Environment

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.

Outside/In: S03|E02

Apr 14, 2017

In this week's episode, solar power is all the rage these days, but how did it get its start? And what the heck is net-metering? Also we'll hear about the resurgence of a deadly form of black lung in coal country and why, despite the severity of these health hazards, it's not getting a lot of attention.

Officials: Southern N.H. At Risk For Wildfires

Apr 13, 2017
Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

State forestry officials are warning warm, dry weather is creating an increased threat of wildfires, especially in the southern part of the state.

Via PortsmouthWastewater.com

-- Updated 4/13 to include statement from ATSDR --

People exposed to high levels of PFCs at the former Pease Air Force Base are expressing frustration over how long it’s taking a federal agency to investigate the health impacts of the contamination.

After the chemicals were found in a well that supplied drinking water at Pease in 2014, the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, or ATSDR, was told to investigate.

PSNH

Members of the timber industry were in the state capitol today, arguing for the passage of a bill that would support the state’s struggling biomass industry.

northeast naturalist via Flickr Creative Commons

Last year's drought in New Hampshire was tough on farmers and towns. But it turns out to have been good for moose.

Preliminary numbers from a project that puts tracking collars on moose show that only one of the calves — the most vulnerable group — died from winter ticks this year. A year ago, nearly 75 percent of the calves tracked died.

Moose biologist Kristine Rines says many of the blood-sucking ticks died because they were deprived of moisture. But the ticks still have a long-term advantage, with shorter winters and moose density on their side.

Outside/In: S03|E01

Apr 7, 2017
Photo: Logan Shannon

In this week's episode we follow the trail of a very secretive pioneer in eco-activism, look into the long history of the relationship between science and politics including the bizarre Doomsday clock, and Sam answers some listener's questions about spring tails, wind, and Mount Mitchell.

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire are launching a project to evaluate the threat of invasive plant species to the state’s forests.

Non-native species like burning bush, glossy buckthorn, and multiflora rose account for about a third of all plants in the state. Scientists at UNH are now planning a formal assessment of those invasive species and how they affect the state’s forests.

The project will also evaluate what factors make forests more or less susceptible to invasive species.

Allegra Boverman

  In a letter to new EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, Governor Chris Sununu complains that federal regulations on storm water runoff are too burdensome for some New Hampshire towns.

The regulations, known as MS4 permits, are meant to reduce the amount of pollutants that get discharged into bodies of water via storm water runoff from developed areas.

They would require dozens of towns in New Hampshire to make significant investments in their storm water drainage systems to comply.

Joe Shlabotnik/flickr

The state Department of Environmental Services says a proposal to set stricter limits for certain contaminants in drinking water could cost the state over 30 million dollars.

Amy Quinton; NHPR

Officials overseeing the state’s dams and wastewater treatment plants say they’re heartened by calls for more investment in infrastructure by Governor Sununu and President Trump.

But they're also alarmed by the Trump Administration’s proposed cuts to the EPA.

Speaking on The Exchange, Fred McNeill, Chief Engineer at Manchester’s Environmental Protection Division, says the EPA funds several state positions that help maintain and improve the city’s one thousand miles of underground water infrastructure.  McNeill is concerned these jobs may now be eliminated.

Experts hired by the town of Durham are raising concerns about the potential environmental impact of a proposal to bury a power line beneath Great Bay.

The utility company Eversource is hoping to build a 13 mile transmission line on the Seacoast, burying a portion of it beneath Great Bay.

After residents raised concerns about the environmental impact of burying the cable, the town of Durham hired a consultant to review Eversource’s proposal.

Gov. Paul LePage is asking President Donald Trump to reverse the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument established by an executive order from President Barack Obama last year.

A new poll from the University of New Hampshire shows strong support in the state for environmental protections.

Nearly three quarters of New Hampshire residents say environmental protection rules should either be left as they are or strengthened.

That’s according to research from the UNH Carsey School of Public Policy.

NHPR Digital via CartoDB

The state Department of Environmental Services says a residential drinking well in Rochester has tested above the state limit for PFCs, a chemical contaminant.

A pair of bills aimed at addressing concerns over drinking water contamination went before lawmakers today.

The proposals come as several communities around the state grapple with emerging contaminants found in their water supplies.

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