Outside/In: Take the Reins

Oct 21, 2016

In this week’s episode, we look at a controversial method of wildlife management called biocontrol. Then we practice a little biocontrol of our own by cooking and eating an invasive fish that’s terrorizing the ocean, and finally we set sail with just the sun, the stars, and our long lost sense of direction to guide us.

Conservation biologists say that the good news for wildlife is there are still extensive tracts of forest habitat in the northeast. Yet as humans have built up roads and housing developments, crossing between key habitat areas — such as from the Adirondacks to the Green Mountains — can be a dangerous trip for a moose or a bear.   

Dennis Amith via Flickr CC

Dartmouth College officials say a second private well near a Hanover farm where contaminated laboratory animals were buried in the 1960s and 1970s has tested positive for a toxic chemical believed to have migrated from the site.

 The drought conditions that have gripped much of the Northeastern U.S. this summer appear to have a silver lining — fewer ticks.

From Maine to Rhode Island, researchers say they expect tick numbers to be down from previous years especially for the blacklegged ticks, known as deer ticks, which transmit Lyme disease.

It's too early to say, however, whether fewer ticks could mean a decline in Lyme disease cases.

A Dartmouth hazardous waste burial site has contaminated the ground water near a Hanover neighborhood. Those chemicals are now on the move, and at least one family’s drinking water has been affected. 

Jason Moon for NHPR

For New Hampshire’s Seacoast, it’s no secret that climate change and the resulting rise in sea-level rise is one of the biggest challenges facing the region. But while the threat is well known, the ways Seacoast communities are preparing for it aren’t always what you’d expect. NHPR’s Jason Moon reports for our month-long series Life on the Seacoast.

Bryan Hanson / Morguefile

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation announced a million dollars in grants Tuesday to restore New Hampshire’s forest and fish habitat.

Eight organizations received funding to restore wildlife habitat in New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, and Maine. Collectively, the groups will open nearly 200 miles of streams for fish passage and improve habitat for the New England Cottontail, American woodcock, and golden-winged warblers.

Eversource, New Hampshire’s largest electric utility, is donating the bulk of the funding.


Residential water sources near a Superfund site on the Seacoast have tested below the state’s standard for perfluorichemicals - including PFOA. Earlier tests at the site showed PFCs at levels significantly higher than the state standard.

Sixteen residential wells near the former Coakley landfill were tested for perfluorichemicals following the discovery of those contaminants in monitoring wells at the landfill earlier this year. All of the residential wells tested showed PFC levels below the recently established state standard.

Jason Moon for NHPR

The second largest solar array in the state is up and running as of today. It now powers municipal buildings in Durham.

The newly installed 2,100 solar modules sit on a former gravel pit in Lee. These panels now provide all of the energy to buildings owned by the town of Durham, with the exception of the wastewater treatment plant.

National Audubon Society

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire think blue-green algae blooms may be contributing to the declining population of loons in certain New Hampshire lakes.

While scientists have long warned humans to stay clear of algae or cyanobacteria blooms, researchers at UNH now suspect they may be harming New Hampshire’s loon population. While the state’s overall loon population has been steadily rebounding each year, some lakes are still seeing losses.

Elizabeth Szelog for NHPR

Biologists have begun investigating what killed an 18-year-old humpback whale that washed ashore in New Hampshire.

New England Aquarium spokesman Tony Lacasse tells The Portsmouth Herald the reason the whale named Snow Plow died remained a mystery as of Wednesday.

Jason Moon for NHPR

A group representing New England states and federal agencies held a meeting Sunday in Portsmouth to get public input on their plan to coordinate the use of the region’s ocean resources.

The Northeast Regional Planning Body was designed to coordinate the interests of a whole host of parties interested in how the ocean gets used, from commercial fishing to transportation to national security. The group includes representatives from all six New England states and nine federal agencies.

Sean Hurley

Growing up in Loudon, Andrew Timmins didn’t see his first bear until he was nearly 20.  Now, as Fish & Game’s Bear Project leader, Timmins manages the state’s population of more than 5,500 bears. NHPR’s Sean Hurley recently spent a day with Timmins at a bear hotspot at the Attitash Ski Resort and learned how the state regularly catches troublesome bears and relocates them to the northernmost part of the state.

aaronHWarren / Flickr Creative Commons

A ban on lead tackle in New Hampshire goes into effect Wednesday to help protect loons and other bird species in the Granite state.

Harry Vogel is a senior biologist and executive director at the Loon Preservation Committee. He calls the law one of the toughest of its kind in the nation. The law goes beyond use to include sales and also covers sinkers up to an ounce — more far reaching than most other states. Vogel says lead tackle was the largest cause of loon mortality in New Hampshire, with the state losing 124 loons from 1989 to 2011 due to lead sinkers.

Outside/In: Stake Your Claim

May 20, 2016

There used to be a time when you could strike out into the vast unexplored wilderness and stake your claim – but not anymore.  Today, the story of one seaside town where one homeowner is facing a brutal property dispute against an undefeatable opponent: the Atlantic Ocean.  

