Articles written by Patrick Whittle

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  • Biggest year for wild Atlantic salmon returns to U.S. rivers since 2011

    Patrick Whittle, Associated Press|Nov 8, 2023

    PORTLAND, Maine — The last wild Atlantic salmon that return to U.S. rivers have had their most productive year in more than a decade, raising hopes they may be weathering myriad ecological threats. Officials counted more than 1,500 salmon in the Penobscot River in Maine, home to the country’s largest run of Atlantic salmon, state data show. That is the most since 2011, when researchers counted about 2,900. The salmon were once abundant in American rivers, but factors such as overfishing, loss of habitat and pollution reduced their pop...

  • Coalition gives up on lawsuit against dams on Atlantic salmon rivers

    Patrick Whittle, Associated Press|Apr 12, 2023

    PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A coalition of environmental groups said April 3 it is withdrawing a lawsuit against a renewable energy giant that it has accused of jeopardizing the last remaining wild Atlantic salmon in the U.S. The groups sued Brookfield Renewable, claiming the company kills salmon on the Kennebec River with its dams. Atlantic salmon only return to a handful of U.S. rivers, all in Maine, and they are protected under the Endangered Species Act. The conservationists were dealt a setback last month when the federal government ruled t...

  • Maine dam operator accused of not protecting last Atlantic salmon run

    Patrick Whittle, Associated Press|Mar 15, 2023

    PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - Environmental groups and a Native American tribe have accused the operator of a Maine hydroelectric dam of not fulfilling its obligation to protect the country’s last remaining Atlantic salmon river run. The last wild Atlantic salmon live in a group of rivers in Maine and have been listed under the Endangered Species Act since 2000. The Penobscot River, a 109-mile-long river in the eastern part of the state is one of the most important habitats for the fish. The Penobscot is also the site of the Milford Dam, which is o...

  • EPA uses veto power and blocks proposed Pebble Mine

    Becky Bohrer and Patrick Whittle, Associated Press|Feb 8, 2023

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency took an unusually strong step Jan. 31 and blocked a proposed Alaska mine heralded by backers as the most significant undeveloped copper and gold resource in the world. The EPA based its veto on concerns over the mine’s potential environmental damage to Alaska lands and waters that support the world’s largest sockeye salmon fishery. The move, cheered by Alaska Native tribes and environmentalists and condemned by some state officials and mining interests, deals a heavy blow to the proposed Pebble Min...

  • Climate change may prevent declining seafood stocks from recovering

    Patrick Whittle, Associated Press|Nov 9, 2022

    PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Fishing regulators and the seafood industry are grappling with the possibility that some once-profitable species that have declined with climate change might not come back. Several marketable species harvested by U.S. fishermen are the subject of quota cuts, seasonal closures and other restrictions as populations have fallen and waters have warmed. In some instances, such as the groundfish industry for species like flounder in the Northeast, the changing environment has made it harder for fish to recover from years of o...

  • Federal review will look at hydro dams and endangered Atlantic salmon

    Patrick Whittle, Associated Press|Aug 17, 2022

    PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The federal government is conducting a review of four hydroelectric dams on a Maine river that could result in a lifeline for the last wild Atlantic salmon in the United States. The last of the wild salmon live in a group of rivers in Maine and have been listed under the Endangered Species Act since 2000. One of the rivers is the Kennebec River, where Brookfield Renewable U.S. owns four dams. Brookfield wants to amend its federal licenses for the four dams and receive a new 40-year operating license for one of them. T...