This week, my friend Dale Holden wrote an incredibly compelling letter to the Houlton Pioneer Times expressing her concerns about climate change - which seem even more relevant than ever for Mainers in this season of drought. It's heartbreaking to hear the story of a local couple whose well has gone dry, just one example of how climate change is not a question of politics, but of quality of life.
In the same edition of the paper, there's an article on the impact of the drought here in The County. Doreen Conlogue, Aroostook County executive director of the USDA, says, "Every evening on my 37-mile commute home I see well drillers in different locations on Route 1. If we don’t get some significant rain before winter, I worry that many livestock producers will run out of water for their animals.”
The article also highlights other effects of severe drought: widespread loss of crops, distressed Christmas tree farms, financial issues for dairy farmers, increase in business for water haulers and well drillers, some wildlife disease outbreaks, reduced water flow, increase in water temperatures and dry wells.
In addition, Maine has had 969 wildfires this year, compared to 356 last year. While not the size and scope of the wildfires on the West Coast that Dale mentions, this is a shot across the bow from our environment.
During the 129th Legislature, terrific bipartisan work took place to establish the Maine Climate Council. We need more of this type of cooperation, based on the input of the Council, to strike the balance between maintaining affordable energy costs and creating a greener future.
The pictures above highlight the impact of the drought on our rivers and lakes. The middle picture, taken on the morning of September 23 after an all-too-brief rain, is of the Captain Ambrose Bear Stream (formerly the B Stream). The left-most, courtesy of Paula Woodworth, is the Meduxnekeag River on September 23, 2020, while the right-most picture is one of the same section of the Meduxnekeag taken by Paula in September of 2019.
Dale's letter to the editor is here: https://thecounty.me/.../opinion/what-legacy-are-we-leaving/
The article about the drought in The County is here: https://thecounty.me/.../usda-offers-more-aid-to-county.../