Environment

WNPR's Environmental Reporting Initiative is made possible by United Technologies Corporation.

The region's ongoing drought has forced state officials to restrict or ban outdoor water use in 54 New Hampshire towns and cities.

The state's drought management team has classified the North Country and the White Mountains as “abnormally dry,” while four counties in the southern tier are suffering severe drought conditions. 

Luke Aikins on Saturday became the first skydiver to jump from a plane without a parachute or wingsuit and live to tell the story.

Kristin Shoemaker / Creative Commons

When I was a kid, I would repeat this rhyme just for fun: “How much wood could a woodchuck chuck, if a woodchuck could chuck wood?” Little did I know I'd be cursing this rodent later on in life.

Ken and Nyetta / Creative Commons

This hour, we look at the impact of climate change on New England's native plant and animal species. We talk with scientists and science journalists, and we hear from you. Have you noticed anything different about the flora and fauna in your backyard? And what can historical records -- like the observations of naturalist Henry David Thoreau -- teach us about our changing environment? 

Jonathan McNicol / WNPR

No one likes a cloudy sky. A cloud on the horizon is seen as a harbinger of doom. We feel like clouds need to have silver linings.

But here's our thesis: Clouds are unfairly maligned.

Ryan Caron King

Rail and bus commuters in Connecticut could see a fare hike before the end of the year. The proposed hike is the result of a $37 million cut to the state Department of Transportation’s budget.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

At a private tour at ProvPort, state officials got a close look at blades that will eventually spin at the Block Island Wind Farm, contracted to the company Deepwater Wind.

The trip had mechanical setbacks, and the plane's average speed would be legal on many American streets. But when the Solar Impulse aircraft touched down in Abu Dhabi in the early morning darkness Tuesday, it successfully completed a round-the-world voyage using only solar power.

Swiss pilots Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg took turns flying the single-seat aircraft that began its trip on March 9 of 2015, flying more than 26,700 miles in a total of 17 stages (23 days) as they soared under the sun's power and then glided through the night.

Wikimedia Commons

Each year, thousands of deer are killed on Connecticut roads and highways. Those collisions can lead to costly insurance claims, injuries, and deaths -- which made scientists wonder what would happen to deer, and to us, if an elusive carnivore came back to the northeast: the mountain lion. 

Nancy Eve Cohen / NEPR

If you want to take a train from Springfield to Boston, there’s only one a day, and it’s notoriously slow. But a new federally funded study looks at the cost and benefits of expanding train service to Boston — and Montreal.

It's really hot in most of the mainland United States right now. The National Weather Service predicts temperatures in the triple digits through the weekend in much of the South, Midwest and along the East Coast.

The culprit: a "heat dome."

It's a real meteorological event — the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration even took the time to define it in the agency's warning this week:

Loren Kerns / Creative Commons

There are many ways to experience the American landscape -- you can bike it, drive it, fly over it... even take trains across it. But there’s nothing quite as intimate or liberating as the experience you get while walking it. 

Keith Ewing / Creative Commons

Summer often means inconsistent weather. Hot, sunny days are followed by high humidity (or mugginess, as my mother likes to call it) and sometimes severe thunderstorms.

HBarrison / Creative Commons

The northeast congressional delegation is rallying in support of a comprehensive management plan for the Atlantic Ocean -- the nation's first coordinated strategy for federal waters. 

Albert Ter Harmsel / Creative Commons

Drought conditions are affecting much of the northeast. In Connecticut, the entire state is either abnormally dry or experiencing moderate drought, with the driest parts in Hartford County, New Haven County, and most of Litchfield County.

Federal authorities said that large parts of New York and Massachusetts are among the hardest hit by the dry weather. 

The first time he encountered a tiger shark in the water, marine ecologist Neil Hammerschlag was in the Bahamas conducting research. His team was on a boat and hadn't seen many sharks, so when someone yelled, "Tiger shark!" he grabbed his snorkel gear and camera and jumped into the water.

"One [tiger shark] moved right in toward me and came close," Hammerschlag tells Fresh Air's Dave Davies. "It opened its mouth, and I was looking through its mouth down its gut and seeing its gills from the inside."

Helen Haden / Creative Commons

Some things aren't what they used to be. Take echinacea or purple coneflowers. This hardy, native Midwestern prairie plant has garnered much interest for being pollinator friendly and medicinal.

The Boston Citgo sign, all 3,600 square LED feet of which has served as the backdrop to Red Sox games since 1965, is now officially a "pending landmark."

NASA has released the first picture of Jupiter taken since the Juno spacecraft went into orbit around the planet on July 4.

The picture was taken on July 10. Juno was 2.7 million miles from Jupiter at the time. The color image shows some of the atmospheric features of the planet, including the giant red spot. You can also see three of Jupiter's moons in the picture: Io, Europa and Ganymede.

(Fisheries and Oceans Canada/World Register of Marine Species

The state's largest natural oyster bed has been shut down. That's due to several illegal harvests which culminated last week in a boat chase.

Wikimedia Commons

The debate continues over what to do with Plum Island -- a small island off the coast of Long Island, New York. On Thursday, environmental advocates filed a motion in federal court to block its sale.

Brad Smith / Creative Commons

While I loved the Beatles growing up, I don't like this Fab Four in my veggie garden. 

Wikimedia Commons - NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

We’re humans, so we tend to think -- not surprisingly -- about Earth first. 

Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire have introduced a new driving tool that provides real time updates on driving conditions.

Aznaturalist / Creative Commons

Plums are one of the first fruits domesticated by man and some, such as the beach plum, are natives. Beach plum is a tough bush early colonists found along the shores and is great for wildlife.

Andy Rogers

It's been hot out there and the tomatoes are growing fast! You'll have to keep up with your plants if you want to have a great harvest this season.

CJ Oliver / Creative Commons

The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection announced they are shortening hours at state parks and campgrounds.

Updated 1:40 a.m. ET with Juno orbit maneuver

After a nearly five-year journey, NASA's solar-powered Juno spacecraft achieved orbit around Jupiter on Monday night. Juno navigated a tricky maneuver — including slowing by around 1,212 mph — to insert itself into orbit in what NASA calls "the king of our solar system."

At 11:18 p.m. ET, Juno transmitted a radio signal to Earth that meant its main engine had switched on. It stayed on for 35 minutes, placing Juno into exactly the orbit that mission managers had planned for.

Lennart Tange / Creative Commons

If you're allergic to it, you might curse pollen. But the process of pollination is essential to plant, animal, and human life. All sorts of insects and animals can be pollinators including bats, bees, moths, butterflies, birds, and even lemurs! 

Thegreatlandoni / flickr creative commons

From scientists to fiction writers, conspiracy theorists to theologians, aliens have captured the imagination of us all. But as we ponder the possibilities let us pause to ask ourselves why.

Why do these yet to be found creatures from space occupy such a central role in the musings of so many? And should their existence be confirmed, what will it mean for us on Earth?

Pages