Environment

View From Up Here
8:16 am
Tue July 22, 2014

Monitoring Marine Life in the Atlantic, From Water and From Orbit

The Research Vessel Endeavor is the floating laboratory that scientists will use for the ocean-going portion of the SABOR field campaign this summer.
Tom Glennon University of Rhode Island

NASA has begun a new experiment to monitor plankton off the Atlantic coast using boats, airplanes, and satellites.

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Global Temperature
3:25 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

World Breaks Monthly Heat Record Two Times in a Row

Marccophoto/iStock Thinkstock

The globe is on a hot streak, setting a heat record in June. That's after the world broke a record in May. 

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Vermont
12:27 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

Pipeline Opponents Say Project Is No Longer Economically Justifiable

Originally published on Tue July 22, 2014 9:20 am

A group of opponents of the Vermont Gas Systems pipeline say the cost of Vermont Gas Systems’ pipeline from Colchester to Addison County is no longer justifiable in light of a recently announced cost increase.

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Space Exploration
11:13 am
Sun July 20, 2014

Astronaut Who Walked On The Moon: 'It Was Science Fiction To Us'

During the Apollo 12 mission, astronaut Alan Bean holds a container of lunar soil. The astronaut Charles "Pete" Conrad, who took the photograph, is reflected in Bean's faceshield. Bean says he used to think that in his lifetime, we'd build a base on the moon and start preparing to travel to Mars.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Sun July 20, 2014 2:20 pm

In November of 1969, astronaut Alan Bean became the fourth man to walk on the moon. His mission, Apollo 12, arrived at the moon a few months after Apollo 11 made the first moon landing. That historic event celebrates its 45th anniversary Sunday.

Apollo 12 got off to a dramatic start: A storm rolled in as the rocket was scheduled to launch. Bean, with fellow astronauts Pete Conrad and Dick Gordon, sat inside the spacecraft while the bad weather threatened the operation.

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Agriculture
12:20 pm
Sat July 19, 2014

Deploying Drones To Get An Overview Of Factory Farms

The drone in Potter's promotional video on Kickstarter. "Now I'm looking at other models (and a second drone) because some people have threatened to shoot it down," Potter says.
via Kickstarter

An independent journalist says he's found a way around the so-called "ag-gag" laws by flying drones over large livestock operations to document animal welfare problems and pollution.

Will Potter, a Washington D.C.-based author and blogger, recently raised $75,000 on Kickstarter to buy the drones and other equipment to investigate animal agriculture in the U.S.

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Animal Rescue
9:48 am
Fri July 18, 2014

Seal Pups Return to Ocean After Rehabbing in Mystic

A Gray Seal being released in Rhode Island on Thursday.
Mystic Aquarium

Two five-month-old seal pups rescued in March have returned to the Atlantic Ocean after recovering from their injuries at the Mystic Aquarium.

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Photographing Physics
9:30 am
Thu July 17, 2014

Ocean Waves As You Have Never Seen Them Before

A large wave on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii, sucks sand off of the seafloor and into the wave itself. This photo is the cover image of Clark Little's latest coffee table book, Shorebreak.
Clark Little

Originally published on Thu July 17, 2014 10:33 am

Clark Little photographs ocean waves.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Thu July 17, 2014

Everything You Want to Know About Turtles

Red-eared slider.
Catie Talarski

There are currently some 57 turtle species living in the United States and Canada, 12 of which can be found right here in Connecticut -- including some sea turtles!

Chances are, you’ve probably seen a few of them poking around a nearby pond or basking on some sunlit rocks. Perhaps you’ve even rescued a few from the peril of oncoming traffic.

But there’s a lot more to these terrestrial critters than meets the eye.

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End of the World?
11:58 am
Wed July 16, 2014

A Huge New Crater Is Found In Siberia, And The Theories Fly

Aerial footage posted online shows a large crater in northern Siberia, in an area called "the end of the world."
YouTube

Originally published on Wed July 16, 2014 12:46 pm

The area of Russia is said to be called, ominously enough, the end of the world. And that's where researchers are headed this week, to investigate a large crater whose appearance reportedly caught scientists by surprise. The crater is estimated at 262 feet wide and is in the northern Siberian area of Yamal.

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Pollutants in the Water
12:23 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

Nitrogen Pollution in Long Island Sound Continues to Decline

Nearly a week after Hurricane Irene drenched New England with rainfall in late August 2011, the Connecticut River was spewing muddy sediment into Long Island Sound.
NASA Goddard Photo and Video

A new report says nitrogen pollution discharged into Long Island Sound continues an overall decline. That's good news for marine life because too much nitrogen can fuel the growth of algae, which dies, settles on the ocean floor, and decays, using up oxygen in the process.

