environment

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The Connecticut Audubon Society announced it's banning the use of aerial unmanned "drones" at all of its 19 privately-owned wildlife sanctuaries, but the measure is highlighting questions about just how far the organization can go.

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The recent water crisis in Flint, Michigan has spurred national and local outrage as allegations arise of environmental racism against lower income and black communities. A public health advocate said there needs to be more collaboration among federal, state, and local agencies to resolve the problem.

Tambako The Jaguar/Creative Commons

Six seals have been spotted on the North Shore of Long Island, off Centre Island.

An executive director of the Riverhead Foundation said seals are more typically seen on the East End. Most seals live in cold waters off Maine, Nova Scotia, and Massachusetts.

A citizens group pushing for the revitalization of the Hoosic River in North Adams has released detailed plans to redevelop a section of the waterway.

Theophilos Papadopoulos via flickr.com / Creative Commons

Winter is a great time to sit down and plan the expansion of existing gardens or creation of new ones. But don't just think of growing gardens for yourself. 

slack12 / Creative Commons

Millions of tons of sediment and sand could be dumped into the open waters of Long Island Sound in the coming decades. That’s according to a recently-unveiled federal plan outlining what to do with materials dredged from the bottoms of coastal ports and harbors.

Last week, we wrote about the fundamental three questions concerning the origin of life on Earth: When? Where? How? Although they are interrelated, each has a specific set of sub-questions that keep researchers very busy.

At the start of the work week, many offices from Virginia to New York are closed, and road crews are working to clear streets as residents dig themselves out of a blizzard's snowfall. Flight schedules, riddled by cancellations, will likely take days to get back to normal.

They're coping with massive amounts of snow that, despite all the shoveling and plowing, will only start to go away once temperatures rise — something that will happen emphatically Tuesday, when much of the Interstate 95 corridor in the Mid-Atlantic will see melting from temperatures in the 40s.

Paul Sullivan / Creative Commons

The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is holding a public meeting on migratory bird hunting regulations.

Shovelful by shovelful, snowplow by snowplow, the East Coast is digging its way out from underneath an enormous winter storm that blanketed much of the region with up to 3 feet of snow.

And as high winds and 36 hours of snow give way to clear skies and sunshine, some people are taking to the wintry landscape with glee.

Rayandbee / Flickr Creative Commons

When you think of drought, what place comes to mind? California? Texas? How about... Connecticut?

According to the United States Drought Monitor, more than 90 percent of our state is in a moderate drought right now -- and we’re not the only ones in the Northeast experiencing unusually dry conditions.

New satellite images of St. Elijah's Monastery, located in the ISIS-held city of Mosul, no longer show a neatly chiseled, square parcel of land, complete with walls and buildings built into a hill.

All that can be seen of the Christian monastery, parts of which are 1,400 years old, is a dusty field of rubble. It was apparently razed by ISIS in its quest to destroy religious or historical artifacts deemed heretical.

The astronomer whose work helped kick Pluto out of the pantheon of planets says he has good reason to believe there's an undiscovered planet bigger than Earth lurking in the distant reaches of our solar system.

A rare sight will greet early risers starting Wednesday morning. About 45 minutes before sunrise, five planets – Mercury, Venus, Saturn, Mars and Jupiter – will all be visible in the sky.

The best time to get planetary sightseeing in will be at the end of the week. By then, the five aforementioned planets will form an arch-shaped line in the sky that will be fairly easy to follow. The moon will pop up in the intergalactic line-up shortly thereafter.

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Atlantic salmon are back, and they're spawning in Connecticut. It's the first time in centuries this creature has returned naturally to the state. But climate change and dwindling conservation money still present a lot of issues for this migratory fish.

Citing concerns over pricing and pollution, the Obama administration on Friday unveiled a moratorium on new coal leases on federal lands. The change won't affect existing leases, which generated nearly $1.3 billion for the government last year.

The Department of the Interior says it wants to make sure the money it's charging for coal leases takes into account both market prices and what's often called the "social costs" of coal — its impact on climate change and public health.

The agency says federal lands account for roughly 40 percent of all U.S. coal production.

A mind-boggling stellar explosion is baffling astronomers, who say this cosmic beast is so immensely powerful that no one's sure exactly what made it go boom.

The recently discovered inferno is about 200 times more powerful than a typical exploding star, or supernova, and 570 billion times brighter than our sun. It was first spotted in June by the All-Sky Automated Survey for Supernovae, nicknamed the "Assassin" project, so it's called ASASSN-15lh.

peasap / Creative Commons

Republican lawmakers are proposing a constitutional amendment that would make it harder for the state to give away open space. The measure comes at a time when officials say Connecticut won't meet its goals for land conservation. 

Vincent Scarano / Connecticut College

Picture a curbside lined with garbage. You may imagine old mattresses or discarded TVs, but there's one bit of trash your mind may block out: cigarette butts. An anthropology professor at Connecticut College has become obsessed with these often-overlooked artifacts of modern life, examining what they can tell us about our culture -- and the basics of archeology. 

Christine Olson / Creative Commons

An oceanographer who helped solve the mystery of last summer’s explosion on a crowded Rhode Island beach said there’s a very low risk of the same type of explosion occurring again.

Christine Olson / Creative Commons

The cable that caused an explosion at a crowded Rhode Island beach last summer, injuring a woman, may have counterparts lying under beaches, harbors and waterways at dozens of sites nationwide.

At the end of every year, U.S. meteorologists look back at what the nation's weather was like, and what they saw in 2015 was weird. The year was hot and beset with all manner of extreme weather events that did a lot of expensive damage.

December, in fact, was a fitting end.

Photonesta

Okay, this show comes with a trigger warning.

We're going to talk about things people eat, and some of those things are not for the squeamish. This is a conversation about disgust, and specifically, how our reflexive response of disgust may get in the way of things we probably need to think about doing.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

In December, Connecticut regulators approved the $3 billion merger of Spanish firm Iberdrola and New Haven-based UIL Holdings. The news came just two weeks after the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority issued a draft decision OK-ing the deal. 

For now, they're known by working names, like ununseptium and ununtrium — two of the four new chemical elements whose discovery has been officially verified. The elements with atomic numbers 113, 115, 117 and 118 will get permanent names soon, according to the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry.

New Bedford Whaling Museum

A new project is using log books from historic whaling vessels to get a broader look at climate change in the Arctic. The project, called Old Weather: Whaling, is getting help from citizen scientists.

pedrik / Creative Commons

A conservation goal set more than a decade ago points to an ambitious target: preserving 21 percent of Connecticut's land as open space by 2023. Funding has now lagged, the state said, and it won't reach that goal. 

5Gyres, Oregon State University / Creative Commons

A federal ban on tiny synthetic plastic spheres known as "microbeads" passed through Congress this week, following the lead of legislative action in several states including Connecticut.

Like amaranth and quinoa before it, millet – a hardy, gluten-free ancient seed – has become an "it" grain in recent years.

It's the solstice again, which is an astronomer's favorite time of year. That's because it's one of the few occasions where we have anything semi-practical to say to anyone.

"Hey, Adam, you're an astronomer. What's this whole solstice thing about?"

Well, I'm glad you asked.

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