Environment | New Hampshire Public Radio

Environment

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

State officials are urging swimmers to be careful in unsupervised areas after a series of river drownings, amid pool closures and beach restrictions.

At a press conference on the Merrimack River in Concord Friday morning, Fish & Game Col. Kevin Jordan said New Hampshire averages 13 to 15 deadly drownings a year.

Nick Mott

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge began as a bold vision to preserve enough land to sustain a whole web of Arctic animals. Today, these 19 million roadless acres are home to moose and caribou, wolves and foxes, and birds that fly in from around the world to nest. Polar bears are using the coastal areas as a true refuge as the world warms and the sea ice retreats.

But shortly after ANWR was created, an enormous oil deposit was discovered nearby, and a different vision for the far north took hold.

For the month of August, Outside/In is featuring Refuge, a four-part Peabody award-winning documentary series from Threshold. This is part one.

Flickr Creative Commons | Jan Kaláb

Every other Friday on Morning Edition, NHPR’s Sam Evans-Brown tracks down answers to questions about the environment and outdoors for our listeners in a segment we call “Ask Sam.”

This week, he's tackling a gritty one from a listener named Laura from Stratham:

Dmoore5556 / Creative Commons

President Trump on Tuesday signed a bipartisan bill that permanently funds the nation's biggest natural resource conservation program.

State environmental groups say the Great American Outdoors Act, backed by New Hampshire’s Congressional delegation, is a milestone that's been decades in the making.

Are snow-making machines an example of climate adaptation, or an example of an emissions feedback loop? Does the fire risk posed by planting trees outweigh the benefits of their use as a carbon sink? Can the team talk big planet problems and still leave room for bad puns?

We’ll answer these questions and more climate queries on this special edition of Ask Sam.

Nature Conservancy NH / Screenshot

Advocates are marking the 30th anniversary of the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act with plans for a new accessible trail in Manchester.

The Nature Conservancy of New Hampshire is building the project at its Manchester Cedar Swamp Preserve.

When it opens next summer, it’ll include a new trail and upgrades to some of the existing path, plus a new boardwalk, city bus stop and larger parking lot.

Mass. Office of Energy and Environment Affairs

Over forty years since the release of the film Jaws, sharks are returning to Cape Cod. But the fear and the narrative around the danger of sharks could be changing.

This episode was originally published in 2019.

Dan Barrick / NHPR

Nearly half of New Hampshire is still in a drought.

But the dry conditions are getting a little better, according to the latest data from the National Drought Monitor.

It says 49 percent of the state is in a moderate drought, and 92 percent is abnormally dry.

A month ago, nearly three-quarters of the state was in that moderate drought category.

The dry conditions are concentrated in the Southern tier and lower Lakes region, along with parts of the Upper and Monadnock Valleys.

https://flic.kr/p/5Dr6fa / Flicker CC

Every other Friday on Morning Edition NHPR’s Sam Evans-Brown tracks down answers to questions about the environment and outdoors for our listeners in a segment we call “Ask Sam.”

FLORIANHUAG / FLICKR/CC

Governor Chris Sununu has signed an omnibus bill that will reinstate new drinking water standards for toxic PFAS chemicals.

Democrats hailed the signature of the bill, which was opposed by some business groups. The legislation enacts some of the strictest PFAS drinking water standards of any of the handful of states that have such rules.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

U.S. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt was in New Hampshire Wednesday, touring the Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

Bernhardt’s visit came just before the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a bill to permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which helps New Hampshire and other states fund ecological and cultural conservation projects.

President Donald Trump is expected to sign the bill in the coming days.

Courtesy of Marcus Ponce de Leon

By Degrees is a new climate change reporting project by NHPR. One major focus of the project is the connection between pollution and our health.

Last week, we talked about outdoor air quality in New Hampshire. But scientists are exploring the ways indoor air quality affects us too.

Joe Klementovich

Scientists from New England and Canada are working together to launch a new project called Your Forest, Your Health.

The coalition of medical experts and ecologists want to learn more about how forests can help keep us healthy, especially during the Coronavirus pandemic. And they want to make people more aware of how forests contribute to a healthier climate too. 

Want climate change news in your inbox? Sign up for our newsletter today.

Kevin Gibbs, https://bit.ly/3eDwJW8

Ever since the threat of climate change was first made public, scientists have offered the possibility of a get-out-of-jail-free card: geoengineering. Reducing emissions is hard, so why not just engineer the Earth's atmosphere more to our liking?  Decades later, the science of geoengineering is still in its infancy, but a growing number of researchers are trying to change that. Should they?

wikimedia commons

Congresswoman Annie Kuster is co-sponsoring a new plan to add toxic PFAS chemical standards to the next federal defense spending bill.

