Environment

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

With reports of busy hiking trails, New Hampshire’s search-and-rescue teams are urging people who head into the forest to use an extra degree of caution to avoid putting wilderness first responders at risk for COVID-19.

While conservation officers are carrying personal protective gear, performing rescues could expose rescuers to the coronavirus.

Flickr Creative Commons | Rod Haley

Every other Friday on Morning Edition, Outside/In host Sam Evans-Brown tackles a question from a listener. 

Right now, many New Hampshirites are home, giving us a unique opportunity to question the nature invading our personal spaces.

Click here for all of NHPR's coronavirus coverage, including the latest news, FAQs, and more.

State regulators are monitoring how this winter’s low snowpack could affect water supplies in the dry summer months.

The state has between 60 and 75 percent less snow on the ground than average right now. State water division director Tom O’Donovan says that's just one source of the state’s drinking water and other water supplies – in reservoirs, lakes and wells.

Courtesy N.H. Fish and Game

 

Low snow cover, warm spells this winter, and a mast crop of berries and acorns in the fall have more bears coming out of hibernation, particularly in the southeastern corner of the state.

Dan Bailey, a wildlife biologist with New Hampshire Fish and Game, says they are seeing more winter bear activity this year than usual, with regular sightings in people’s backyards.

Sarah Gibson / NHPR file photo

New research shows the Northeast is the only part of the country where winter snowfall is increasing, not decreasing – but the data the snowy season is also getting shorter.

Enel Green Power North America

The Littleton Zoning Board will continue to hear from residents at a hearing Tuesday about a proposed battery storage project.

Battery energy storage systems use rechargeable lithium ion batteries to store electricity from the grid when prices are low.

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

Hundreds of hikers and skiers started the new year outside as part of New Hampshire State Parks' First Day Hikes program. Five parks throughout the state - Monadnock, Franconia Notch, Odiorne Point, Milan Hill, and Bear Brook - welcomed visitors with trail maps, campfires, and hot chocolate.

Sneha Nagarajan

A delegation of ten students from Dartmouth's Tuck School of Business is attending the United Nation's COP25 Climate Change Conference in Madrid. Countries attending the conference hope to negotiate more ambitious plans to limit global warming.

Hannah Payson, associate director of the Tuck School’s Center for Business, Government and Society, is attending the conference with the students.

“It’s really kind of like a bustling city,” she says. “You hear all these different languages spoken from around the world.”

Hobo & Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroads - Facebook

Railroad proponents are pushing back on a proposal to remove existing train tracks near Laconia to make way for a long-planned rail trail extension.

Stewards of Laconia's nine-mile WOW trail, named for nearby water bodies, hope to someday extend the paved bike and pedestrian path over nearby rail corridors and other existing trails so that it would seamlessly connect Franklin and Weirs Beach.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

Portsmouth became the latest U.S. city to ban the use of some disposable plastic containers after the City Council voted Monday night to outlaw Styrofoam city-wide.

Supporters of the new law say they believe it’s the first of its kind in New Hampshire.

The ordinance will take effect at the end of next year. It’ll ban most Portsmouth businesses – except some nonprofits – from distributing single-use Styrofoam.

It’ll also ban the distribution of single-use plastic straws and containers, but only on city property.

FLORIANHUAG / FLICKR/CC

 

A group of Hampstead residents is suing the town’s privately-operated water utility, Hampstead Area Water Company, and its operator, Lewis Builders Development, alleging the companies’ operations are illegal and have made the residents’ wells virtually unusable. 

A common theme on Something Wild is breeding. (Which is why we always sip our tea with our pinkies extended.) Seriously, though, we talk about the how, when and where because there are a lot of different reproductive strategies that have evolved in nature. Today we take a closer look at two such strategies through the lens of "how often": semelparity and iteroparity.

Weekly N.H. News Roundup: August 23, 2019

Aug 22, 2019

We focus on environmental news on this edition of the Weekly New Hampshire News Roundup. We talk about climate issues on the 2020 campaign trail after the departure of Jay Inslee, and compare the climate plans offered by other Democratic candidates. Following protests at the statehouse over the Merrimack Station coal plant, we discuss the future of fossil fuel generators in the state. Plus, the latest environmental vetoes and bill signings from Governor Chris Sununu.  Annie Ropeik, NHPR's environment and energy reporter, is guest host.

GUESTS:

Courtesy of Flickr

 

New Hampshire is getting federal money to study the health effects of toxins near a Superfund site in Berlin and in homes and private wells statewide.

The state Department of Health and Human Services’ Public Health Laboratory announced Monday it will use over $5 million from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to monitor residents’ blood and urine samples after potential exposure to chemicals.

Its goal: Increase the state’s understanding of toxin exposure and effective interventions.

Sununu Signs Bill to Clean Up Coakley Landfill Site

Aug 16, 2019
Annie Ropeik / NHPR

The Coakley Landfill will soon get treatment and cleanup from New Hampshire's Department of Environmental Services.

