Environment

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.

American Chestnut Foundation

Hold off on lighting that open fire — chestnut trees being planted by the University of New Hampshire won't produce a crop for roasting for at least five years. But officials hope the project will help restore a species that has been nearly wiped out by a blight that has killed trees from Georgia to Maine.

As the climate summit in Paris wraps up, Washington Republicans continue to press their battle against the Obama administration’s climate change policies.

Even as the Paris conference was underway, Senate Republicans held a subcommittee hearing on Capitol Hill to challenge the climate change science. Senator and presidential candidate Ted Cruz ran the hearing.

But many of the GOP’s old allies in corporate America believe climate change is real and action is needed. NPR’s Peter Overby reports.

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The Obama Administration's top environmental regulator, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, was in New Hampshire today promoting the use of wood as a fuel. McCarthy took a tour of sawmill in Middleton that burns leftover wood scraps to generate electricity and to heat its facility.  

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

  In Londonderry, bush-whacking through some seriously thick brush, Fish and Game field biologists Brett Ferry and Tyler Mahard are hunting for rabbits, but instead of firearms they’re using traps and radio telemetry.

They will take blood samples and put radio collars on rabbits they capture to ensure that we will continue to have a good idea of the state of the threatened rabbit population, and a few will be sent to a captive breeding program at a zoo in Rhode Island.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

States all over the country have picked sides in the coming court challenge over the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan, and New Hampshire will join 18 other states in defending the new carbon dioxide regulations from a legal challenge. 

All of the New England states are in this coalition as well as California, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Virginia, and Washington. A few major cities round out the group.

Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/6ZKrW

New Hampshire has joined 48 other states and cities to sign a non-binding agreement to reduce carbon emissions by 80 percent by 2050.  The pledge is called the Under 2 MOU (MOU is short for memorandum of understanding, and “Under 2” refers to the goal of keeping temperatures from increasing more than 2 degrees Celsius).

Ron Sher; PREP King Tide Photo Contest

Thirty-five mayors and other local elected officials from coastal communities all over the country gathered in New Hampshire this weekend to talk about Sea Level Rise. They came from both parties, and they didn’t wind up in the state that hosts the nation’s first primary by accident. 

Basically anywhere with a coast was represented.

Dave Delay/flickr

Projects in eight New Hampshire communities have been awarded federal Land and Water Conservation grants totaling $930,000.

The projects being funded are aimed at promoting outdoor recreation and conservation.

The town of Nelson of will use $150,000 to acquire 588 acres of land for a town forest.

And the city of Concord will use its $100,000 grant to develop trails and a boardwalk at Terrill Park.

Courtesy of N.H. Fish & Game

Sixty-nine percent of hunters with permits took a moose in this year’s nine-day hunting season.

 

Fish and Game issued a total of 108 permits and hunters took 46 males and 28 females. This year’s hunting rate is down slightly from last year.

 

A moose biologist from Fish and Game says the weather up north made this season good for moose hunting.

 

More than 9,500 people entered the moose lottery this year – with 85 percent of permits going to New Hampshire residents. People applying from out of state had a 1 in 243 chance of getting picked.

Dave Dugdale via Flickr / https://flic.kr/p/7kCZi1

Solar energy is big business in New Hampshire right now. Enough projects have submitted at least preliminary applications to add up to more than a 400 percent increase from 2014.

The U.S Army Corps of Engineers has agreed to pay $85,000 to settle EPA claims that it violated regulations in its handling of a hazardous chemical at the Army's Cold Regions Research and Engineering Lab in Hanover.

The EPA alleged that the Corps didn't comply with "Risk Management Plan" regulations in the federal Clean Air Act in its handling of anhydrous ammonia.

Via USDA website

A compromise is in the works to raise the limit on the number of solar panels being installed on New Hampshire's electricity grid. The deal would likely result in less revenue for solar owners, but would allow the current boom in solar installations to continue.

At an annual energy summit in Concord Monday, Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley said a bipartisan group is working to lift the cap on a solar incentive called net-metering.

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If you want to install solar panels at your home, it’s about to get a little more expensive. A reduction in the state’s renewable energy rebate goes into effect Thursday. The previous rebate was $.75 per watt, maxing out at $3,750, whereas the new one will be $.50 a watt, with a maximum of $2,500.

Ella NIlsen / NHPR

A coalition of New Hampshire businesses has released a report urging other local companies to take action on climate change. The group is looking to re-frame the issue as a financial risk.

The report flows from a closed door meeting where representatives of around 100 New Hampshire businesses were invited to come and talk climate change.

“Basically to complain about a bunch of things we saw in the state in terms of dealing with increasing weather events that affect our business,” says developer and hotel owner Steve Duprey, co-chair of the group.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

When hurricanes or other large storms roll in, we often focus on the human toll-- buildings destroyed, properties damaged.

But those same storms can also wreak havoc on ecosystems and the plants that are their foundation. And if a native system is wiped out, will it bounce back? One conservation group is trying to create a repository of native New England seeds, which can be used for just that purpose.

