Environment

Photo Courtesy of Ocean Exploration Trust

Scientists at the University of Rhode Island may mount a research expedition to the most active underwater volcano in the Caribbean Sea. Disaster management authorities there have been on alert for more than a week. Earthquakes have been recorded around the area of the volcano known as Kick’Em Jenny off the coast of the island of Grenada, indicating a potential eruption. 

Steve Wood

Rhode Island’s Land Trust Council is inviting the public to enjoy all of the green space the environmental coalition has preserved over the years. Organizers have planned more than 50 outdoor events across the state, starting with a walk Friday night in Bristol to admire the rare blue moon.

Rhode Island Land Trust Director, Rupert Friday said the events known as “Land Trust Days” provide a chance to unplug and reconnect with nature. 

August is high-alert month for the Asian Longhorned beetle.  The invasive species can cause extensive damage to forested areas and has been found as close as Boston.In Worcester, the beetle was responsible for destroying some 34,000 trees.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is asking Rhode Islanders to check local trees for dime-sized holes  and dead branches that indicate the presence of the beetle.

"You could also see shallow chew marks in the bark where the beetle would lay eggs," said U.S.D.A. spokesman Elvis Cordova.

swampyank/creative commons license

Rhode Island has enacted new protections for the state’s freshwater wetlands. The new legislation, signed into law Wednesday, streamlines the process for developers hoping to build near wetlands.

But that doesn’t mean that it will be easier to build along those wetlands, according to state officials.

Prior to the legislation, developers needed approval from both the state and cities and towns to begin building. Now developers only need state approval.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Deepwater Wind has installed the first of five steel foundations for a wind farm that will sit three miles off the coast of Block Island. The project is expected to produce enough energy to power 17,000 homes. State and federal officials got an up-close look at construction for the first time yesterday. Rhode Island Public Radio environmental reporter Ambar Espinoza was with them, and she reports that Rhode Island has become an example for how to build renewable energy. 

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Deepwater Wind installed the first foundation over the weekend for what is slated to be the first offshore wind farm in the country. Monday morning the company took state and federal officials on a boat trip to see the barge, cranes, and foundations up close.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Federal and state officials take a boat trip this morning to check out the start of construction on Deepwater Wind’s Block Island Wind Farm. The project has broad support from environmental groups, fishermen, the Narragansett tribe, and others. But it’s a point of contention for Block Island residents.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Deepwater Wind started to put steel in the water this week for the Block Island Wind Farm. Island residents have mixed feelings about the construction.  

Susan Torrey lives on Block Island all year. She and her husband have been waiting to see visible signs of what is expected to be the nation’s first offshore wind farm.

“We kept looking around and hadn’t seen anything,” said Torrey. “And he came home [and said], ‘Guess what I saw?’ So we said, ‘Let’s go over to the Southeast Light and take a look.’ So we did!”

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Earlier this spring, we brought you a report from our series Battle With The Sea about the impact of climate change on Aquidneck Island's drinking water with warmer temperatures, heavier rains, and more intense storms. But there’s more to the story. We pick up where we left off.

Matt Gineo / RIPR

Three groups on Aquidneck Island have kicked off a pilot program to remove debris from Newport Harbor.

Clean Ocean Access executive director Dave McLaughlin said the first of several summer cleanups takes place next week in partnership with Newport Maritime Alliance and the Newport Waterfront Commission.

“We’re going to get two divers in the water and we’re going to clean a portion of the submerged debris on the harbor floor,” said McLaughlin. “It’s going to provide a baseline of what do we see from the surface and what did we find on the floor when we got down there.”

RIPR FILE

The City of Providence has rolled out a new initiative to implement the city’s sustainability plan, aimed at reducing the effects of climate change. The initiative has a strong focus on community outreach.


National Grid has filed an application (PDF) with the federal government to add facilities to its existing liquefied natural gas storage property in Providence.

RIPR FILE

Rhode Island is in the midst of the most dangerous tick-season of the year. University of Rhode Island researchers say there are more of the insects this year than last year. The arachnids are most prevalent in May, but URI tick specialist Tom Mather, says mid-summer carries the highest risk.

“What we face now is a dangerous period, which is when nymphal-stage deer ticks are active, and these are ticks that are the size of poppy seeds, and they are loaded with pathogens,” said Mather.

Mike Cohea / Photo Courtesy of Brown University

A Brown University professor has joined a team of scientists from four European countries to study how plant reproduction has evolved. This research could ultimately help improve crop yields in light of climate change and a rapidly growing population.

Audio Pending...

Ryan von Linden / flickr/New York Department of Environmental Conservation

Rhode Island researchers have received $500,000 in federal grant money to investigate a fungus that’s killing native bats. The mysterious illness has attacked bats across North America.

Over the last decade, biologists believe an illness known as white-nose syndrome has killed some six-million bats in North America. The fungus appears on the bat’s muzzle. It targets hibernating bats, causing serious infections on their wings, and bodies.

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