Robert Taylor via Flickr

You may be familiar with hoarders (not the TV show, but same idea).  In nature, a hoarder will hide food in one place.  Everything it gathers will be stored in a single tree or den.  But for some animals one food cache isn't enough.  We call them scatter hoarders.

  

Army Corps of Engineers, New England District

The Environmental Protection Agency is requiring the city of Manchester to alert residents when it discharges raw sewage into the Merrimack River. The change is part of a large agreement Manchester is finalizing this year with the EPA to ensure the city's wastewater and stormwater systems comply with the 1994 Clean Water Act. 

What's Next for Renewable Energy Projects in N.H.?

Aug 7, 2019
Amy Quinton / NHPR file photo

The recent defeat of Northern Pass was a major setback for the import of large-scale hydropower into the region.  Meanwhile, efforts to build more solar and wind power are still underway… and some towns and cities have set their own renewable goals. We'll look at the reliability of these technologies… and  talk about their role in the future of our region’s power grid. 

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

The solid waste company Casella says it's running out of space for Northern New England's trash. So it's taking the rare step of planning a brand-new landfill, in the small Coös County town of Dalton.

Lots of locals agree – they don't want the landfill. But they're divided on one potential tool to block it: zoning.

Something Wild: Smell that Olfactory

Aug 2, 2019
Courtesy Tony Alter via Flickr/Creative Commons.

We know…we’ve been remiss, and it’s time to talk about the elephant in the room. Something Wild, as you know, is a chance to take a closer look at the wildlife, ecosystems and marvelous phenomena you can find in and around New Hampshire. But over the years there is one species in New Hampshire that we haven’t spent much time examining. A species, I think that has been conspicuous in its absence. Humans.

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

This summer, towns in southern New Hampshire are breaking ground on what will become the state’s largest regional water system. It is being built in part with money from massive settlements between New Hampshire and gas companies, including ExxonMobil, that used to produce MtBE, a chemical that polluted local drinking water. 

Google Maps

The North Country town of Dalton holds a public hearing Tuesday on plans to try and block a controversial landfill project.

The informational hearing at 7 p.m. comes ahead of a special town meeting July 30, where the town will vote on the emergency zoning proposal.

Dalton is one of the state's few towns with no zoning ordinance. This proposal would put some basic zoning in place.

Chris Jensen, NHPR

The New Hampshire Supreme Court on Friday dealt what may be the final blow to the Northern Pass transmission line.

wikimedia commons

New restrictions on PFAS and what that means for Granite State communities. These chemicals have been found in public water supplies around the state. Used for decades in such products as Teflon and Gortex, they've been linked to serious health problems, spurring communities to take action, including lawsuits. Now, after intense pressure from community activists, New Hampshire officials have proposed some of the lowest PFAS limits in the country. We'll find out what's in store now, in terms of testing, following the health effects of these chemicals, and more. 

Courtesy of Flickr/Elke Mader

 

The towns of Peterborough and Jaffrey are considering a joint project to buy and manage a group of wells for their municipal water systems. 

 

A company based out of Chicago owns the parcel in question, named the Cold Stone Spring. It encompasses over 500 acres in Sharon and Jaffrey and includes three wells that have already received approval from the Department of Environmental Services to pump 577,000 gallons of water per day. Collectively, the towns expect to pump around 200,000 gallons per day.

 

EPA.gov

A cold storage company in Londonderry has settled with the Environmental Protection Agency for past Clean Air Act violations.

Londonderry Freezer Warehouse refrigerates some of its facilities with ammonia. Handled incorrectly, the chemical can be toxic, corrosive and flammable.

The EPA says the company's cold storage facility had rusty valves, shoddy ventilation and inadequate emergency controls.

Courtesy Heidi Asbjornsen

The specter of drought is often raised in these early days of summer. And for good reason, though water levels have returned to normal around the New Hampshire, state officials are still warning residents to remain cautious after last summer drought. And while we often fret about the health of our lawns and our gardens, Dave (from the Forest Society) wanted to address drought resistance among his favorite species, trees.

Michigan.gov

State environmental officials on Friday proposed what would be some of the lowest limits in the country for four types of PFAS chemicals in public water supplies and groundwater.

NHPR Staff

Governor Chris Sununu has vetoed a plan to replace all state cars and trucks with zero-emissions vehicles within about a decade.

The bill would have required the state to stop buying new conventional vehicles by 2026.

State agencies would have had to replace their existing fleets with carbon-free technologies by the year 2041.

Something Wild: First Bitten

Jun 21, 2019
Courtesy Louise LeCLerc via Flickr/Creative Common

First Bitten is our periodic series at Something Wild where we study the people who study nature, and what set them on the path to do that. And this time around our two subjects under the microscope trace their love of nature back to their parents's nurture, specifically their fathers.  

Ron Davis grew up in Brooklyn, New York. Not a place known for for its lakes or streams or for vast expanses of wilderness; not a place you'd expect to find a future biologist. But that's where he started, "and because of the Second World War my love of nature became greatly enhanced."

 

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