Believe it or not, election day is just two weeks away! On November 6th, don’t forget to #EgretOutTheVote (yes, that’s the pun and we’re sticking to it). Maine’s wildlife is on the statewide ballot this year, including the Governor’s race (check out the candidates’ take on wildlife policy) and two ballot issues.
Today, we’re digging into why Maine Audubon members and supporters should vote YES Questions 2 and 3.
YES ON QUESTION 2 is about improving wastewater infrastructure to keep Maine’s water clean.
Malfunctioning septic systems and substandard wastewater treatment facilities pollute the aquatic habitats that Maine’s aquatic wildlife depend on. Eighty-five percent of Maine vertebrate species (eighty-five percent!) either live in aquatic habitats throughout their lives or use aquatic habitats or habitats adjacent to ponds, lakes, streams, rivers, wetlands, and the coast throughout the course of a year to find food, breed, and travel.
Question 2 would authorize a $30 million bond to fund three wastewater infrastructure and water quality grant programs at the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. These programs provide grants to update municipal and quasi-municipal wastewater infrastructure such as treatment plants, pump stations, and sewer systems, remove overboard discharges, and repair or replace malfunctioning septic systems that impact surface water.
Maine Audubon strongly supports this funding to protect water quality, and hopes you vote YES on Question 2.
YES ON QUESTION 3 is a transportation bond that includes funding to improve stream crossings.
Metal culverts are often used to ensure streams continue flowing beneath a road. However, fish and aquatic wildlife can get stuck at stream crossings if these culverts are not properly installed or maintained. Surveys show that up to 90 percent of Maine culvert crossings make movement difficult or impossible for wildlife at least part of the year.
Properly installed culverts should span the width of the stream, match the natural slope and elevation of the stream, and include natural stream bed material. Proper stream culverts will encourage movement of brook trout, Atlantic salmon and other fish, as well as river otters and animals that travel along streams. Maine Audubon launched our Stream Smart program in 2011 to help improve stream crossings, and the $5 million grant program included in Question 3 would go a long way towards furthering this work.
Maine Audubon strongly supports this funding to support wildlife passage and we encourage you to vote YES on Question 3.
For more information about Questions 2 and 3 check out the Maine Citizen’s Guide to the Referendum Election, produced by the Maine Secretary of State.
See you at the polls!