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Maine Audubon in Augusta: Your 2024 Legislative Summary

The second and final session of the 131st Maine Legislature wrapped up earlier this month and it was nothing short of a whirlwind! Thanks to you, Maine Audubon continued to make great strides to conserve wildlife and habitat in this short legislative session, and we wanted to summarize our efforts with you.

The First Session was marked by record successes, but the Second Session was more challenging. Despite turning a long list (see below!) of important legislation into law and keeping several bad bills from advancing, efforts to finalize funding-dependent legislation this session were particularly demanding. Budget-related hurdles hampered legislation Maine Audubon and our partners had spent many long days and nights working on, including bills to advance smart growth principles, collaborate on the future of Maine’s forests, establish a Wabanaki Studies Advisory Council, modernize wildlife-benefiting property tax management options, address aquatic invasive species, among others.

This is not a short list. Clearly, this important work is far from over. We are dedicated to bringing these measures back in the 132nd Maine Legislature, which begins January, 2025. You can count on your wildlife community!

Legislative Summary Webinar: Maine Audubon’s Advocacy Team will be discussing the highs and lows of the Second Session live on Tuesday, June 4, at noon. Register here to join us!


Maine Audubon testified on 23 individual bills in the Second Session, and 80 total in the entire 131st Legislature – a Maine Audubon record!

 More than 1,900 messages were sent to legislators by Maine Audubon members and supporters.

We had 941 signatures on our Aquatic Invasive Species petition, one of our largest petitions ever.


Bill Number Description Position Result
LD 295 Advances regulations of false recyclability claims for different plastic products. Support Law!
LD 1134 Changes Maine’s legal definition of the word “subdivision” making it easier for bigger subdivisions to avoid environmental review processes. Oppose Dead
LD 1156 Sets a statewide vote for a $30M bond to support recreational trails across the state. Support Law! 
LD 1342 Adjusts the “Preserve Maine Waters” sticker costs to help combat aquatic invasive species. Support Law!
LD 1642 Modernizes several parts of the Wabanaki Studies Law. Support Law!
LD 1673 Establishes a working group to coordinate collaboration among state agencies to help promote smart growth and development in high-use corridors. Support Law!
LD 1685 Changes to Maine Tree Growth Tax Law that would unnecessarily limit program participation. Oppose Dead
LD 2003 Allows for unlimited industrial harvesting of rockweed along the intertidal zone. Oppose Dead
LD 2007 Advances tribal sovereignty by modernizing several criminal jurisdiction issues. Support Law!
LD 2034 Closes existing jurisdictional gaps in erosion control and natural resource protection laws to help state agencies do their best work. Support Law!
LD 2058 Gives Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) authority to reject after-the-fact Natural Resource Protection Act (NRPA) permit applications when applicants knew they were in violation when they applied or had previous violations. Support Law!
LD 2059 Allows DEP to immediately reject a NRPA permit application if it likely will not meet minimum shoreland zoning law guidelines. Support Law!
LD 2101 Strengthens the enforcement of shoreland zoning laws needed to protect water quality and loon habitat. Support Law!
LD 2168 Allows DEP to officially use recently updated statewide coastal sand dune system maps.  Support Law!
LD 2225 Addresses coastal flooding and storm water system upgrades with a $50M investment (included in the state budget). Support Law!
LD 2253 Authorizes DEP to issue a stop-work order if a development project is violating the agency’s laws or rules. Support Law!
LD 2284 Prohibits wakesurfing activities in less than 15 ft. of water or within 300 ft. of the shoreline. Support Law!


Our advocacy work was reported in dozens of news stories, in print and on TV, and in outlets reporting across the state

“Our freshwater lakes and ponds are a core part of Maine’s identity.”
– Advocacy Director Ches Gundrum, in “Maine legislature finalizes bills to protect, enhance water quality on freshwater lakes and pondsWABI, April 3, 2024

Hanson told the committee that enforcing the state’s shoreland zoning ordinance is very time consuming, sometimes frustrating, and more importantly extremely expensive.
– The Lewiston Sun Journal reporting on Raymond Assistant Code Enforcement Officer Chris Hanson’s testimony on LD 2101, a Maine Audubon-supported bill to improve shoreland zoning enforcement, in “Towns ask Legislature to give them ‘teeth’ to deal with violators of shoreland laws,” Lewiston Sun Journal, February 12, 2024

“By not only growing quickly but growing smart, we can create the types of neighborhoods and communities that we want while also protecting wildlife in the state that we love.”
– Conservation Director Sally Stockwell, in “Opinion: We must be smart in our push for new housing,” Portland Press Herald, February 2, 2024


I am proud of what we accomplished and even more energized for what’s to come. Our legislative champions in Augusta poured countless hours and boundless energy into helping us secure some major wins for both our wildlife and human communities this year. Together, we all clocked some seriously long days at the State House. I am grateful to our champions, to our partners, and to our members and supporters.

UPDATE: Watch our Legislative Summary Webinar below!