Environment | New Hampshire Public Radio

Environment

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."

 

When you think about civics and government, you probably think about voting and politicians, but the government touches every part of your life from birth to death. Today, we look at birth. What does it take to be born an American citizen? And then, once you are, how do you prove it?

Then, the story of how tourism on Mount Washington became a model for mountain tourism nationally.

The Executive Council is a peculiar New Hampshire institution made up of five “citizen” councilors that, together with the governor, make up the executive branch. Why do we have one? And how does it work?

 

Then, overpopulation was one of the biggest environmental issues of the 60s and 70s, arguably bigger than saving the whales, planting trees, and acid rain. But then it seemed to disappear from the conversation.

NH State Parks

Residents in the North Country town of Dalton are organizing against a proposed new landfill near Forest Lake State Park.

The plan comes from Vermont-based Casella, which says it’s running out of room for trash in the North Country.

More than a year ago, the town of Bethlehem voted down an expansion for the near- capacity Casella landfill there.

Tom Murray via BugGuide.net

We often think of the “food chain” in the natural world in linear terms: this eats that, which in turn, is eaten by the other. But today’s subject proves that chain is a little more like a web. The species we’re talking about today feeds on the most dangerous game, the apex of apex predators…us. And the species that prey on us? Mosquitos, of course! We recently spoke with Sarah MacGregor, an entomologist and founder of Dragon Mosquito Control, help us learn more about them.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

State legislators will vote in committee Tuesday on a handful of bills expanding recreational access and funding for public waters.

One bill up for a vote in the House Fish & Game committee would set up a pilot program to allow swimming at five water bodies with public boat ramps.

The proposal stems from a debate over one such pond in Ossipee, where residents want to swim alongside non-motorized boats.

Britta Greene / New Hampshire Public Radio

New Hampshire wildlife officials have the same message every spring when it comes to bears.

Bring in bird feeders, they say, get chickens inside some kind of bear-proof enclosure and make sure trash is stored away.

But the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department has been running into a very human problem: apathy. 

Courtesy batwrangler via Flickr/Creative Commons.

It’s an unmistakable sound. One that elicits memories, sights and scents of events long ago. It recalls the joy of youth, the possibility of a spring evening. But it can also incite insomnia and the blind rage that accompanies it.

Sean Hurley

If you’re looking to sleep overnight on Mount Washington in the winter you have two choices.  You can stay at the Hermit Lake Shelters near Tuckerman Ravine - or you can stay at the go-to-spot for winter climbers - Harvard Cabin near the base of Huntington Ravine. But, as NHPR's Sean Hurley learned when he recently spent a night at Harvard Cabin, the pleasures of those winter days are matched by their dangers - and the responsibilities of the two mountain caretakers go beyond simply keeping track of guests.

Wind. Footsteps. White snow.

Robert Garrova / NHPR

Researchers have compiled new data on the economic impacts of New Hampshire watersheds.

The UNH team and its partners previewed their forthcoming study Friday at Plymouth State University, during the annual state Water and Watershed Conference.

They analyzed a range of data to quantify the value and costs of the state’s lakes and rivers – through infrastructure, recreation and more.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

As federal regulators consider new drinking water standards for toxic PFAS chemicals, military officials are reportedly pushing for less stringent rules.

The Environmental Protection Agency is planning new standards for testing, treatment and cleanup of PFAS contamination.

FLORIANHUAG / FLICKR/CC

Towns in Southern New Hampshire are moving ahead with a major construction project to increase water supply to the region.

On Tuesday, voters in Salem approved a deal to buy over a million gallons of water per day from Manchester Water Works.

The water will be sold to residents in Salem and other nearby towns facing water shortages due to increasing population and limited local water sources.

Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests

Local forest stewards will get trained this summer on how to help hikers enjoy Mount Major more – without leaving as much behind.

The popular hiking spot in the Lakes Region was one of fewer than 20 hiking spots chosen nationwide to be the focus of training from the Leave No Trace program.

The New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee will decide next week whether to reconsider its approval of a new power line on the Seacoast.

Opponents of the Eversource proposal, called the Seacoast Reliability Project, appealed the SEC's December ruling Monday.

File Photo

Two environmental groups have filed suit against the owners of a coal-fired power plant outside Concord.

The Conservation Law Foundation complaint says Merrimack Station in Bow is polluting the Merrimack River with excess hot water.

John K via FLICKR CC

Public hearings begin this week on the state's proposed drinking water regulations for toxic PFAS chemicals.

Regulators have devised standards for four types of PFAS. They would require all public water systems to regularly test and potentially treat for the chemicals.

 

Salem is considering a deal with Manchester Water Works to buy over a million gallons of water per day for residents in Salem and nearby towns.

The deal would be part of the proposed Southern New Hampshire Regional Water Interconnection Project, which would route water from Lake Massabesic, near Manchester, through a pipe that would be built with existing state money along Route 28.