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Ancient Giants
9:06 am
Mon July 14, 2014

This Ancient Bird Had the Largest Wingspan Ever

Pelagornis sandersi was an ancient marine bird with a wingspan nearly twice as large as anything living today.
Reconstruction Art by Liz Bradford

An extinct species of bird just discovered may have had the largest wingspan ever. The animal lived 25 million years ago and was found buried at an airport.

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Clean Air
8:49 am
Fri July 11, 2014

Connecticut Still Waiting for Action on Federal Clean Air Plans

CandiceDawn/iStock Thinkstock

Connecticut has to wait for more federal action on cross-border pollution, according to a top environmental official who visited Hartford.

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Crime and Punishment
9:21 am
Wed July 9, 2014

New London CEO Guilty of Violating Clean Water Act

Credit Flickr Creative Commons / manoftaste.de

The former CEO of a New London company has pleaded guilty to violating the Clean Water Act. According to federal prosecutors, the infractions date back to 1986 and involve toxic discharges into the city's sewer system.

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Fast and Feathered
1:59 pm
Tue July 8, 2014

Listen Closely: There's Something Hidden in This Hummingbird's Chirp

Creative Commons / David~O

Here's the thing about hummingbirds: Almost nothing they do is like a regular bird. A hummingbird's heart beats about 1,200 times a minute while exercising. 

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The Raw Story
3:17 am
Mon July 7, 2014

Raw Milk Producers Aim To Regulate Themselves

Charlotte Smith, of Champoeg Creamery in St. Paul, Ore., says raw milk may offer health benefits. But she also acknowledges its very real dangers.
Courtesy of Champoeg Creamery

Originally published on Wed July 9, 2014 9:45 am

A growing number of Americans are buying raw milk. That's milk that has not been pasteurized to kill bacteria.

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Philanthropy
2:54 pm
Thu July 3, 2014

Mysterious Donor Leaves Behind an $8 Million Gift

One of the few photographs of Peter Grayson Letz. The North Stonington Resident died last year and left $8 million to the CFECT.
CFECT Archives

A reclusive North Stonington resident who died in September has left an approximately $8 million donation to the Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut. According to the group, it's the largest gift it's ever received.

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Wildfire
1:08 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

In Connecticut, a Crew to Respond to Wildfires Thousands of Miles Away

Chris Renshaw, above, with a drip torch. What he called "one of the most iconic tools in wildfire"
Jordanna Hertz

One year ago, 19 firefighters from the Granite Mountain Hotshots died battling a wildfire. While Connecticut isn't known for its forest fires, it is known for a surprisingly elite group of firefighters: the Connecticut Wildfire Crew. 

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Bats
10:25 am
Tue July 1, 2014

Feds Delay Listing a Connecticut Bat as Endangered

A northern long-earred bat with visible symptoms of White-Nose Syndrome.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced a six-month delay on whether or not to list the Northern Long-eared Bat as endangered. The delay is so scientists can examine the impact of White-Nose Syndrome.

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Hartford Horticulture
10:47 pm
Fri June 27, 2014

At 20, Hartford Blooms Continues to Blossom and Grow

Columbia St. homes, viewed from the corner of Capitol Ave, in Frog Hollow, Hartford.
J Holt WNPR

Flower-filled planters appearing on sidewalks and medians all over Hartford are sights long time residents have come to expect in the late spring and early summer. They've long been the most visible aspect of Hartford Blooms, a citywide beautification project, implemented by KNOX, and now celebrating it's 20-year anniversary. In recent years, however, Hartford Blooms' efforts have begun to extend well beyond just planters.

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Vanishing Bees
12:37 pm
Fri June 27, 2014

White House Task Force To Save Bees Stirs Hornet's Nest

A bumble bee gathers pollen in September 2007 on a sunflower at Quail Run Farm in Grants Pass, Ore., where farmer Tony Davis depends on them to pollinate crops. Bees are being wiped out by a mysterious condition known as colony collapse disorder.
Jeff Barnard AP

Originally published on Fri June 27, 2014 12:17 pm

When President Obama announced last week that he was creating a federal task force to investigate the nation's vanishing bee colonies, the moment provided newly minted Press Secretary Josh Earnest an opportunity to crack one of his first jokes on the job.

"When I walked out here today, I knew I was going to be handling a range of sensitive issues," he told reporters. "I didn't know I was going to be talking about the birds and the bees."

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Ocean Life
2:12 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

Rare Sighting of Beluga Whale in Massachusetts

A Beluga whale sighted in the Taunton River.
A. Lyskin IFAW

In Connecticut, we're used to seeing Beluga whales at Mystic Aquarium, but residents in Fall River, Massachusetts are getting an unusual sight in an unusual place. A Beluga whale was spotted in the Taunton River over the past several days. 

