Environment

Hannah McCarthy for NHPR

As the proposed Northern Pass power line – which would connect New England to Canadian hydroelectric power – works its way through the state siting process, officials took opened the floor on Wednesday at a hearing in Concord to receive public feedback.

This hearing drew some of the most steadfast critics of Canadian hydropower: an indigenous community from Northern Quebec.

Over a million dollars is headed to New Hampshire to help protect coastal communities.

Jason Moon for NHPR

People concerned about a proposed utility project on the Seacoast gathered for a demonstration Wednesday afternoon.

Outside the offices of the Department of Environmental Services in Portsmouth, roughly 20 people held signs showing their support for the environmental health of the Great Bay estuary.

The state's largest utility, Eversource, is hoping to bury a portion of a proposed transmission line beneath Great Bay.

Demonstrators here say that could do permanent damage to the tidal estuary. Eversource maintains it won’t.

Photo courtesy of Chris Connors

Residents of Warner and surroundings towns have requested to place the Warner River under a state environmental protection program. 

The Warner River is a favorite location for trout fisherman and kayakers. Joining New Hampshire's River Management and Protection Program would mean that people who live near the river will have a say in conserving it.

Via USGS.gov

State and federal environmental officials are calling for new warning signs to be installed near a superfund site on the Seacoast.

Regulators are asking the group that manages the former Coakley Landfill in Greenland to install the signs at a brook near the site. They want to warn people that getting in the water may expose them to an industrial chemical with uncertain health effects.

apasciuto via Flickr cc

The New England Fishery Management Council is asking the Trump Administration to slow its push for offshore oil and gas developments on the East Coast. (Scroll down to read the letter sent by the organization to the Department of the Interior.)

An Executive Order signed in April urges oil exploration in the mid and south Atlantic. Currently, five companies are seeking permits to conduct what are called seismic surveys in these areas. 

Courtesy SNHU

A New Hampshire undergraduate has confirmed the presence of a fungus in the state that, over the past thirty years, has caused either extinction or massive decline in more than 200 species of frogs around the world.

That was enough to get Outside/In host Sam Evans-Brown interested.

Ian Sane / flickr, creative commons

A bill that advocates say would have improved water quality standards in the state will not become law this session.

The bill would have directed the Department of Environmental Services to conduct a review of the safe drinking water standards for perfluorochemicals.

These industrial chemicals have been found in communities across the state – including near the Saint-Gobain plant in Merrimack and the former Pease Airforce Base in Portsmouth.

Via USGS.gov

The city of Portsmouth and the town of Greenland are asking the state to help pay for public water at homes whose private wells may be at risk of water contamination.

Residents living near the Coakley Landfill in Greenland fear their private wells are drawing contaminated water from the superfund site which received municipal and industrial waste in the 70s and 80s.

Officials in Greenland had previously asked Portsmouth, which operates the only public well in Greenland, to extend water lines to about 300 homes near the landfill.

Downtown Portsmouth.
Squirrel Flight via Flickr/Creative Commons: http://www.flickr.com/photos/squirrelflight/1355544138/in/photostream/

Nashua and Portsmouth have joined a growing number of cities around the country committing to the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement.

In the days since President Donald Trump decided to pull the U.S. out of the global climate accord, over 270 mayors across the country have signed on to a plan to stay in.

Now the cities of Portsmouth and Nashua have added their names to the list. Jack Blalock is mayor of Portsmouth.

Molggl Interactive via Flickr/CC

In the wake of a bear family’s relocation after two cubs entered a Hanover household, New Hampshire communities are reconsidering their responsibilities as environmental stewards and asking the question, “What does it take to live with bears?”

In the wake of President Donald Trump’s decision to pull the U.S. out of the Paris climate agreement, officials in the town of Durham are looking for ways to stay involved locally.

Amy Quinton, NHPR

New Hampshire imports all of its fossil fuels, meaning a lot of money leaves the state to keep our lights on. Local clean energy companies want to change that, by transitioning to renewable sources like solar and biomass. 

Congresswoman Annie Kuster expressed support Monday for New Hampshire’s green energy economy  and opposition to Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord. Speaking in Peterborough alongside clean energy advocates, Kuster said the state should stay committed to the goals of the Paris agreement and invest in New Hampshire energy.

Britta Greene for NHPR

The EPA has awarded $200,000 for the redevelopment of an old paper mill site along the Connecticut River.

Figuring out what to do with old mill buildings is an ongoing - and expensive - challenge for many New England towns. This site, the old Robertson Mill, actually sits on an island in the Connecticut River, right between New Hampshire and Bellows Falls, Vermont. You can hear the nearby falls from here on the property.

"It’s one of the old mill buildings that this town, really...a lot of this economy was built upon."

The Otter, Flickr

By the end of this century, scientists predict the ocean on New Hampshire’s coast will rise anywhere between 4 and 6.5 feet above where it is today—a consequence of climate change. But when the sea rises, groundwater rises to keep up. That would spell trouble for roadways, even roads inland from the ocean, according to a new study from UNH.

