The Code would ban a number of pesticides for non-agricultural uses including the herbicide 2,4-D, and has come under sharp criticism by a group of 2,4-D manufacturers in the U.S. who have threatened to sue the Quebec government under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

    • A Model Pesticide By-law:
      A study of pesticide reduction initiatives in North America and Europe concluded that public education was important but not sufficient, and that legislation was necessary to achieve non-toxic, sustainable landscaping practices. The study is entitled: "The Impact of By-Laws and Public Education Programs on Reducing the Cosmetic / Non-Essential, Residential Use of Pesticides: A Best Practices Review", and can be downloaded here. An analysis of some existing pesticide bylaws in Ontario can be found here. A listing of municipalities across Canada that have implmented pesticide bylaws can be downloaded here. A legal perspective on the right for municipalities to pass pesticide bylaws can be viewed by clicking here.

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  • 09-3-31: Regional Landscape Conservation in Maine (pdf)
    Best Practices for Enhancing Quality of Place

  • Conserve Online
    The ConserveOnline library is the place to put your finished products when you want to give them the broadest possible distribution. The library is intended to be a more formal and permanent archive than the ConserveOnline workspaces. All documents in ConserveOnline are available for full-text searches; the library documents have additional features that make them even easier for search engines to find.


  • Blue Skies for ME,
    Bureau of Air Quality

  • Ask the Answer Worm!
    It’s a dirty job but someone has to do it--S.K.Worm, the official annelid, or worm, of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service answers students questions about soil. Even their teachers can’t wiggle their way out of this one! Slither your way through these soiled questions and earn a very special diploma. You might even get hooked on Soil!

  • Tidbits for Teachers and Students
    Conservation education material for teachers K-12

  • Youth Resources
    USDA provides students, parents, and teachers with youth-geared information and resources related to agriculture.

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Vernal Pools

  • 09-4-19: The Vernal Pool
    "Big Night(s)" in Massachusetts (or anywhere)
    Went to a site this am, and they had lots of good slides of egg masses. It would appear that the darker ones that we saw at HHLT were indeed wood frogs and the other more milky ones salamander egg masses, not blue spotted however. That is what the slides seemed to indicate to me. Although there are many websites on google this one seemed particularly good to me. Nice hint for taking pictues is to put something light-colored behind the mass, they used a yellow tag, which gives a better picture and a place to record what one has seen. Good info for future trips. Also gives time needed for hatching and other useful information.

  • 09-4-16: ME Vernal Pools
    University of Maine site: Home; Videos; PowerPoints; Publications; Data Forms; Town Partners; K-12 Education; Contact Us; Links; Feedback

  • 09-4-16: Maine Audubon: Vernal Pools together Green: Conserving Vernal Pools through Community Action
    In 11 Maine towns, local citizens will help put a little-known but all-important wildlife resource on the map. Vernal pools are small wetlands that appear only temporarily at particular times of year. They are essential breeding, feeding and resting areas for a large number of species, including several rare and endangered species in the Northeast, such as the Blue-Spotted Salamander, Blanding’s Turtle and Eastern Ribbon Snake.

  • 09-4-16: Significant Vernal Pool Habitat, Natural Resources Protection Act, Maine DEP
    Vernal pools or "spring pools" are shallow depressions that usually contain water for only part of the year. "Significant vernal pools" are a subset of vernal pools with particularly valuable habitat. Starting September 1, 2007, significant vernal pool habitat is protected by law under the Natural Resources Protection Act (NRPA).

  • 09-4-16: Comments, Significant Vernal Pool Habitat, Natural Resources Protection Act, Maine DEP
    Submit comments on your observations of vernal pool breeding activity and the progress of egg laying. If approved, your comments will display below along with others.

  • 09-4-3: Locating and Documenting Vernal Pools (pdf)
    MANY PEOPLE, THOUGH CONCERNED about vernal pools, are not versed in vernal pool ecology. The primary goal of this manual is to provide you with the knowledge you need to locate, identify, document, and monitor vernal pool habitat and vernal pool indicator species.
    A second goal of this manual is to heighten public awareness of the ecological values of vernal pools. Many pools are small, isolated and ephemeral in nature and they may be unnoticed at certain times of the year. Hence they are extremely vulnerable to human disturbance. Losses of many vernal pools in the same watershed can seriously reduce
    available habitat for vernal pool animals.

  • 09-4-2: Inhabitants of vernal pools need our protection
    The persistent rains that fell last Sunday may have upset the schedule of many spring projects but one positive note is that it heralded the spring migration of vernal pool creatures.
    The event is so important it has its own name, "Big Night."
    Big Night is usually the night that follows the first rain event in spring. A few of the vernal pools have been free of ice for a week or more but after the first downpour most are open for visits from mysterious creatures people seldom get a chance to see.

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Watersheds and Casco Bay

  • 09-10-4: U.S. Beachwater Seriously Polluted - Report
    The water at American beaches was seriously polluted and jeopardized the health of swimmers last year, according to the National Resources Defense Council's (NRDC) 19th annual beach water quality report..

    Using data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, NRDC’s report--Testing the Waters: A Guide to Water Quality at Vacation Beaches--confirms that U.S. beach waters continue to suffer from serious contamination--including human and animal waste--that can make people sick.

  • 09-5-12: Action Plan describes the Council's goals
    The Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment Action Plan 2007–2012 describes the goals and outcomes that the Council will pursue through its committees and partnerships in this five-year period. The Action Plan was developed by incorporating public input and the findings of numerous studies, workshops, and key policy developments, including the Gulf of Maine Summit, Canada’s Oceans Action Plan, and the U.S. Ocean Action Plan.
    The Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment Action Plan 2007–2012 focuses on three bold and ambitious goals identified by the people living and working around the Gulf of Maine.Action Plan describes the Council's goals

  • 09-5-12: Gulf of Maine Marine Habitat Primer

    • enhances understanding of marine habitats in the Gulf of Maine;

    • provides background needed to make more informed decisions on human uses, management, and conservation; and

    • provides an initial step toward a habitat conservation strategy for the Gulf of Maine, which will be developed in partnership with organizations around the Gulf.