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Trees, Please
9:05 am
Thu June 26, 2014

PURA Issues Final Decision on Tree Trimming

A resident holds up a "Trees Please" sign during a public hearing on "enhanced tree-trimming" in March.
Credit Patrick Skahill / WNPR

Connecticut has a lot of trees. Our state leads the nation on this piece of technical jargon from the state forester, "woodland urban interface tree density." That means two things -- one: Connecticut has a lot of old, towering, trees -- and two, when major storms, like the ones in 2011 and 2012, hit those trees can be really vulnerable.

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Clean Water
2:18 pm
Tue June 24, 2014

Have You Wondered How Arsenic Enters a Well? You're Not Alone

Undergraduate Laura Markley samples a private well. The water will be tested for arsenic and compiled into a database managed with the help of Meredith Metcalf at ECSU. Testing in Lebanon is being done on a volunteer basis, with all testing costs covered.
Meredith Metcalf Eastern Connecticut State University

A new project at Eastern Connecticut State University is looking at arsenic contamination in privately-owned wells. The question of where that arsenic is coming from has attracted surprisingly little attention, until now. 

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Climate Change
3:27 am
Tue June 24, 2014

As Sea Levels Rise, Norfolk Is Sinking And Planning

The naval base at Norfolk has had to build two levels to its docks to accommodate rising sea levels. The water level has risen about 1 1/2 feet since 1920.
Yuki Noguchi NPR

Originally published on Tue June 24, 2014 11:25 am

From the water's edge in Norfolk, Va., the U.S. naval base spans the whole horizon. Aircraft carriers, supply centers, barracks and admirals' homes fill a vast expanse.

But Ray Toll, a retired naval oceanographer, says the "majority of [the naval base], if not all of it" is at risk of flooding "because it's so low and it's flat."

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Seeking Ospreys
7:02 am
Mon June 23, 2014

Why Osprey Nest Sightings in Connecticut Matter

The Connecticut Audubon Society has launched a new program to track the number of ospreys in Connecticut.
Fifth World Art Flickr Creative Commons

The Connecticut Audubon Society wants to get a better handle on osprey populations in the state. To do so, the group is launching a new citizen science program called "Osprey Nation."

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Walking Boots
4:38 pm
Wed June 18, 2014

City of Bridgeport Pilots New "Crosswalk Flag" Program

Bridgeport Police Chief Joseph Gaudett displays one of six "crosswalk flags" being piloted at Broad Street in Bridgeport.
City of Bridgeport

Let your pedestrian flag fly. That's the message coming from the City of Bridgeport, which is piloting a new program in front of the City Hall Annex aimed at increasing pedestrian safety through crosswalk flags. 

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Environment
6:15 pm
Tue June 17, 2014

Plastics Don't Disappear, But They Do End Up In Seabirds' Bellies

Plastic floats ashore in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Bay Ismoyo AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue June 17, 2014 8:33 pm

The vast majority of debris in the ocean — about 75 percent of it — is made of plastic. It can consist of anything from plastic bottles to packaging materials, but whatever form it takes, it doesn't go away easily.

While plastic may break down into smaller and smaller pieces, some as small as grains of sand, these pieces are never truly biodegradable. The plastic bits, some small enough that they're called microplastics, threaten marine life like fish and birds, explains Richard Thompson, a professor of marine biology at Plymouth University in the U.K.

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Spineless Wonders
11:04 am
Tue June 17, 2014

Mating Season in Long Island Sound Is Prime Time for Horseshoe Crab Researchers

Every May and June, horseshoe crabs wash up on eastern shorelines to spawn.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

It’s mating season for Long Island Sound’s horseshoe crabs. Every year, a group of biologists from Sacred Heart University scour Connecticut’s beaches to track and tag these ancient creatures. I met up with one group in Milford, under a full moon at midnight, to learn more.

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Oceans
10:58 am
Tue June 17, 2014

Obama Proposes Creation Of World's Largest Ocean Sanctuary

This photo released by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service shows pink corals on the Palmyra Atoll in the Pacific. Parts of three remote and uninhabited Pacific island chains were set aside by President George W. Bush as national monuments to protect them from oil and gas extraction and commercial fishing.
Jim Maragos AP

Originally published on Tue June 17, 2014 2:53 pm

President Obama unveiled a proposal on Tuesday that would create the world's largest ocean sanctuary south and west of Hawaii, The Washington Post and The Associated Press are reporting.

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Natural Gas
7:15 am
Mon June 16, 2014

Fracking Waste Moratorium Signed Into Law

The new law, effective July 1st, will temporarily ban the importation of fracking waste to Connecticut until the DEEP drafts regulations.
Tar Sands Blockade Creative Commons

Governor Dannel Malloy has signed a bill imposing a moratorium on bringing fracking waste into Connecticut. The moratorium will extend to at least to July 2017. In the meantime, the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection will draft regulations about what, if any, fracking waste can come to Connecticut.

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