Plus, a group of 19th century pioneers lay claim to one of the world’s most inhospitable mountains and turn it into a premiere tourist destination. 

And, Sam goes on a hunt for Earth’s last unexplored places, so he can plant a flag and stake his claim.

Outside/In: Living Fossils

May 20, 2016
Greta Rybus and Logan Shannon

Technology advances at breakneck speed, so why hasn’t the electric grid changed in 60 years? This week’s episode explores  things, that for one reason or another, haven’t changed in a very, very long time. Like the ginkgo tree, which has remained strong--and smelly--for over 250 million years.

Outside/In: Nurture vs. Nature

May 12, 2016
Greta Rybus and Logan Shannon

Tyler Armstrong is 12-years-old. He loves video games, laser tag, and he wants to become the youngest person to summit Mount Everest. In this episode, Outside/In poses an ethical question: how young is too young to climb Mount Everest?

Plus, what to expect when you're expecting a child...and a gold medal at the Nordic World Ski Championships. And a father wages a 17-year-long battle against the Department of Environmental Services over a dock. 

Sandra Rehan/UNH

Monday, researchers from UNH released the first scientific findings about the state of New Hampshire’s bee population.

It's the first comprehensive list of bee species in the state, including 17 species never before recorded in New Hampshire.

The research comes after years of reports of declining bee populations around the country.

Assistant professor of biology Sandra Rehan co-authored the report and said biologists will use this data as a baseline to measure future trends.

Outside/In: On the Hunt

Apr 29, 2016
Greta Rybus and Logan Shannon

Ever since becoming a reporter, Sam has heard stories about a secret hunting reserve in New Hampshire, stocked with elk and 200-pound wild boar.  It's the size of a medium-sized town, but most people have never even heard about it, and almost nobody wants to talk about it.

A new study from the UNH Carsey School of Public Policy says towns in the Great Bay watershed stand to save a lot of money if they can coordinate their efforts at reducing the amount of nitrogen entering the bay.

Communities in the Great Bay watershed have been tasked with lowering the amount of nitrogen entering the bay by federal and state regulators for years now.

Outside/In: Let's Take This Outside

Apr 22, 2016
Greta Rybus and Logan Shannon

How do you define wilderness? Why are humans drawn to summits? Will the cold-hardy kiwi save a struggling local economy, or will it destroy a native eco-system? What is nutria, and why does it taste so good?

Meet Outside/In. A brand new radio show and podcast that takes a look at the natural world and how we use it.

Ben McCleod via Flickr CC

The Executive Council is holding a work session on a proposal to expand the Mount Sunapee ski resort, which is supported by economic development officials and businesses, but opposed by environmental groups.

The five-member Council and Gov. Maggie Hassan are scheduled to meet at 2 p.m. Wednesday.

Gov. Peter Shumlin announced Wednesday that the state is going to extend the range of water testing as results continue to come in showing widespread contamination around the former Chemfab plant in North Bennington.

https://flic.kr/p/fA6veL / Flickr Creative Commons

New Hampshire environmental regulators and realtors have reached an agreement on how to communicate the risks associated with Radon in drinking water.

Materials and fact sheets available from the Department of Environmental Services previously recommended that homeowners “test the indoor air for radon and consult with radon mitigation and water treatment providers” whenever radon exceeds 2,000 picocuries per liter in well water, which was the lowest advisory level in the United States.

A former manager of a scrap metal business in New Hampshire who admitted to dumping contaminated water into the Piscataqua River will be on federal probation for a year.

The Portsmouth Herald reports Christopher Garrity, of Leeds, Maine, was also ordered last month to pay a $5,000 fine. He pleaded guilty last year to a felony charge of discharging a pollutant into water in the U.S. without a permit.

Via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/7MMKBg

A long-running dispute between the real estate industry and the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services is back before the state legislature this year. Realtors have put forward a bill that would force the DES to get in line with federal standards when it comes to what's considered safe levels of radon in drinking water.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

There’s nothing that strikes more fear into the heart of a New England driver than the words "ice storm."

But this pernicious wintery precipitation is not just trouble for cars. Forests, where a thick coating of ice can break limbs or bring down a whole tree, suffer too.

NH Fish and Game

Should New Hampshire sportsman be allowed to hunt and trap bobcats?

Since the idea of a season on bobcats was first put on the table more than a year ago, that question has stirred up strong emotions, and those emotions came to a head Monday night.

The proposal Fish and Game is weighing would let New Hampshire hunters and trappers kill 50 bobcats a year. There are more than 600 such trappers, and permits would be given out using a lottery, at $100 a pop.

 This weekend, two Canadians in Tuckerman Ravine triggered an avalanche, which swept them and two others 500 feet down to the bottom of the bowl. None of those affected suffered serious injuries, but it highlights a growing trend in the White Mountains: more skiers getting themselves into avalanche terrain earlier in the year.

Flicker CC

 The future of solar power in the Granite State was front and center in the New Hampshire statehouse Wednesday, as law makers presented a deal to extend a program that has been crucial to the development of the state’s solar energy industry called net metering.