Ambar Espinoza

Environmental Reporter

Ambar Espinoza’s roots in environmental journalism started in Rhode Island a few years ago as an environmental reporting fellow at the Metcalf Institute for Marine & Environmental Reporting. She worked as a reporter for Minnesota Public Radio for a few years covering several beats, including the environment and changing demographics. Her journalism experience includes working as production and editorial assistant at National Public Radio, and as a researcher at APM’s Marketplace.

Espinoza joins Rhode Island Public Radio most recently from Seattle, WA, where she earned a master of education with a focus on science education from the University of Washington. She earned her bachelor’s degree in political science from American University in Washington, D.C. Espinoza was born in El Salvador and raised in Los Angeles, CA.

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Environment
12:25 pm
Wed October 22, 2014

The Highest Point For State Land Acquisition

Jerimoth Hill is known for being one of the most difficult high points to climb in the nation, not because of its elevation, but because an abutting neighbor closed off its access point.
Ambar Espinoza RIPR

Jerimoth Hill, Rhode Island’s highest point at 812 feet, is officially open to the public. Brown University owned this parcel of land in Foster and handed over the land deed to the state at a ceremony this morning.

State and Brown University officials huddled with their rain jackets and umbrellas near the entrance of Jerimoth Hill along route 101 in Foster. After they watched Gov. Lincoln Chafee raise the Rhode Island flag on a flagpole, they made their way to the highest point on the property, which isn’t that much higher than the road at the entrance. 

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Politics
12:31 pm
Tue October 14, 2014

Public Forum: How Fisheries Are Adapting To Changes in Narragansett Bay

RIPR environmental reporter Ambar Espinoza interviews fisherman Danny Ingram.
Credit Catherine Welch / RIPR

The waters of Narragansett Bay are becoming warmer.  Resident fish are moving away, and migrant fish are moving in.  New marine diseases are emerging, and so are invasive species.  

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Environment
6:00 pm
Wed October 8, 2014

Shellfish Closure Extended For An Area In Upper Narragansett Bay

Ambar Espinoza RIPR

The Department of Environmental Management has extended an existing shellfish closure in an area of Upper Narragansett Bay known as Conditional Area A and the Conimicut Triangle.

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OSM: Narragansett Bay
5:50 pm
Tue October 7, 2014

One Square Mile: Lobstermen And Scientists Team Up To Collect Data On Lobsters

It’s another busy day out at sea for Captain Brian Thibeault. From Point Judith, he’s steered his lobster fishing boat 20 miles offshore. He’s released a long rope with 15 lobster traps filled with bait overboard.
Ambar Espinoza RIPR

Lobster populations in Southern New England were booming in the 1990s. Since then, their numbers have declined, from more than 36 million lobsters in 1997 to about 14 million in 2007. But commercial fishermen in Rhode Island say lobsters are making a comeback. And a pilot program in place today is giving lobster fishermen an opportunity to work with state and federal managers to collect data about the lobster populations in Narragansett Bay and the Rhode Island and Block Island sounds.

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OSM: Narragansett Bay
7:54 am
Tue October 7, 2014

One Square Mile: Fish Of Narragansett Bay

URI students Mary Kane (left) and Rachel Marshall are about to count, sort, and weigh all the fish species caught in this bottom trawl net.
Ambar Espinoza RIPR

For the past 55 years, researchers and students from the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography have trawled Narragansett Bay on a weekly basis. These trawls are one of the world's longest running surveys that track the type of fish that come and go from season to season. For our One Square Mile: Narragansett Bay series, we turn to these trawls to give us a snapshot of how fish have responded to changes.

Three URI students board the 53-foot research vessel Cap'n Bert at Wickford Harbor, as they do each week, to trawl the bay at two stations.

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Environment
2:39 pm
Fri October 3, 2014

Governor Holds Ceremonial Signing Of Energy Security Act

Gov. Lincoln Chafee and other leaders have gathered at Slater Mill in Pawtucket this afternoon for a ceremonial signing of the Affordable Clean Energy Security Act, an energy bill the governor signed into law earlier this summer.

The act gives Rhode Island an opportunity to work with other New England states to address volatile electricity prices. Last winter, the New England region spent $5 billion in energy costs, nearly as much as the region spent for the entire 2012 calendar year.

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One Square Mile: Narragansett Bay
3:51 pm
Thu October 2, 2014

Public Forum: How Fisheries Are Adapting To Changes in Narragansett Bay

Rhode Island Public Radio’s Environmental Reporter, Ambar Espinoza will host a public forum and conversation on the changing fisheries in Narragansett Bay.

This forum will be broadcast live on Thursday, October 9, 2014 from 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM on Rhode Island Public Radio: 88.1 FM/102.7 FM/91.5 FM and RIPR.ORG.

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Environment
7:50 am
Tue September 30, 2014

Proposed Extraction Ordinances By Charlestown Challenged By Industry

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers trucked in 90,000 cubic yards of sand from two Rhode Island quarries to replenish the beach after Superstorm Sandy. The first quarry didn't have enough sand, so the Corps subcontracted Copar Quarries for the rest.
Ambar Espinoza RIPR

Yesterday we brought you the story of homeowners in the communities of Westerly and Charlestown who say their lives have been disrupted by the rock blasting at a neighboring quarry. Charlestown is working on ordinances that would regulate this industry. Town officials are trying to balance the interest of homeowners and sand and gravel business owners. But one local operator said those proposed ordinances would create hardships for the industry – an industry he said is already struggling to survive. This is the second installment of a two-part series.

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Environment
8:12 am
Mon September 29, 2014

Westerly Quarry Still A Quandary For Neighboring Residents

A bird's eye view of the Westerly Quarry in April 2010 from Google Earth.
Google Earth Images

On the surface, this story is about sand and gravel. And it’s not, actually. It's a story about how stone becomes sand and gravel. And about the people who built homes around what used to be a dormant quarry in Westerly. It’s the first installment of a two-part series.

Charlestown resident Denise Rhodes lives about 1,000 feet away from this quarry, just across the border in Westerly. She invited local town council members and Rhode Island Public Radio to her house on a day when the town issued a “Code Red alert.” 

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Environment
9:25 am
Mon September 22, 2014

Rhode Island's First Farm-Based Brewery Opens

Farm-based breweries can now sell limited quantities of beer; only 72 ounces. That's about one six pack.
Credit Courtesty National Beer Wholesalers Association

Bills that would have given farmers a license to sell unlimited amounts of beer at their farm breweries and at farmer’s markets didn’t pass in the most recent legislative session.  But, Rhode Island has just licensed the state's first farm brewery.

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