environment

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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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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Magicicada
12:20 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

The Fate of Connecticut Cicadas, One Year Later

In 2013, Connecticut played host to a patchy emergence of 17-year periodical cicadas. The bugs are now holed up underground as nymphs.
Creative Commons

Last June, Connecticut played host to an emergence of periodical 17-year cicadas. For many, promises of bug swarms covering neighborhoods never came to pass.

For others, in places like Meriden and North Branford, millions of cicadas did take over, lining roads, trees, and mailboxes. One year later, I met up with an entomologist to see what those bugs have left behind.

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Commercial Whaling
7:04 pm
Mon June 9, 2014

Japan Says It Wants To Resume Larger Annual Whale Hunt

The Japanese whaling ship Yushin Maru leaves Shimonoseki port in Yamaguchi Prefecture, southwestern Japan, last month. Japan's prime minister says he wants to expand whaling operations after they were temporarily scaled back.
Kyodo/Landov

Japan, which earlier this year said it would scale back what it has described as "research whaling," is signaling that it wants to go back to a larger hunt.

"I want to aim for the resumption of commercial whaling by conducting whaling research," Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said.

Japan, which is a signatory to a 1986 International Whaling Commission moratorium, has nonetheless continued to hunt cetaceans using a loophole in the ban that allows taking some whales for scientific purposes.

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The Faith Middleton Show
10:53 am
Mon June 9, 2014

An Epic, Multimedia Outdoor Spectacle: Terra Tractus 2014

Terra Mirabila 2005 Earth Cooling

An epic meditation, multimedia outdoor spectacle with lasers, dance, drums, music, sculpture, water, fire, science, technology, climbers, shadows, and projections: Witness the geological, climatic anthropological history of the Stony Creek Quarry as it evolves through ancient history to our projected future. 

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The Great Outdoors
11:25 am
Fri June 6, 2014

Connecticut Trails Day Weekend Events Offer Something For Everyone

With 258 events happening Saturday and Sunday throughout the state, Connecticut Trails Day Weekend has something for everyone. The goal is simple: get and enjoy the outdoors!
Park Ranger Creative Commons

With sunny skies and temperatures in the 70s and 80s expected this weekend, the Connecticut Forest and Park Association is encouraging everyone to get outdoors and participate in one of the 258 Connecticut Trails Day Weekend events happening Saturday and Sunday throughout the state. 

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Fri June 6, 2014

Walking Into the Flames: Discussion With Connecticut Firefighters

After thousands of years, the best tool to fight fire is still water.
Jessica Whittle Creative Commons

One of the most basic functions of local government is to protect its citizens. We talk with a panel of local firefighters who do just that.

When a fire breaks out, many Connecticut towns have volunteer forces that go to the rescue. What draws firefighters to this profession that includes a lot more than just fighting fires? Some Connecticut firefighters are even taking it a step further, and are going out west to help fight forest fires.

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Student Work
7:45 am
Tue June 3, 2014

East Haven Students Produce Short Film On Energy Conservation Lessons From Birds

The African masked weaver bird nest has energy conservation lessons for homeowners, captured in a student-made short documentary.
Hanay Creative Commons

A group of students at East Haven High School created a short documentary, “Weaving the Way: Lessons From the Weaver Bird.” The film recently won outstanding documentary short at the Connecticut Student Film Festival.

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Underwater Lab
1:28 pm
Mon June 2, 2014

Jacques Cousteau's Grandson Plans To Spend A Month Underwater

Fabien Cousteau sits inside Aquarius Reef Base in 2012. If he is able to remain under water for 31 days, he will have lasted one day longer than his grandfather, Jacques Cousteau.
Mark Widick AP

Originally published on Mon June 2, 2014 2:43 pm

Fabien Cousteau has been following in his grandfather Jacques Cousteau's flipper-steps for years — scuba diving around the world and making underwater documentaries of his own. Now he's seeking to break the elder oceanographer's record for the longest period of time spent underwater.

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Carbon Emissions
11:53 am
Mon June 2, 2014

EPA Unveils New Proposal Targeting Greenhouse Gases

The EPA is proposing rules that would govern carbon dioxide gas emissions by U.S. power plants. Here, coal is transported via conveyor belt to the coal-fired Jim Bridger Power Plant outside Point of the Rocks, Wyo., in March.
Jim Urquhart Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Mon June 2, 2014 11:52 am

New federal regulations announced Monday aim to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants by 30 percent by 2030.

The draft proposal from the Environmental Protection Agency has sparked opposition from industry groups who say the changes would be prohibitively expensive. But the proposal's backers say the rules are needed to cut carbon pollution that scientists say contributes to climate change.

Update at 10:45 a.m. ET: Proposed Rule Published

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The Colin McEnroe Show
10:44 am
Mon June 2, 2014

The Scramble: Liberal Arts, Carbon Emissions and Of Course, Jeopardy!

Credit Wesleyan University / Wikimedia Commons

Is college worth it? The news about higher education is mostly bad. Student loan debt is now $1 trillion and climbing. Underpaid, demoralized, and harassed adjunct faculty are taking on more and more of the teaching load. By many measures, college isn't doing its most important job: providing a ladder that young people with fewer advantages can climb.

College right now seems to be reinforcing class structure rather than loosening it up. 