File photo

Federal officials announced Friday they won’t be listing the New England Cottontail Rabbit as an endangered species. The news underscores how states are increasingly doing everything possible to turn declining species around before they incur the restrictions the Endangered Species Act can bring.

The New England Cottontail has been a candidate for listing as a federally endangered species since 2006. The big culprit: the slow erosion of the rabbits’ habitat as the region’s forests have been allowed to gradually mature.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

Wednesday night marked the first in a series of open houses during which Eversource is presenting its latest proposal for a power line that will connect the massive hydro-electric dams of Quebec all the way down to the town of Deerfield, New Hampshire.

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By all accounts, New Hampshire’s solar industry has started to accelerate in a big way. This year New Hampshire is on track to see a five-fold expansion in the number of solar farms in state since last fall. While that may be the case now, many in the industry say solar is racing towards a brick wall.

Here’s why.

Solar power is supported by a collage of incentives in New Hampshire: There are state rebates for smaller projects, state grants for larger ones, a federal investment tax credit, and renewable energy credits that owners can sell.

Flkr Creative Commons / PSNH

The final version of the Obama administration’s regulations on carbon emissions from power plants, which were released Monday, set a substantially softer goal for New Hampshire. State officials are confident they can achieve the reductions.

  While nation-wide the so-called Clean Power Plan calls for a 32 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2030, in New Hampshire is slightly less than 15 percent.

NH DES

When Ted Diers, the watershed bureau administrator with DES, first started working at New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services a few years ago, he spotted an employee walking down the hall with a bucket.

Diers asked him where the bucket was headed and learned that since 1972 employees had been sampling rainwater on the roof of the building for its acidity and for various pollutants.

“And so I said, ‘Wow, that’s a great data set. What do we do with it?’” Diers recalls, “and he said, ‘Well, really nothing.’”

Courtesy: NH Agricultural Research Station

Walking in among the rows of more than a 100-varieties of cold-hardy kiwis planted at his UNH observational vineyard, Professor Iago Hale says forget those fuzzy brown kiwis, if you really want flavor, try his plants. 

“Right off the bat you’re dealing with a much, much sweeter fruit, but it’s not cloyingly sweet,” he says squinting against the morning sun, “It also has a lot of acid to it, so it has this really complex flavor to it, a lot of tropical kind of flavors: pineapple, mango, papaya – I mean they’re amazing!”

https://flic.kr/p/5CMq7a / Flicker CC

This story starts with with John Ramaska, of Manchester, and any customer like him. A while back, he wanted to switch to heating his house with natural gas.

“My neighbor in back of me right over here has gas, so I’m in between gas and gas. No big deal, this is great!” he says, describing his thinking at the time.

But then he found out the pipe that connected him to the gas main wasn’t up to code, and he’d have to get a new hot water heater, and in the end Ramaska didn’t make the change.

https://flic.kr/p/5Dr6fa / Flicker CC

State officials announced Monday that the state’s renewable energy fund, which provides rebates for people putting solar panels on their roofs or installing high efficiency wood-fired boilers, earned $4.38 million dollars last year.

That might sound like a lot, but it’s a drop of 75% from the previous year.

Via Outdoorhub.com

The invasive beetle that has devastated ash trees in the Midwest is now confirmed in a fourth county here in New Hampshire. State officials have found Emerald Ash Borer in a box trap in the town of Gilmanton.

On Monday, a quarantine which prohibits taking wood across county lines will extend to Belknap county.

New Hampshire’s State Entomologist, Piera Siegert, says the pest has also been found in Hillsborough, Rockingham and Merrimack County. The infestation appears to be clustered in the center of the state.

Courtesy: New Hampshire Fish and Game

  A loon has been found dead in Alton Bay with a piece of lead fishing tackle in its gizzard.

According to the Loon Preservation Committee, every year between seven and eleven loons are killed by lead fishing tackle. The one found in Alton Bay is this year’s first.

“The majority of the lead deaths we get are in July and August, and that corresponds exactly with peak lake use and peak fishing,” says Harry Vogel, Senior Biologist with the Committee.

Saratoga Associates

The state’s energy siting board has put off deciding whether to take jurisdiction over the proposal to build a small wind farm in the town of Antrim.

But for Portsmouth-based developer Eolian Renewable Energy, what’s a few more weeks when you’ve been trying to build a wind farm for seven years?

The latest question before the state hinges on whether proposed changes designed to lessen the visual impact of the project are different enough to constitute a new project.

It might seem like Jack Kenworthy is a glutton for punishment.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

New Hampshire’s largest utility says a US Supreme Court ruling which on mercury emissions won’t affect its plans to install pollution controls at its coal-burning plant in Portsmouth.

The ruling – which finds the EPA should have incorporated estimates of the cost of the proposed regulation earlier on in the process – comes after Eversource has already begun work on upgrades to the sixty six-year-old plant.

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