Environment

Penn State via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/auaiVV

For decades, environmentalists have fought to keep plastic, glass, paper and other recyclables out of landfills where they’d sit for thousands of years…so, is recycling truly making a difference in the health of the planet? Today, some data that challenges recycling’s sanctified status. Then, India’s government says it will clean up the horribly polluted Ganges, the river which supports ten percent of the world’s population. The first step: working with the Hindu belief that the Ganges is holy, self-purifying and the place to be buried. 

Brady Carlson / NHPR

  New Hampshire’s US Senators continue to call for reauthorizing the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund.

Republican Kelly Ayotte and Democrat Jeanne Shaheen were among those last week who unsuccessfully tried to pass a 60 day extension of the fund.

Speaking on the Senate floor last week, Shaheen said there was a perception the program was primarily used to acquire federal land. She said most of the funding for federal projects was instead used on existing parks, refuges and conservation areas:

The New Hampshire Supreme Court has affirmed a record judgment against Exxon Mobil in a case over the chemical additive MtBE.

The $236 million verdict reached by a jury in 2013 was the largest jury award in state history. Exxon Mobil argued it used MtBE to reduce air pollution under federal law and shouldn’t be held liable for contamination in the state’s groundwater.

In its ruling Friday, the state’s high court rejected the company’s request for a new trial and about 10 other points it raised.

Via PortsmouthWastewater.com

The U.S. Air Force has agreed to treat two more contaminated wells on the former Pease Air Force Base.

That’s in addition to the Haven well, which the Air Force agreed to treat back in August. That well tested above the EPA’s provisional health advisory level for perfluorochemicals, which had leached into the water from firefighting foam used on the base.

Now, after urging from the community and EPA, the Air Force will treat the Harrison and Smith wells, which test positive for the chemicals, but below the EPA’s threshold for the contaminants.

Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/cjdv7S

As hunters head out into the New Hampshire woods today for the first day of bear season, they may have a harder time finding their quarry. Not only is there a new ban on using chocolate as bait, but it’s been a good year for natural bear sustenance.

Last year, bear hunters took 784 bears, up 20 percent from the year before. This year, Fish and Game Bear Biologist Andy Timmins says the number will likely be lower, as there’s a bumper crop of acorns, beech nuts and berries out in the woods.

Giving Matters: Connecting Kids with the Natural World

Aug 29, 2015
Courtesy Squam Lake Natural Science Center

At the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center, visitors learn about New Hampshire’s environment up-close: observing otters, black bear and moose as the walk the center’s trails. Eric Kelsey and his daughter Sophie are regular visitors, and Sophie attended the center’s Blue Heron School, a nature-based early learning center.

NHPR

We’re at an osprey nest in Tilton with Iain McLeod, director of Squam Lakes Natural Science Center. Our goal is recruiting another individual for Project OspreyTrack. He explains that Project OspreyTrack began in 2011, “to try to understand a little bit more about osprey migration and foraging.” 

File Photo

The US Air Force will comply with an order from the Environmental Protection Agency to clean up groundwater at the Pease International Tradeport. A chemical family known as PFCs were discovered there, above the EPA threshold in the spring of 2014. 

In a statement, the Air Force Civil Engineer Center announced they had already resumed operation of a water treatment system; they have funded studies to evaluate new drinking water sites, and will develop wells to intercept the contaminants - -which are already leaching into the neighboring Harrison and Smith wells.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

In this year’s Democratic primary, several candidates have made action on climate change a major part of their campaign. This time around they think it could be a winning issue for them in the general election, and they’re also more comfortable using it to draw distinctions between each other.

Flikr Creative Commons / clrlakesand

  State environmental officials are dealing with three new infestations of milfoil.

The invasive species has been identified in Pine Island Pond in Manchester, Oxbow Pond in Canterbury, and Turee Pond in Bow.

Amy Smagula of the Department of Environmental Services says the infestation in Turee Pond may have roots in Turkey Pond in Concord.

Aboard a ferry off the coast of Rhode Island, state and federal officials take a close look at a steel structure poking out of the ocean. It's the first foundation affixed to the seafloor for a five-turbine wind farm off the state's coast.

It's a contrast to what's happening off the coast of Massachusetts. Developer Cape Wind has spent more than 10 years and millions of dollars there on a massive wind farm that it may never build.

meltedplastic / Flicker CC

The City of Manchester is halfway into replacing all of its streetlights with energy efficient LEDs.

The total price tag for replacing 9,000 street lights? $3.7 million dollars.  

But the savings, according to the city’s Deputy Public Works Director Tim Clougherty are “in the neighborhood of $550,000 dollars a year.”

The city says the upgrade will pay for itself in less than six years.

Giving Matters: Bear Paw Conserves, Land, Water and Space

Jun 19, 2015
NHPR/Rich-Kern

Bear-Paw Regional Greenways is a land trust that protects important wildlife habitat in southern New Hampshire. Its work in Hooksett has helped to double the amount of conserved land in that town, including ponds, trails, and rare species habitat.

Courtesy of New Hampshire Audubon

This week on Something Wild we further demonstrate that nature is everywhere…by going inside. We’re at the Currier Museum of Art looking at an exhibit of prints by John James Audubon from about 175 years ago. 

www.seacoastsciencecenter.org

New Hampshire wildlife officials are reminding residents that picking up young creatures is both illegal and potentially harmful.

Ashley Stokes heads the Marine Mammal Rescue program for the Seacoast Science Center in Rye. She says only those with special permits can care for wildlife, because improper care can harm or kill wildlife. But some individuals who encounter young harbor seals alone on New Hampshire beaches try to help anyway.