Into all of the above steps an optimist: Wesleyan president Michael Roth, who doesn't deny the problems, but insists that a liberal education is essential, and worth it. Despite the shift towards specialized courses of study, a liberal arts education is more important than ever. 

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Eel of Fortune
5:26 pm
Fri May 30, 2014

How Did Glass Eel Prices Get So High?

Glass eel markets in Maine and South Carolina have reached $40 million in recent years. That number is 20 times greater than the average value for the past eleven years.
Uwe Kils Creative Commons

Governor Dannel Malloy has vetoed a bill that could have brought a glass eel fishing season to Connecticut. Glass eels are a juvenile species of American eel that can sell for hundreds of dollars per pound, but how did those prices get so high?

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Environmental Law
3:41 pm
Thu May 29, 2014

Can More Environmental Violations Actually Be a Good Thing?

Flickr Creative Commons

The Council on Environmental Quality issued its annual report on state environmental data on Wednesday, and one number seems to be at the center of some questions: 72.

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Environmental Impact
9:06 am
Thu May 29, 2014

Technical High School Students Detail Energy Use

Mark Mühlhaus attenzione

Students in five Connecticut technical high schools are set to present findings and recommendations from a year-long investigation of the environmental impact of their school's energy use. 

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Global Warming
9:34 am
Wed May 28, 2014

Connecticut Meteorologists (Reluctantly) Talk Climate Science

Bruce Berrien Creative Commons

Earlier this month, the National Climate Assessment was released, and the results are less than stellar. The report says, “Climate change, once considered an issue for a distant future, has moved firmly into the present.” The release of the climate assessment report prompted both of our local talk shows to tackle climate change last week, from very different perspectives.

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QRZ
4:24 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

Celebrating 100 Years of Ham Radio

The American Radio Relay League Celebrates 100 Years this May.
Patrick Skahill / WNPR

This month marks the centennial of the American Radio Relay League. That’s the largest association of ham radio hobbyists in the United States that is headquartered in Newington, Conn. WNPR paid a visit to “the mecca of ham radio” where each year hundreds of people converge to broadcast signals across the globe.

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Satellite View
5:02 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

Mars Weathercam Spots Big New Crater

A photograph of the new crater (large, center). Take by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter's High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment.
NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona

Before and after shots taken by a Mars-orbiting satellite have detected a newly created impact crater half the size of a football field near the planet's equator.

NPR's Joe Palca says that while objects are striking Mars all the time (with big chunks surviving until impact, thanks to the Red Planet's thin atmosphere), this is the first time scientists have been able to determine the exact day a meteor struck – in this case, sometime on March 28, 2012.

But it wasn't noticed until two months ago.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
11:48 am
Thu May 22, 2014

Meteorologists Talk Climate Change

Ryan Hanrahan is a meteorologist at NBC CT
Chion Wolf

When President Obama introduced the National Climate Assessment a couple of weeks ago, he asked eight special people to help him. They were national and local weather casters including Al Roker.

It was an interesting choice.  

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Thu May 22, 2014

Climate Change Is Here; How Do We Adapt?

International Space Station view of a winter storm forming in Australia.
NASA

The National Climate Assessment released earlier this month paints a bleak picture of the effects of climate change on not only the world - but right here in the northeast. “Climate change, once considered an issue for a distant future, has moved firmly into the present,” the report says.

We’re teaming up with The Colin McEnroe Show for a big discussion on climate change and how we’re adapting to a changing world.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
10:21 am
Wed May 21, 2014

Bringing Back the Woolly Mammoth

Credit Funk Monk / Wikimedia Commons

Science writer Carl Zimmer names the Dodo and the Great Auk, the Thylacine and the Chinese River Dolphin, the Passenger Pigeon and the Imperial Woodpecker, the Bucardo and Stellar Sea Cow among the species that humankind has driven into extinction. What's notable about that list is that most of us would recognize maybe three or four of those names.

Think about that. We have obliterated entire species whose names we don't even know.

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Crime and Punishment
4:21 pm
Mon May 19, 2014

Illegal Dumping Through a "Magic Pipe" Leads to a $1.2 Million Penalty

rabiem22 Flickr Creative Commons

Inspections in New Haven harbor have led to $1.2 million in fines for a Singapore-based shipping company. The penalty was tied to illegal dumping in international waters using something called a "magic pipe."

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Spring Migration
8:12 am
Mon May 19, 2014

Dust Off Your Bird-Watching Binoculars

Have you seen this bird? It's a yellow-throated warbler.
Credit Ding Darling / Creative Commons

If you're a birder, now is the time to grab your binoculars. The Connecticut Audubon Society said May is turning out to be a great time to watch birds.

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Turtle Time
1:03 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

WNPR Listeners and Staff Share Their Turtle Photos

Painted turtle hatchlings visit WNPR.
Chion Wolf WNPR

During this morning's Where We Live, "Everything You Want to Know About Turtles," we shared some of our favorite turtle photos and asked listeners to do the same. Below are some of the awesome photos we received. Enjoy!

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Fri May 16, 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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Rick In Space
1:37 pm
Wed May 14, 2014

Rick Mastracchio Ends Six-Month Journey In Space

Rick Mastracchio during a Christmas Eve spacewalk outside the ISS.
NASA

Waterbury astronaut Rick Mastracchio has returned from a six month journey aboard the International Space Station. During 188 days in space, the UConn graduate orbited Earth more than 3,000 times, traveling nearly 79.8 million miles.

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