conservation

The Massachusetts Attorney General’s office has announced an agreement that paves the way for a solar energy facility on a brownfield site in Great Barrington.

State Acquires Development Rights for North Canaan Farm

Jun 15, 2015
Lisa Ruokis / Creative Commons

A 220-acre farm in North Canaan is the latest to be protected under Connecticut's Farmland Preservation Program.

Homeowners interested in switching to solar energy will soon have the option to do so with no upfront costs. The nation’s largest rooftop solar installer is coming to Rhode Island. Starting this week, California-based SolarCity will offer Rhode Islanders loans to buy home solar systems.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

If you've ever moved, you know how tricky it can be to transport a mattress. They're bulky, tough to carry, and take up lots of space. They're also really hard to throw out.

Now Connecticut is looking to solve that problem by introducing the nation's first-ever mattress recycling program. The goal is to get old beds off the curb and into the renewable waste stream.

Flickr Creative Commons / Nanagyei

Two graduates of the Yale School of Forestry are hoping to make it easier for residents to conserve land and open space. 

David Goehring / Creative Commons

With the latter half of the 20th century came the rise of a new land conservation movement. Private, non-profit land trusts became increasingly popular among those interested in preserving land across the United States. 

Carlito2000 / Creative Commons

Installers of rooftop solar panels are learning that Connecticut's embrace of solar energy has its limits. Businesses seeking state legislation to streamline local permitting of rooftop solar panels have run into opposition from municipal officials who say proposed rules are a costly mandate. 

Warm weather has finally arrived in the Northeast. And along a wild stretch of New York state's Hudson River in the Adirondack Mountains, a section has been opened to paddlers for the first time in decades.

New landmark conservation deals in New York state have protected vast swaths of wilderness. Those deals have also opened waterways that had been closed to the public for more than a century.

Saying state officials and residents simply haven't done enough to curb water use, California regulators unanimously approved unprecedented water restrictions on Tuesday.

The AP reports:

qmnonic / Creative Commons

Connecticut has begun the first mattress recycling program in the country, which means a $9.00 charge will now be added to any new mattress purchase in the state. 

Department of Energy and Environmental Protection

Fishermen can be pretty clever with where they hide their illegally-captured fish.

"We've had people hide them in secret compartments in boats. We've had them hide them in vehicles, rocks, all kinds of places to prevent us from finding them," said Cpt. Ryan Healy of the state environmental conservation police.

Greg Breese/USFWS / Creative Commons

Each year, the red knot shorebird flies thousands of miles from the southernmost tip of South America, to the Arctic, and back. Along the way, it feasts on horseshoe crab eggs, which provide fat and fuel for the long journey ahead. 

Tom Barnes / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Hike through any forest in Connecticut and you're bound to encounter a relic of the state's agricultural past: stone walls. Decades ago, the walls enclosed large tracts of open pasture and farmland, which was ideal habitat for animals like the New England cottontail rabbit.

But as farms were abandoned and that open space turned into mature forest, those rabbits disappeared. Now, federal efforts are underway to recreate some of that open space, and bring the New England cottontail back.

USFWS Headquarters / Creative Commons

The Northern Long-eared bat is now a protected animal under the Endangered Species Act. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced the move on Wednesday, saying the designation will come with a special interim rule aimed at relieving regulatory burdens on local land owners and government agencies in the bat's range.

Harriet Jones / WNPR

Connecticut is one of just two or three places in the U.S. where stationary fuel cells are made on a large scale. While it's been an important industry here for decades, it's never been profitable. But could that be about to change? 

Backers of a renewable energy bill making its way through the Vermont Legislature say a draft ruling from regulators in Connecticut effectively endorses the Vermont legislation.

Towns Oppose "Open Space" Designation of Golf Courses

Mar 3, 2015
Tord Sollie / Creative Commons

Several first selectmen of the Connecticut State Legislature and other chief elected officials are opposed to a measure in the legislature to designate golf courses as open space, an act that would reduce town assessments and taxes.

Back in 2011 when I was a student at the University of Maryland in College Park I once noticed a massive pile of trash in front of a dining hall. A closer look revealed that it was mostly food — a half-eaten sandwich, a browning apple and what appeared to be the remains of the day's lunch special.

The heap was gross, but intriguing. Turned out it was a stunt to get students thinking about how much food they throw out each day.

Office of Gov. Dannel Malloy

Governor Dannel Malloy wants to provide new incentives for solar power in the state. His office is crafting new legislation that would let homeowners trade in renewable energy credits for the first time.

Chesapeake Bay Program / Creative Commons

A Connecticut environmental education group is introducing almost two dozen rescued baby turtles from Alaska. SoundWaters Coastal Education Center in Stamford took in 22 turtles rescued from global wildlife-trafficking.

According to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Office of Public Affairs Chief Gavin Shire, global wildlife-trafficking has been increasing. Shire said the smugglers are likely to be from both inside and outside the U.S., with a common trafficking route as far away as China. Turtle soup is considered a delicacy in China, where there is a lucrative market for turtles.

Wikimedia Commons

Plum Island, an 840-acre land mass in Long Island Sound, is becoming a focal point for environmentalists. That's because of government plans to sell the island to fund the construction of a new USDA animal-testing center. 

The city of Northampton, Massachusetts is planning a number of solar power projects that would further reduce the city’s carbon footprint, while providing a new source of revenue.

As soon as this summer, Northampton is likely to join dozens of other municipalities in the state that have turned old landfills into solar farms. And, in what appears to be a first in western Massachusetts at least, solar arrays may pop up at some municipal parking lots, according to Chris Mason, the city’s energy officer.

Connecticut Science Center

Will a hands-on energy efficiency exhibit aimed at children help them to think about their carbon footprint? 

Harriet Jones / WNPR

These days of falling oil prices may be causing alternative fuel suppliers a few sleepless nights. But one tiny company in Eastern Connecticut is forging ahead with plans to break into the fuel pellet market with a surprising new ingredient. 

preserve1000acres.com

A fundraising effort to buy 1,000 acres of shoreline land is nearly complete.  The land is called The Preserve, and it spreads across Old Saybrook, Essex, and Westbrook.  

It's a hot summer day outside Lincoln, Neb., and Jack Chappelle is knee-deep in trash. He's wading in to rotting vegetables, half-eaten burgers and tater tots. Lots of tater tots.

"You can get a lot of tater tots out of schools," Chappelle says. "It doesn't matter if it's elementary, middle school or high school. Tater tots. Bar none."

With America Recycles Day Saturday, Massachusetts environmental officials are celebrating the Commonwealth’s new commercial food waste ban – the first statewide ban in the nation. The state’s Commissioner of Environmental Protection will visit the Red Lion Inn to see how the renowned hotel is shipping its food waste to a nearby farm.

In a head-spinning step, a handful of researchers from Cambridge, England, are experimenting with one of man's oldest building materials — the kind from trees — instead of steel as the primary structure for big buildings. And they're aiming really, really high.

Creative Commons

The Quinnipiac Law Review will hold a symposium this weekend about ivory trafficking, focusing on controversial ivory laws that went into effect last February.

Americans alone, on average, throw out about 20 pounds of food a month, most of it hauled away with the trash.

In October, Massachusetts began telling any institution — like businesses, colleges and hospitals — that produces large amounts of food waste: Not in our landfill. Massachusetts law now says that if you throw out more than a ton of food waste a month, it can't go to a landfill.

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