Courtesy of Diana Payne

Four Rhode Island high schools will compete all day Saturday, Feb. 1 with eight other Connecticut high schools at an annual ocean science competition, called the Quahog Bowl.

The Connecticut Sea Grant’s Diana Payne organizes the competition and says Rhode Island schools typically do quite well.

“As a matter of fact, out of the 17 quahog bowls that have been held, Cranston [High School] West has actually won 15 of them,” said Payne. “They have represented the Quahog Bowl at nationals 15 out of 17 times. [That’s] quite a record.”


The Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council says it does not object with the wind farm projects off Block Island proposed by developer Deepwater Wind.

Four CRMC staff members shared this position, along with 17 recommended stipulations, in a 53-page staff report earlier this week in advance of a public hearing on the project’s permit application next week.

Kessner Photography via Creative Commons

For a pair of Rhode Island businessmen, sending food waste to the landfill doesn’t make any sense. So they’re raising money to build a composting plant. It would be the state’s first industrial-scale composting facility.

The Central Landfill is expected to reach full capacity in about 25 years. Leo Pollock and Nat Harris said their composting facility is not going to solve the state’s landfill problem, but it will help. 

s2art via Creative Commons

State Rep. Maria Cimini recently reintroduced a bill to ban plastic bags in Rhode Island. Environment Rhode Island collected more than 10,000 public comments supporting a statewide plastic ban.

The group began collecting signatures to support a statewide plastic bag ban since last summer, after a bill banning them died in committee hearings last year.

Wikimedia Commons

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management is updating its wildlife conservation plan. It’s part of a nationwide initiative to identify threatened and endangered species, and set aside money to protect them. Some of those species include big brown bats, herring, and spotted turtles.

This year’s project has a community outreach person who will oversee work done by cities and towns and help put their conservation plans to work. The DEM’s Jay Osenkowski says this piece was missing the first time the state launched this initiative.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Rhode Island is remarkably close to meeting a goal of reducing nitrogen discharged in upper Narragansett Bay by 50 percent. Upgrades at wastewater treatment plants have played a major role in helping meet this goal. Rhode Island Public Radio’s environment reporter Ambar Espinoza joined Elisabeth Harrison in the studio to talk about what it means to reduce the amount of nitrogen we put into the bay.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

It’s been a decade since a big fish kill in Greenwich Bay grabbed headlines.  It prompted the state to take more action for a healthier upper Narragansett Bay. Local wastewater treatment plants responded and it turns out, the state is on track to meet the goal of cutting back how much nitrogen we put into Narragansett Bay. That’s great news for one quahog fisherman who’s made a livelihood from the bay for decades.

There’s no better season to go quahogging than the winter season for Warwick resident Jody King, even though he makes half as much money as he does in the summer.

Wikimedia Commons

Between 60 to 70 percent of foods in supermarkets contain genetically modified organisms, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. State lawmakers are pushing two bills that would require the labeling of genetically modified foods sold in Rhode Island.

Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are plants and animals that have had their genes transferred between other plants and animals that are distantly related or not related at all. Most of the corn and soybeans grown in the United States come from genetically engineered seeds.

State Managed Deer Hunt Begins On Block Island

Jan 20, 2014
Wikimedia Commons

Starting Tuesday, the second annual state managed deer hunt will be held on Block Island.

It’s the only hunt of its kind on state-owned land. 

The four week hunt takes place on a one-hundred fifteen acre parcel of state-owned land known as Black Rock.

Any Rhode Islander with a state hunting license is eligible to take part in the hunt. However only six hunters will be allowed on the property per day; they’ll be chosen via a lottery system. The bag limit is eight deer per hunter.

Courtesy of Warwick Sewer Authority

Those wet wipes marketed as “flushable” are causing major costly problems for sewer systems across Rhode Island.

Managers at wastewater treatment facilities say just because the wipes are flushable doesn’t mean that they break down as easily and quickly as regular toilet paper. Instead they clog pump stations and sewer pipes, forcing treatment plants to spend time and money unclogging their systems.

Warwick Sewer Authority Superintendent Janine Burke says removing those wet wipe clogs takes man power, up to three employees at her facility.

Courtesy Whitehouse Office

In Washington D.C., Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse will talk with Alaska Natives this morning to find out how extreme coastal erosion caused by climate change may force them to relocate from their village.

The Bicameral Task Force on Climate Change, co-chaired by Sen. Whitehouse and Ca. Rep. Henry Waxman, is hosting five residents from the Alaskan village of Shishmaref.

Courtesy of Cassandra Lin

A local program to help residents recycle their waste cooking oil has added 12 recycling receptacles at transfer stations in southeastern Connecticut. 

A team of 10-year-olds started the program, called Turn Grease Into Fuel (TGIF), in Westerly five years ago to help both their local community and environment. 

Fifteen-year-old Cassandra Lin, one of the founders of this student-led community service project, said she was astonished to learn at a young age that families in Westerly were struggling to heat their homes.

Courtesy of U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) announced a new initiative aimed at pushing for urgent action on climate change.  

This is one of several efforts by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse to address climate change. He’s delivered weekly speeches on the issue for more than a year and formed the Bicameral Task Force on Climate Change last year with Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA).

Wikimedia Commons

Hundreds of new babies have arrived at the Biomes Marine Biology Center in North Kingstown.

Pearl, a reef octopus, native to the Carribean, laid between one-hundred fifty and two hundred eggs at the center last year.  Many of them hatched over the weekend.

It’s the first time this has happened at the center in its twenty year history.

It’s a very rare occurrence in New England, says executive director Mark Hall, because the octopus, which was caught in New England waters, must have bred in the wild.

Roger Williams Park Zoo

Though much of the snow is gone, Rhode Islanders aren’t getting a reprieve from the bitter cold.

And neither are the animals at Roger Williams Park Zoo.

With temperatures hovering in the teens, and not expected to get much warmer, officials at the zoo report the major challenge is keeping tropical animals, like elephants and alligators, safe. 

All animals whose natural habitats are warm are being kept in heated barns.

But animals like the snow leopard, and red pandas, which hail from the high mountains of Asia, are more active now than in the summer months.