Environment

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The state has won a federal grant to fund a major land conservation deal near Cardigan Mountain.  

The Forest Legacy Grant program gave the state $3.8 million dollars to put a conservation easement on the forest near Cardigan Mountain. 5,100 acres in the towns north of Newfound Lake will still be harvested for timber, but can now never be developed.  The landowner – Green Acre Woodlands, which also owns anabutting property where Iberdrola developed the Groton Wind farm – will continue to hold the property, while the state will hold the conservation easement.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

When you’re a transmission arborist, you spend a lot of time in a helicopter, cruising over power-lines.

“So here’s an example of non-compliant vegetation,” says Kurt Nelson who does this job for Eversource. He indicates some young pines growing underneath the tall transmission towers. They aren’t high enough to endanger the lines… yet.

“That’ll be a target for us,” says Nelson.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

President Barack Obama has signed a scaled back version of an energy efficiency bill co-authored by New Hampshire Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen.

The bill, co-sponsored by New Hampshire Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte, aims to cut energy use in commercial buildings, manufacturing plants and homes. It includes the Better Buildings Act, which Ayotte first introduced in 2013.

The measure was popular with both parties. But it was defeated last year after becoming enmeshed in a partisan fight over the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

tuchodl / Flicker CC

Most counties in New Hampshire took home high marks for air quality in this year’s “State of the Air” report from the American Lung Association.

Two counties do stand out, however, as lagging behind the rest of the state.

Hillsborough county saw an elevated number of days with high levels of ozone or smog, which is produced primarily by automobile and power plant emissions. The trend generally in Hillsborough county has been toward less smog.

Taylor Quimby / NHPR

After a long and frigid winter, the sound of spring peepers singing from beaver bogs is a welcome one for New Englanders. But before frogs can start their songs spring, a massive migration has to take place. On a handful of spring nights, millions of amphibians mobilize all at once.

Daniel Godin via Flickr CC

Crews are planting more than 2,000 shrubs and trees near the Ammonoosuc River north of Lisbon, New Hampshire, to stop erosion and create new wildlife habitat.

The Caledonian Record reports that erosion has been eating into the river banks. Crews will establish a 35-foot buffer of mostly dogwood and willow trees. There will also be a riparian flood plain forest consisting of silver maple, red maple, cottonwood, box elder and American elm.

An upland forest is being created to include yellow birch and white pine and white ash.

Dave Spier via Flickr CC

Early indications show some promise for a New Hampshire moose herd that has been wobbled by a troublesome parasite.

Kristine Rines, a wildlife biologist and the moose project leader for the state's Fish and Game Department, says it's still too early to say with certainty if the 2014-15 winter will be better than previous winters, but data so far shows fewer calf deaths and fewer winter ticks.

Among the animals tagged by state biologists, seven of 27 calves had died as of last week. That's a 26 percent mortality rate, compared to 64 percent last year.

Moiggi Interactive / Flicker CC

New Hampshire is one of 13 states that allows baiting to hunt bears. But last fall four bears died suddenly in the town of Stark after eating chocolate at a bait site, and now the Fish and Game Commission is considering banning the use of chocolate as bear bait.

I was the victim of a senseless and unprovoked attack recently. My assailant's full identity has yet to be determined, so for now, I’ll just refer to him as Tom.

Tom is a turkey.

US Fish and Wildlife Service

A New Hampshire bat species is now on the threatened list under the Federal Endangered Species Act. The Northern Long-Eared Bat is one of several species that has been devastated by the invasive fungus, white-nose syndrome.

As Waters Warm, Smelt Getting Scarce In Great Bay

Mar 30, 2015
Dave Kellam

As fishermen in Stratham use chainsaws to remove their smelt fishing shacks from the frozen Squamscott River, Chris Babineau, of Raymond, takes a break to reflect on the season. “We’ve had the ice, but we haven’t caught any smelts, I can tell you that,” he says, “In the last three years you’d be lucky to get one smelt.”   

northeast naturalist via Flickr Creative Commons

New Hampshire Fish and Game is working on a new plan for how many deer, turkey, bear and moose hunters will be allowed to shoot between now and 2025. For moose-hunters in some parts of the state, that number may soon be zero.