Courtesy of brewbooks via Flickr/Creative Commons (https://flic.kr/p/sqY5Yp).

Biologists like to talk about crocodiles, cassowaries, even chickens as being descendants of the dinosaurs. But in your back yard is likely something that can trace its ancestry to before the dinosaurs, some 360 million years ago. We’re talking about Ferns!

UNH Researchers Hone In On Harmful Oyster Bacteria

May 11, 2015
TheBrassGlass / Morguefile

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have discovered a new way to detect a bacterium that has contaminated New England oyster beds and made some consumers sick. Dr. Cheryl Whistler is an associate professor of molecular, cellular, and biomedical sciences at UNH and one of the co-developers of this new detection method. She spoke with NHPR's Peter Biello. 
 

What bacterium does this detect?

 It detects vibrio parahaemolyticus. That’s a hard one to say, so we can just call it V. Para.

wenzday01 via Flickr/CC - http://ow.ly/Msdln

  Researchers and environmental groups are trying to collect water samples across New Hampshire’s largest lake in a single day.

Today’s sampling is aimed at assessing the amount of phosphorus in Lake Winnipesaukee. Increased phosphorus levels can lead to higher amounts of algae and lake vegetation, which can affect overall lake health.

Something Wild takes pride in introducing to the residents of the state to the wonder in the wild that surrounds us all. Someone who discovered that wonder at a young age is David Carroll, “I was 8 years old when I had that experience with the first spotted turtle.” Naturalist, writer, artist are among the many descriptors frequently attached to Carroll’s name.

Taber Andrew Baln via Flickr CC

The Portsmouth City Council is considering a ban on plastic bags. Portsmouth City Councilor Brad Lown is sponsoring the ordinance, on behalf of the New Hampshire Surf rider Foundation's ‘Rise Above Plastics’ campaign. The ordinance would ban single-use plastic bags in the city, and allow stores to pass on a 10-cent per bag fee for using paper bags. 

Tell us why you feel a ban on plastic bags is needed in Portsmouth.

Aaron Plewke via Flickr CC

On a stage in Newbury, in front of an expectant audience, state officials carried out what looked like a standard meeting of the Mount Sunapee Advisory Committee. But, the audience of more than fifty people was gathered to find out whether Mt Sunapee’s West Bowl expansion would be allowed to go forward.

What they heard is that after more than a decade, the state has proposed granting permission to expand the Mt Sunapee Ski Area with a new chairlift, six new trails, a new parking lot and lodge.

But the approval carried conditions.

Shell Game / Flickr/Creative Commons

One of the rituals I shared with my children when they were growing up was stalking woodcocks during their spring courtship display. I guess I was sort of emulating a hero of mine named Aldo Leopold.

Greta Tamošiunaite / Flickr

As the snow starts to melt you might notice a stark contrast in the landscape.  Maybe you were driving down the highway and noticed one shoulder was covered with snow while the other side was bare with a faint tinge of spring green shoots.  The cause?  Slope and aspect.  

Mark Stevens via flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/oWwRHM

According to a report from the National Park Service only 7% of annual park visitors are African American. On today’s show, we delve into environmental history and cultural studies to find out why the story of the American outdoors is so white.

Then, environmentalists have taken many tacks to get people to be “greener”: the doomsday approach, education, shame. Now new research suggests another way to increase green behaviors: a salary. Why paying people an hourly wage decreases environmentally-friendly behaviors.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

Star Island, one the Isles of Shoals, is one of just four maritime islands in New Hampshire. It is owned and operated by the nonprofit Star Island Corporation. For years, Star has been a retreat and conference center and is also open to the public for day trips and overnight stays. Brad Greely is a minister who has a lifelong history with Star Island.

 

BG: Both my parents and my grandparents were people who came to Star Island. So I was brought at the ripe age of six months out to a conference. Then I went on to have a family and started bringing my own kids out here.

While following deer trails in snow you'll find pellets of scat and tufts of hair – coarse grey and white hair, hollow in cross-section. A more coveted souvenir are "sheds” – cast-off antlers.

After breeding ends in December, deer antlers loosen at the base. Once-formidable weapons of territorial defense drop with testosterone levels in January. The shed antlers cast by bucks and bull moose each winter are often promptly buried by snow.

Giving Matters: Preserving NH's Land

Nov 15, 2014
Courtesy NE Wilderness Trust

Fred and Rosalind Slavic built their home on a thickly wooded site in Fitzwilliam a half century ago. They wanted their 300-acre tract to remain in a wild state, so they have willed it to the Northeast Wilderness Trust. The trust will dismantle the buildings and retain an easement on the land.

New federal science education standards adopted in Vermont require that students learn about climate change. So teachers are starting to create lesson plans with hands-on activities about weather patterns.

Some are getting that training deep in the woods of the Northeast Kingdom.

All this week we’re taking a close look at the Narragansett Bay, for a series we call One Square Mile.  Today we look at the heavy industry that relies on the Providence waterfront.  Specifically, where those big piles of coal, scrap metal and salt,  sit along the Providence River.

Tuesday, independent Providence mayoral candidate Vincent “Buddy” Cianci, Jr. details his plan to turn the industrial waterfront to mixed use development, with things like hotels and marinas.   As Rhode Island Public Radio’s John Bender reports, that's been the subject of a decades-long battle.

Republican Gov. Paul LePage is defending his support of legislation that could make it easier for private businesses to use eminent domain to seize property for natural gas pipeline expansion. The governor says the legislation is necessary to alleviate what he calls the New England energy crisis. But the governor's two opponents oppose the move.

At issue is federal legislation known as H.R.1900, The Natural Gas Permitting Reform Act, which aims to streamline the permitting process for the development of natural gas pipeline projects.

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