  • 09-5-10: Everything you wanted to know about rights and responsibilities of accessing the coast of Maine.
    Private Waterfront Landowners
    What are your legal rights and responsibilities to control public use of your property? What is the scope of your ownership and what are its limitations?
    Waterfront Users
    What are your coastal access rights and responsibilities? In Maine, waterfront land is owned to the mean low tide by the property owner. Your rights to use that private land are limited to fishing, fowling and navigation.

  • 09-4-20: Friends of Casco Bay
    Home of the Casco BAYKEEPER
    Founded in 1989 to improve and protect the environmental health of Casco Bay

    • Tips for Protecting Casco Bay
      We know that healthy water only comes through each of us doing our part. Some practical ways to help protect the Bay include:

  • Getting In Step: A Guide for Conducting Watershed Outreach Campaigns
    The Getting in Step watershed outreach guidebook provides some of the tools you will need to develop and implement an effective watershed outreach plan. If you're a watershed practitioner trained in the sciences, this manual will help you address public perceptions, promote management activities, and inform or motivate stakeholders.
    Watershed groups and public agencies conduct outreach activities every day, but often not in a planned, coordinated fashion. Many times someone in an outreach brainstorming meeting will exclaim, "We need a fact sheet!" But is that really what's needed? The step-by-step approach to outreach planning and implementation in this guide will help you determine if a fact sheet is really the appropriate format for your information, or whether some other vehicle might be more effective for reaching your target audience.

  • Wetlands and Watershed Planning
    Wetlands are important elements of a watershed because they serve as the link between land and water resources. Wetlands protection programs are most effective when coordinated with other surface water and ground-water protection programs and with other resource management programs, such as flood control, water supply, protection of fish and wildlife, recreation, control of stormwater, and non-point source pollution.
    EPA has been working in partnership with many others to design and implement the watershed approach. The following EPA resources may be helpful to you:

  • Casco Bay Estuary Partnership
    Casco Bay is an estuary--where rivers meet the sea. This nationally significant embayment has been recognized for its richness and diversity of marine life and is home to both endangered and commercially important species. The watershed--the land area that drains into Casco Bay--stretches from Bethel to the Bay and is one of the fastest growing areas in Maine. Casco Bay watershed encompasses all or part of 41 cities and towns and houses more than 25% of the state's population on only 3% of the land area.

  • Watershed Stewards Program
    If you live by a lake or river, are a member of a lake association, or are simply interested in bringing beauty and health to the landscape and improving the condition of Maine's inland waters, the Watershed Stewards Program is for you. Watershed Stewards help improve Maine's lakes and rivers by committing to 20 hours of volunteer activities in exchange for 20 hours of training by watershed experts.

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  • Freshwater Biodiversity
    Find out about the plant and animal species and communities in Maine's freshwater ecosystems. These pages are based on data compiled by the Maine Aquatic Biodiversity Project - information on over 1,500 species from almost 14,000 sites across the state. Click on one of the plant or animal groups above to find species checklists, distribution maps and ecological summaries. Use the "Biodiversity in Brief" link to see syntheses of key biodiversity data. Or browse the PEARL data bank for tables containing freshwater biodiversity data.

  • Backyard Wetland
    Wetlands filter excess pesticides and nutrients. Many plants and animals find a home in wetlands.

  • Living in Harmony with Wetlands
    Wetlands do so many things — not only for us, but also for plants, animals, and the land.
    We need to understand the functions and values of wetlands. We need to work hard to ensure that wetlands are maintained so that they can continue to help us live in harmony with the land and our natural resources. What makes this harmony so important? Let's find out by discovering...

  • Threats to wetlands
    Sadly, wetlands are threatened by many human activities. Since colonial times, over half of the wetlands in the lower 48 states have been lost due to development, agriculture and silviculture, including 20% of Maine's wetlands. Although modern legislation has greatly slowed wetland loss, the U.S. continues to lose almost 60,000 acres per year. Moreover, the ecological health of our remaining wetlands may be in danger from habitat fragmentation, polluted runoff, water level changes and invasive species, especially in rapidly unbanizing areas.

  • Wetlands

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  • 09-5-13: Wetlands Habitat
    Wetlands are the link between land and water and are some of the most productive ecosystems in the world. Some common names for different types of wetlands are swamp, marsh and bog. Depending on the type of wetland it may be filled mostly with trees, grasses, shrubs or moss. To be called a wetland, an area must be filled or soaked with water at least part of the year. Some wetlands are actually dry at certain times of the year!

    SOUTHERN MAINE’S POPULATION IS GROWING. More importantly, people are moving away from town centers and cities into rural areas. A 1997 State Planning Office study reports that the fastest growing areas in Maine are 10 to 25 miles from metropolitan areas. Two- to ten-acre house lots in fields and forests are common. As people move into these areas, new and wider roads follow and additional services are needed such as sewers, water, and convenience stores. As a result, habitat for some species of wildlife is becoming increasingly fragmented and lost. According to a study by Witham and Hunter (1992), southern Maine and New Hampshire forest area decreased by 7%, agriculture by 9%, and non-forested upland by 12%, while rural residential area increased by 23% and urban/industrial by 4% in a twenty-year period from the mid 1960s to the mid 1980s. When habitat is altered, the numbers and types of wildlife present on the landscape can change dramatically.

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