Fish and Game is considering regional population thresholds, where if moose herd continues to decline it will call a moratorium on the moose hunt.

Via the US Forest Service

A study says that a mutated fungus is infecting white pine forests in parts of New Hampshire.

White pine blister rust comes from a combination of white pines and flowering plants — called ribes — like gooseberries and currants. When infected ribes lose their leaves in the fall, spores of the fungus invade white pines and eventually kill the tree.

A U.S. Forest Service study says the fungus is infecting trees in Epsom and Concord, and possibly elsewhere in the Northeast.

Paul Cooper via Flickr CC

A total of $1.3 million in grants is going to 13 Connecticut River projects in New Hampshire and Vermont to improve water quality, restore habitat and conserve space.

The New Hampshire Charitable Foundation grants were announced Tuesday.

A fund dedicated to the restoration and protection of the river, its wetlands and shorelands is expected to provide about $21 million for the projects over 20 years.

Logan Shannon / NHPR

Think about the shape of an icicle: it’s pointy at the end and wider at the base. But why are they that shape? The key thing to remember when talking about icicles is that icicles are long and skinny because the tip is growing faster than the base. And there are 3 reasons for why that is:

Every drip, as it travels down the icicle, carries heat away. This is because water is an incredible vehicle for conducting heat. It has the highest specific heat of any material we know of. 

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

Many towns across the Southern border of the state took votes in opposition to a proposed natural gas pipeline that would be built through 17 towns.

At least 8 of those towns were considering Non-binding resolutions against the pipeline, which serve to signal to state energy regulators that residents don’t want a project come through their town. Others, like Ringe and Winchester opted to deny representatives of Pipeline Developer Kinder-Morgan the right to survey town property. 

Dave Spier via Flickr CC

Biologists in New Hampshire and Maine are teaming up on a five-year study to better understand why moose populations are declining.

WMUR-TV reports that Maine's estimated population of 60,000 moose has fared better than New Hampshire's herd of about 4,000 but both states are seeing a decline, largely blamed on more winter ticks.

Lee Kantar of Maine's Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and Kristine Rines of the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department are collaborating on the study.

Mickki via Flickr Creative Commons

Lawmakers today will hear a proposal to allow the commercial composting of meat and dairy. The bill began with a group headed by a former UNH student.

The Post Landfill Action Network, or PLAN, got its start as a sort of student-run rummage sale, where students were encouraged to sell furniture and other items, rather than throw them out when they leave campus each year.

PLANs founder, Alex Fried, has since gone professional with his advocacy, starting a small non-profit.

One of their current projects is pushing to make UNH’s football stadium a zero-waste facility.

Trevor Dennis / Flickr/CC

  New Hampshire wildlife officials say several more ducks have died since nearly two dozen of the wild birds were found dead in a storm runoff basin in Concord.

Conservation officers recovered 22 dead ducks Saturday from the oil-contaminated water at a housing development. Another four ducks were captured and taken to a wildlife rehabilitation center, but two have since died, along with another duck found walking in a driveway.

Officials are investigating how what appears to be motor oil ended up in the basin.

Trevor Dennis / Flickr/CC

New Hampshire wildlife officials say 22 wild ducks were 

found dead in oil-contaminated water in a storm runoff basin at a Concord housing development.

Officials say the dead birds were recovered Saturday by conservation officers using nets while contending with extreme cold temperatures, deep snow and thin ice. Another four ducks were captured and taken to a veterinarian for treatment.