The amendment mirrors a bill that passed the House earlier this year. Speaking on a press call Tuesday, Kuster said that bill has stalled in the Senate.

Britta Greene for NHPR

By Degrees is a multi-year reporting project from NHPR that will tell stories about climate change in New Hampshire - its challenges, solutions and connections to other forces shaping our lives today. 

The project begins today. Morning Edition Host Rick Ganley spoke with lead reporter Annie Ropeik, who covers energy, the environment and the Seacoast for NHPR, to learn more about the project's goals, what to expect this week and how listeners can contribute.  

CSPAN

To kick off NHPR's new reporting project By Degrees, we're unpacking the basics of how climate change is already affecting life in New Hampshire, and how the state is contributing to and responding to the problem. 

Rachel Cleetus is the policy director for the Union of Concerned Scientists' Climate and Energy Program, based in Massachusetts.

Reverend Don Ruggles, courtesy Chisasibi Heritage & Cultural Centre.

On July 6, a federal judge ordered the shutdown of the Dakota Access Pipeline -- a victory for the resistance movement led by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

But pull on the thread of this moment and you'll find it’s connected to a long and complicated history, of treaties made, kept, and violated, as well as the Supreme Court decisions that constitute so-called “native law."

Flickr Creative Commons | DaPuglet

  Every other Friday on Morning Edition NHPR’s Sam Evans-Brown tracks down answers to questions about the environment and outdoors for our listeners in a segment we call “Ask Sam.”

Sherry From Meredith asks: “I’m noticing a lot of chipmunks this year, as my son Josiah put it. Are we having a Chip-ocalypse? Like we had Squirrel-mageddon a couple of years ago?”

 

A new study says children drinking from private water wells may be more likely to have unsafe levels of lead in their bloodstreams.

A story about crickets that isn't actually about crickets at all.

There’s a tendency to think of “the natural world” as everything beyond the asphalt. But soil often lies just a couple inches below the concrete, and the design of our cities represents choices about how much space we give to “built environment” and how much we give to “grown environment" -- and specifically, to trees.

 

Wikimedia Commons

  Every other Friday on Morning Edition, Outside/In Host Sam Evans-Brown answers listeners' questions about the mysteries and quirks of the outside world.

stock photo

A new study, commissioned by advocates in New Hampshire, shows that most firefighters’ protective gear is treated extensively with toxic PFAS chemicals.  

Scientists at the University of Notre Dame picked up the issue, with funding from the National Science Foundation and the firefighter-focused Last Call Foundation, after a request by a Granite State couple.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Near-drought conditions in southern New Hampshire are straining vegetable farmers in the midst of planting season, after more than a month without substantial rainfall.

The state expects to soon declare a drought in the southern tier and lower Lakes Region, after an abnormally dry spring and a winter without much snow to recharge streams and groundwater.

Denis Kuschter, https://bit.ly/2YbohbO

For months, producer Taylor Quimby has been trying to craft a story about spicy peppers. Every one of his pitches has been shot down…until now. On this episode of Outside/In, a culinary challenge in which four producers argue about which seed-bearing delicacy is the ABSOLUTE best.

Jessica Hunt / NHPR

Southern New Hampshire looks to be headed for a drought this summer, after more than a month without any significant rainfall following a low-snow winter.

The state got about half an inch of rain on May 15. 

The landmark Supreme Court ruling known as Massachusetts v. Environmental Protection Agency held that greenhouse gases were pollutants that could be regulated by the executive branch, and defined de facto federal climate policy in the United States for a decade.

Could it soon be reversed? 

Flickr Creative Commons | Nicholas A. Tonelli

Every other Friday on Morning Edition, Outside/In Host Sam Evans-Brown answers listeners' questions about the mysteries and quirks of the outside world.

Laurie from California asks: “In all of the five big extinction events, how did plants fare versus animals? Are trees going to take over after we’re gone? Are trees with flowers still going to be around?”

NH State Parks

The state will not conduct some routine sampling of inland beaches this summer due the pandemic.

The Department of Environmental Services says they’ll focus on monitoring and responding to blooms of toxic algae at freshwater shores this season.

They will not regularly sample those beaches for fecal bacteria as they have in other years.

They say their lab capacity and other logistics have been hampered by the coronavirus.

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