Flikr Creative Commons / blmurch

Over the past century, heavy rainfall and snowstorms have grown more frequent and more severe in many parts of the U.S.—including the northeast—as a result of our warming climate. In a study published last month, researchers from Dartmouth College, University of Vermont, and Columbia University investigated exactly what those changes looked like here in New England.

 

Three juvenile bears in Hanover that were initially targeted to be destroyed have been trapped and relocated.

New Hampshire Fish & Game had said last week the three bears and their mother had to be killed, after two of the cubs entered a home. But Governor Chris Sununu then intervened, saying the bears should be released in a remote location.

iStock Photo

The state senate has passed a bill that would require the Department of Environmental Services to re-evaluate its standards for perfluorochemicals, a water contaminant.

Nicholas Erwin / Flickr CC

The New Hampshire Attorney General’s office has reached a settlement with New England Dragway in Epping over violations of state environmental laws.

At issue were alterations the company made to about three and a half acres of wetlands during an upgrade of their facilities in 2012.

According to the attorney general’s office, the company later realized they made the alterations without the required permits and self-reported the violation to the state.

The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services on Wednesday released a set of annual reports on the health of New Hampshire’s lakes. The reports offer information on the water quality and plant and animal life of almost every lake in New Hampshire.

State biologist Kirsten Nelson says the information is intended for residents, so they can stay informed about the health of their environment.

Jeff, via Flickr Creative Commons / https://flic.kr/p/CDhLd

New restrictions are coming to southern New England's lobster fishery in an attempt to save the area's population of the crustaceans.

The population of lobsters off of Connecticut, Rhode Island and southern Massachusetts has declined as waters have warmed.

An arm of the interstate Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission voted on Tuesday to pursue new management measures to try to slow the lobster decline. Management tools will include changes to legal harvesting size, reductions to the number of traps and seasonal closures to fishing areas.

Outside/In: S03|E05

May 5, 2017

In this week's episode, talking about death is never an easy conversation, but as today's episode reveals, people have a lot of questions about what happens to their body once they die. We'll look into the trend of a more natural approach to burial and why it's trickier than it seems. We'll also find answers to a few questions from the team about funerary practices. Plus, Taylor and Sam head to the lakes region to sample wine made from an invasive species. 

Wikimedia Commons

Plans for a new, universally accessible trail near the plaza dedicated to New Hampshire's famous fallen icon, the Old Man of the Mountain, have run into some hurdles.

Wednesday marks 14 years since the 40-foot-tall granite formation resembling a man's face fell 1,200 feet to the ground. Since then, the Old Man of the Mountain Profile Plaza in Franconia Notch was dedicated.

James Lee via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/92Maje

The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department says the state's white-tailed deer population once again has shown no evidence of chronic wasting disease, based on data gathered during the 2016 hunting season.

Biologist Dan Bergeron says a total of 268 tissue samples from deer killed by hunters tested negative for the disease.

Chronic wasting disease is a neurological disorder that is fatal to white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk and moose.

The department says 5,817 deer have been tested in New Hampshire since testing began in 2002.

Ian Sane / flickr, creative commons

Lawmakers in the state senate heard testimony Tuesday on a bill that would force the state to lower the safe drinking standards for perfluorochemicals, a water contaminant.

Right now the state Department of Environmental Services uses a threshold of 70 parts per trillion when testing drinking water for PFCS, an industrial chemical used in non-stick pans and other products. That limit is based on the federal standard established by the Environmental Protection Agency.

www.ci.durham.nh.us

State and federal officials plan to release dye into the Oyster River this week in an effort to study how water flows from a sewage plant along the river.

Beginning Tuesday night, officials with state and federal environmental agencies will inject a reddish dye into the town of Durham’s wastewater treatment plant for about 12 hours.

The experiment is designed to shed light on how wastewater flows from the plant. It could lead to new boundaries for where shellfish harvesting is allowed.

Chris Nash is with the state Department of Environmental Services.

Outside/In: S03|E04

Apr 27, 2017

In this week's episode, we look into the wonderful world of nature documentaries and find that truth behind the lens and the microphone is sometimes hard to find. Also, a heartwarming story from our podcasting friends in Montana, HumaNature, about a man who set out on a long journey with his trusty sidekick who just happens to be a donkey.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

  The state Senate has signed off on a plan to create a commission to investigate a string of rare pediatric cancer cases on the Seacoast.

In early 2016, state officials discovered a so-called cancer cluster in a five-town area of the Seacoast. Two rare forms of pediatric cancer had been diagnosed in that area at significantly higher rates than normal.

Outside/In: S03|E03

Apr 21, 2017

In this week's episode we look into the long history of beavers in North America and why we humans seem to always be in conflict with them. Plus when did skiing get so fancy? And can Sam teach show producers who've never skied how fun it is to careen down a mountain on two planks?

The American Lung Association released its annual State of the Air report Wednesday, and New Hampshire is doing better than it has in two decades. 

Air quality in state has improved overall since last year’s report card. Jeff Underhill, a Chief Scientist with the state Environmental Services Air Resources Division, says that’s due to a handful of factors, including cleaner cars and pollution controls for power plants.

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