Environment

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.

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.

https://flic.kr/p/muU7qZ

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.

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