Environment

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.

profilestrategygroup.com

Michael Sununu, brother to Gov. Chris Sununu, is criticizing the science behind a recent bipartisan state report on the impact of climate change on the Seacoast.

In a 25 page critique, Michael Sununu calls the Coastal Risks and Hazard Report “alarmist hand wringing” that would lead to wasteful spending of public money.

New research from the University of New Hampshire suggests some bat species have developed a resistance to a devastating fungal disease known as white-nose syndrome.

Via LondonderryTrails.org

The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services has awarded funding of $2.4 million for 20 projects protecting wetlands.

Two projects, both getting $400,000, will conserve land. The first would go toward the conservation of 1,870 acres including Tower Hill pond in Hooksett and Candia. It will conserve 45 separate wetlands encompassing 280 acres, over two miles of undeveloped shoreline, forest, and other areas.

Jason Moon for NHPR

Disputes between utility companies and local residents over new power lines are a familiar story. But on New Hampshire's Seacoast, a version of that story is playing out with a few twists. For one, the power lines would go underwater. And two, they would go through a town that prides itself on its history of opposing energy projects.

Jason Moon for NHPR

Yesterday, a new report was released with suggestions for how Seacoast communities should prepare for the effects of climate change. The document could influence town planning and development in the region for years.

The report came from the Coastal Risk and Hazards Commission, which was created by the legislature back in 2013. It had 37-members representing Seacoast towns, state agencies, and private-sector interests.

Outside/In: Ties That Bind

Nov 18, 2016

For alpinist Ben Clark, scaling the world’s toughest mountains is a source of pride and peace; for his mom and dad it is a source of constant worry. What's a parent to do if their son’s lifelong ambition puts him in harm’s way?

Plus, The “Save the Whales” movement of the 1970’s was instrumental in putting a stop to commercial whaling. But even as humpbacks and other whale populations have bounced back, one species is still up against the ropes. Literally. Later in the show, Sam tackles the problem of whale entanglement and discovers that proposed solutions include crossbows, Australian lobsters, and Chinese finger traps.

The Conservation Law Foundation is suing the Pease Development Authority over water contamination issues at the former Pease Air Force base in Portsmouth.

The Conservation Law Foundation says the Pease Development Authority failed to seek required federal storm water runoff permits from the Environmental Protection Agency.

Conservation Law Foundation lawyer Tom Irwin says the federal Clean Water Act requires the PDA to have a storm water runoff management plan.

New research from the University of New Hampshire suggests a person’s political leanings can influence how they perceive some of the impacts of climate change.

In a recent study, researchers at UNH started with the basic, factual premise that there has been an increase in flooding in New Hampshire over the last ten years.

But according to the survey conducted of more than 2,000 New Hampshire residents, your political leanings play a big role in determining whether you agree with that fact.

Outside/In: There's No "i" in Team

Nov 11, 2016

When you walk a trail in the woods, have you ever wondered, how did this get here? Who carved this path? Chances are a team of hardscrabble men and women worked tirelessly to make sure the paths you follow blend right into the landscape. This week we find out why one such trail crew, known as the 'TFC', is the stuff of legend.

Also, running and completing a marathon is an amazing achievement that is the culmination of many hours of hard mental and physical training. But can you really claim you finished when you collapse just a few yards from the finish, or is that cheating.

And we'll finish it off with a heartwarming story of the ultimate gesture of sportsmanship from a place called Ushuaia, Argentina known as the "End of the World". 

Outside/In: Fighting the Odds

Nov 4, 2016

In this week's episode, we have two stories about people fighting and overcoming tough odds: First, the tale of Tony Bosco, who camped in the woods around Rutgers University for more than two decades. Second, the life and work of Dr. Percy Julian, a pioneering chemist who helped unlock the secrets of the soybean and change the face of modern medicine.

Outside/In: Go Big or Go Home

Oct 28, 2016

In this week's episode, the rise and fall of the Keene Pumpkin Festival, a quaint New England tradition that took a dark turn when riots broke out during the 2014 festival. Plus, the calmest extreme sport you'll ever witness: bird-watching. 

Sam answers a listener question about some rather nefarious crows and we travel to the most glamorous outdoor spot you've likely never noticed and discover it is teeming with microscopic life.

Outside/In: Take the Reins

Oct 21, 2016

In this week’s episode, we look at a controversial method of wildlife management called biocontrol. Then we practice a little biocontrol of our own by cooking and eating an invasive fish that’s terrorizing the ocean, and finally we set sail with just the sun, the stars, and our long lost sense of direction to guide us.

Conservation biologists say that the good news for wildlife is there are still extensive tracts of forest habitat in the northeast. Yet as humans have built up roads and housing developments, crossing between key habitat areas — such as from the Adirondacks to the Green Mountains — can be a dangerous trip for a moose or a bear.   

Dennis Amith via Flickr CC

Dartmouth College officials say a second private well near a Hanover farm where contaminated laboratory animals were buried in the 1960s and 1970s has tested positive for a toxic chemical believed to have migrated from the site.

 The drought conditions that have gripped much of the Northeastern U.S. this summer appear to have a silver lining — fewer ticks.

From Maine to Rhode Island, researchers say they expect tick numbers to be down from previous years especially for the blacklegged ticks, known as deer ticks, which transmit Lyme disease.

It's too early to say, however, whether fewer ticks could mean a decline in Lyme disease cases.

A Dartmouth hazardous waste burial site has contaminated the ground water near a Hanover neighborhood. Those chemicals are now on the move, and at least one family’s drinking water has been affected. 

Jason Moon for NHPR

For New Hampshire’s Seacoast, it’s no secret that climate change and the resulting rise in sea-level rise is one of the biggest challenges facing the region. But while the threat is well known, the ways Seacoast communities are preparing for it aren’t always what you’d expect. NHPR’s Jason Moon reports for our month-long series Life on the Seacoast.

Bryan Hanson / Morguefile

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation announced a million dollars in grants Tuesday to restore New Hampshire’s forest and fish habitat.

Eight organizations received funding to restore wildlife habitat in New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, and Maine. Collectively, the groups will open nearly 200 miles of streams for fish passage and improve habitat for the New England Cottontail, American woodcock, and golden-winged warblers.

Eversource, New Hampshire’s largest electric utility, is donating the bulk of the funding.

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