Environment

Environment
5:40 pm
Tue September 2, 2014

State Releases 10-Year Energy Strategy

Credit NH OEP

At the tail-end of the section that opens New Hampshire’s ten-year energy strategy, released Tuesday, there are three paragraphs that acknowledge the issue which has been dominating the regional energy conversation. During the winter prices spike because natural gas electricity plants have been built and homeowners have converted to natural gas for heating and the region’s network of gas pipelines has not expanded as demand has grown.

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Environment
3:58 pm
Wed August 13, 2014

Innovative Solar Farm To Be Built On Rutland Landfill

Green Mountain Power President Mary Powell stands with Governor Peter Shumlin, Rutland Mayor Chris Louras and others to announce the groundbreaking of a new $10 million solar farm being constructed on a Rutland landfill.
Nina Keck

Originally published on Wed August 13, 2014 12:58 pm

Green Mountain Power broke ground in Rutland Tuesday on a new $10 million solar project that the utility says will not only generate clean energy, but also provide emergency back up power to parts of the city when needed.

Solar arrays are sprouting up all over Rutland County and some of the larger ones have generated a fair amount of controversy and criticism.

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Environment
2:57 pm
Mon August 11, 2014

NOAA Study: Cod Stocks Have Reached Historic Low

Credit Flickr CC

A study by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration or NOAA finds that Atlantic Cod cod stocks have reached the lowest level ever.

Russ Brown, with the NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center, says after researchers observed declining cod stocks in 2011, counts during the last fishing season showed cod populations continue to slide. 

"All three of the bottom trawl surveys have all reached record low levels, and our estimate of spawning stock biomass coming out of the stock assessment has also reached record low levels," says Brown.

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Environment
4:11 pm
Fri August 8, 2014

Great Bay Habitat Continued Decline In 2013

Credit Pembleton / Flickr CC

Data released Friday shows that a crucial piece of the ecosystem of the Great Bay estuary continued a seventeen-year downward trend.

Eel-grass is a big deal to the Great Bay. According to Rachel Rouillard, the executive director of the Piscataqua Region Estuaries Partnership (PREP), “eelgrass is like our canary in the coal-mine, it’s a fundamental underpinning of the health and vitality of the whole system.”

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Environment
11:09 am
Mon July 28, 2014

N.H. Composters Say Rule Change Could Stir Growth In Business

Paul Vera (left) and Michael Leavitt turn one of the more mature compost piles at Capital Compost
Credit Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

Compost has long been the domain of farmers and gardeners, not city-folk, but with both Vermont and Massachusetts pushing ahead with bans on throwing away food waste, curb-side pickup of compost is set to become more commonplace.

Banning food-scraps from land-fills hasn’t come been high on the legislative agenda in New Hampshire, but with a few tweaks, towns could begin to turn to compost for another reason: to save money.

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Environment
11:52 am
Wed July 23, 2014

Power Lines, Railroads May Help New England Cottontail Population

The New England cottontail rabbit
Credit via Griffins Guide

DNA analysis of the endangered New England cottontail shows that power line rights of way, railroad edges and roadsides may help support their diminishing habitat.

The small, brown rabbit has been declining in the region for decades. Development and natural forest growth have cut into the dense patches of shrubs and brush that it prefers.

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Environment
9:31 am
Mon July 14, 2014

The Ins & Outs Of Star Island [Infographic]

(Click to enlarge)
Credit Sara Plourde / NHPR

As sustainable as Star Island's systems are, the folks at Star Island Corporation are working to make them even more efficient, making improvements that mean bringing less onto the island, sending less off, and making more use of what's there.

The graphic below outlines what comes onto the island - either naturally or shipped by boat - what gets sent off, and where everything goes in between.

Notes:

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Environment
6:48 am
Mon July 14, 2014

Star Island Seeks To Go Solar, Serve As Energy Example

Star Island lies more than 6 miles off the coast of New Hampshire, very close to the border with maine
Sara Plourde NHPR

Star Island – a 43 acre spit of land in the isles of shoals, more than 6 miles off the New Hampshire coast – is installing enough solar panels to power roughly 30 homes and a battery array to back them up.