Jon Sullivan / Flickr CC

  Rather than ending New Hampshire's participation in a regional cap-and-trade program designed to limit carbon emissions, House members have voted to stay in the program but send more of the profits back to ratepayers.

iStock Photo/Thinkstock

  A bill to take New Hampshire out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, or RGGI, has been changed in the House Committee on Science, Technology and Energy.

It would now maintain New Hampshire’s participation in the program but would allocate all of the money raised by the program away from renewable energy projects and into electric rate relief.

Right now, the state puts four out of every five dollars it gets per carbon allowance into rate subsidies.

Dan Arndt / Flicker CC

  The Audubon Society says it has observed 90 bald eagles in New Hampshire this winter. That’s the second year in a row that the count has documented a record number of the once-endangered birds in the Granite State..

When bird enthusiasts did the first winter count of Bald Eagles in New Hampshire in 1981, they saw fewer than ten. The population stayed low through the 1980s, but then began to rise.

www.seacoastsciencecenter.org

The Seacoast Science Center’s Marine Mammal Rescue Team just wrapped up its inaugural year.

The team took over responding to rescue calls for seals and other stranded mammals in coastal New Hampshire last January.

The New England Aquarium in Boston previously handled those duties.

Ashley Stokes is rescue coordinator for the Marine Mammal Rescue Team.

She joins Morning Edition to talk about the group’s efforts.

Sam Evans-Brown for NHPR

A public outreach campaign for a major natural gas pipeline kicked off at an open house Wednesday in Winchester, New Hampshire. 

The proposed project, by Texas-based pipeline developer Kinder Morgan, was moved North to New Hampshire late last year, in part to ease concerns of critics along the original route in Northern Massachusetts. Despite the company’s efforts to minimize the line’s impact, resistance along the new route has been just as strong.

The scene outside a presentation of any major energy infrastructure project tends to feature two crowds: unions…

Julian- / Flickr Creative Commons

The New Hampshire Electric Coop will soon be the first utility in the state to fulfill a state-mandated requirement on how many customers are allowed to sell their solar energy back onto the grid. This has led some potential solar customers concerned about whether they will recoup their investment to bring their complaints to the Coop’s Board of Directors.

To get what this brouhaha is all about, you first have to know what net-metering is.

Mac Armstrong / Flicker CC

State lawmakers are being asked to decide if hydro-power from Canada should be eligible for renewable energy subsidies.

The proposal was one of two presented by Republican David Murotake of Nashua that would make modifications to the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS).

He says lumping hydro in as renewable energy would drive down the cost of meeting the state’s renewable energy goals.

A proposal to remove New Hampshire from a multi-state carbon cap-and trade program appears to have little public support.The House Science, Technology and Energy Committee took testimony on the bill Thursday morning. Two Republican lawmakers spoke in favor of the bill during the first two hours of the hearing while several state officials and members of the public spoke against it.Mike Fitzgerald with the Department of Environmental Services noted that participating in the program, called the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative or RGGI , will likely make the state compliant with proposed fed

Woodstove 2006
Gord McKenna / Flickr Creative Commons

Starting Thursday residents of Cheshire County can turn in old, inefficient woodstoves for a voucher towards a new cleaner-burning stove.

The vouchers are worth $1,000 towards an EPA certified woodstove, $1,500 towards a pellet or gas stove, or $4,000 towards a new outdoor wood boiler. In all $425,000 worth of vouchers will be given out.

Woodstoves built before 1988 are a lot less efficient and put out a lot more pollution than modern stoves, and since they are essentially big chunks of iron they last a long time.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

In a meeting Wednesday, the New Hampshire Fish and Game Commission began a discussion on whether to open a bobcat trapping season. The proposal is far from final, but it’s already attracting the ire of the animal rights community.

Late last year biologists at the University of New Hampshire announced the results of a study, commissioned by Fish and Game. They estimated that from 1989 to today, the bobcat population in New Hampshire had rebounded from less than 200 cats to somewhere between 800 and 1,400.

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