Salem Selectman Robert Bryant says Salem's major local water source, Lake Canobie, has suffered from recent droughts and can't meet the demand of a growing population.

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

Manchester's Amoskeag Fishways, the state’s largest urban environmental education center, is scaling down its operations next week.

The center is located at Amoskeag dam along the Merrimack River. For nearly 25 years, New Hampshire Audabon has run it, offering free environmental and marine education to around 25,000 people each year.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

New Hampshire has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to outdoor recreation opportunities. But some recreation groups and business leaders say the state isn’t doing enough to boost the recreation industry. They’re supporting legislative efforts to create an Office of Outdoor Recreation Industry Development.

EPA

The Environmental Protection Agency has settled with General Electric to pay for a completed clean-up at a Milford toxic waste site.

The Fletchers Paint Works site became a Superfund in the 1980s, after it was found to have contaminated local drinking water with toxic chemicals known as PCBs.

The EPA named GE as responsible for the pollution, and they worked together to remove and secure contaminated soil at the site. That work wrapped up in 2017.

Now, the EPA says GE has agreed to pay back $3.2 million to cover the government's clean-up costs.

Jerry and Marcy Monkman / Trust For Public Lands

Researchers want to draw attention to what they say is a surprising number of town-owned forests in New Hampshire. 

They've completed a first-ever inventory of those spaces, and found towns own nearly 4 percent of all the state's forests.  

UNH Extension Forester Karen Bennett says it might not seem like much - especially since about three-quarters of forest in the state is privately owned. 

NHPR

The state’s public water systems might have to pay millions of dollars to comply with new proposed limits on certain industrial chemicals in drinking water – even as advocates say the proposals aren’t strict enough.

Something Wild: Tested with Fire

Dec 21, 2018
Jeff Lougee / The Nature Conservancy

The diversity of New Hampshire’s habitats is staggering, as we’ve mentioned in the past there are more than 200 natural communities within our borders. This week, in another edition of New Hampshire’s Wild Neighborhoods Something Wild, again visits a rare habitat type.

Courtesy Jerry McFarland via Flickr/Creative Commons.

As we hunker down for the winter weather, we’re frequently too preoccupied with what is in our front yards that we tend not to notice what isn’t there. The snow and ice have muscled out the grass, and the chilly sounds of the north wind have blown away the dawn chorus that woke us this summer. And short of finding a postcard in your mailbox from a warm exotic location, signed by your friendly neighborhood phoebe, you probably haven’t thought much about the birds that flitted through your yard just months ago.

The Complicated History Of The Overpopulation Debate

Nov 27, 2018
Sara Plourde; NHPR

Population growth has been a concern for environmentalists, and other interest groups, for more than a century. But the anxiety over the loss of space, and resources, as a result of human growth and consumption, is not simple. We talk with Sam Evans-Brown, host of Outside/In, NHPR's podcast about the natural world and how we use it, about his two-part show on the history of the anxiety of overpopulation. 

Listen to the episodes of Outside/In on overpopulation here


Dan Tuohy for NHPR

Most of New Hampshire’s riverside mills and factories have closed. But they’ve left their mark - and in some cases, a lot of toxic waste.

For decades, Nashua has struggled with what to do with waste from the Mohawk Tannery, a factory that produced leather for sixty years. Now, the city is considering a private-public partnership to clean it up, but the details are still up for debate.

Something Wild: Winter of Scarcity

Nov 23, 2018
Courtesy Angus Veitch via Flickr/Creative Commons.

This weekend of plenty is a time to celebrate the abundant harvest. But for a lot of species in the New Hampshire wilds, this is likely the early days of a winter of discontent.

Winter is always the lean time of the year, but this winter especially, biologists are expecting scarcity for all sorts of forest dwellers: birds, rodents and larger mammals. And naturally, our colleague from the Forest Society will remind us that it’s all because of the trees. And this time he’ll meet no disagreement. 

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

New Hampshire’s largest solar company wants to train more electricians to fill jobs in renewable energy and other industries.

ReVision Energy is touting its new training center now, as part of National Apprenticeship Week. But the program already has 50 students enrolled.

For the next four years, those apprentices will earn full-time wages – up to $25 an hour – and log enough training hours to get their state electrician certification.

The company will also train electricians in Maine and, starting next year, Massachusetts.

New research from UNH says pay-as-you-throw trash programs are sharply reducing solid waste generation in New Hampshire towns.

Roughly 1 in 5 New Hampshire towns and cities use pay-as-you-throw. Usually, that means they only collect trash that's put in official municipal trash bags, which residents have to buy for a dollar or two a piece.

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

 

The New England office of the EPA has awarded grants to Keene State College and the Nashua Regional Planning Commission for projects that aim to reduce kids' exposure to toxins.

Keene State College will use the $25,000 for a project that trains citizen scientists to monitor and reduce air pollution from wood smoke, which exacerbates childhood asthma.

 

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