The island is home to a hotel and conference center run by a non-profit with close ties to the Unitarian Universalist Church. Its efforts to go solar are actually culmination of years of work that some think are a model for how the future of energy could look on the mainland.

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Environment
5:06 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

Implementation Of State Energy Plan Will Depend On Politics

The baseline forecast for New Hampshire's energy mix does not imagine a whole-sale shift in where power comes from over the next ten years, though it does presume that the amount of energy coming from coal will shrink.
Credit NH OEP

New Hampshire officials are working on a new state energy strategy, which is supposed to be a roadmap to a new energy future, but politics may ultimately decide whether the strategy becomes reality.

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Environment
5:00 am
Mon June 30, 2014

Timber-Frame Architect Wins Competition With Wooden Sky-Scraper Column

Tim Olson's "Coopered Column," on display at the Boston Society of Architects consists of 118 timber peices and over 250 screws
Courtesy: Tim Olson

Architect Tim Olson, from Bensonwood homes in Walpole, has a problem.

He and a friend have screwed together the first few pieces of a design project, called the Coopered Column, backwards.

“We’re looking at the plan upside down and assembling it, so we swapped the pieces,” he says laughing.

It’s understandable: there are 118 pieces – each one a big, meaty timber – and 250 screws to hold it all together.

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Environment
8:30 am
Thu June 26, 2014

Infographic: The Science Behind Summer Storms

Credit NHPR Staff

With warming weather comes stormy weather - but why is that? If it's been a while since elementary school science class, catch up on the phenomena of summer thunderstorms and hail with this primer.

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Environment
6:20 pm
Tue June 24, 2014

Environmental Group: Governors' Natural Gas Proposal Too Expensive, Rushed

Credit natural gas drilling / Flickr CC

An Environmental Group says regional energy policy makers and the natural gas industry have too cozy a relationship. To prove their case the Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) released a series of documents obtained by right to know requests. Those indicated therein say the claim is overblown.

The release highlights a growing unease in the environmental community toward bringing new natural gas pipeline into New England.

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Environment
5:00 am
Fri June 20, 2014

Arsenic Is Prevalent In Well Water, But Treatment Is Readily Available

The "filter train" on display at Secondwind Water Treatment
Credit Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

This is the second of two stories about arsenic in well-water.

Almost twenty years ago, Joe Ayotte got a well drilled at his house in Concord.

“As you can see it’s a bit of a mud-pit, and it’s very red,” says Ayotte surveying the site of his artesian well, which has since been retired from service, but continues to leach iron-stained water onto his lawn.

Ayotte had some bad luck. The well must have hit what he calls “rotten rock” and brought up massive amounts of minerals in the water, including so much iron that it destroyed his fixtures.

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Environment
9:53 am
Thu June 19, 2014

What You Should Know About Arsenic & Your Well Water [Infographic]

Credit Sara Plourde / NHPR

Have you ever wondered how toxic elements like arsenic get into your well water? Do you know how many of New Hampshire's bedrock wells contain more arsenic than the EPA recommends for safe, potable water? If your well was one of them, would you know how to treat it?

Read through the graphic below to learn more about arsenic and well water.

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Environment
5:30 am
Thu June 19, 2014

50,000 N.H. Wells At Risk Of High Arsenic, Negative Health Impacts

A rig for Cushing and Sons rills a new well on a property in Stoddard
Credit Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

At a house in Stoddard, a Cushing and Sons truck mounted rig pounds a drill bit into bedrock 90 feet below.

“What we’re hearing now is a pneumatic hammer,” says Bart Cushing, who together with his brother runs this family owned well-drilling business, “That’s a flat-based bit with carbide buttons. And it’s literally pounding the rock.”

These artesian groundwater wells are the norm these days: something on the order of 95 percent of new wells are drilled into the bedrock.

And there’s a reason for that.

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