Environment

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.

RI Lakes And Ponds Stocked For Winter Fishing

Jan 6, 2014
Catherine Welch / RIPR

The state Department of Environmental Management is stocking six Rhode Island ponds with brook trout for the winter fishing season.  According to a press release, the agency is stocking six ponds with 1,000 brook trout. This is on top of the 2,000 trout that were stocked last month.

Anglers are required to carry a current fishing license and a Trout Conservation Stamp. The daily bag limit currently stands at two fish per day.

Anglers are forbidden from wearing felt-soled footgear, as it promotes the spread of invasive species.

RIPR

The three wind turbines at Field’s Point Wastewater Treatment Facility in Providence are generating more energy than originally projected.

Field’s Point Wastewater Treatment Facility is one of the largest consumers of electricity in the state. It treats about 50 million gallons of wastewater from the greater Providence metropolitan area and may treat up to 200 million gallons a day during intense storms.

Wikimedia Commons

With Christmas over, many families have already started to take down the tree.  State officials are urging people to recycle them.

Most Rhode Island communities provide curbside pick-up of Christmas trees. The trees are hauled to the central landfill in Johnston, where they’re ground up for use as mulch in the spring.

Sarah Kite, director of recycling services at the Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation which operates the landfill, said they accept all organic Christmas decorations provided they’re stripped bare.

Wikimedia Commons

Anglers can count on trout to fish over the winter season. Officials with the Department of Environmental Management’s Fish and Wildlife Division stocked approximately 2,000 rainbow trout in several ponds statewide during the first two weeks of December.

Those ponds include Carbuncle Pond in Coventry, Barber Pond in South Kingstown, Silver Spring Lake in North Kingstown, and the Wood River with access from Route 165 in Exeter.

Pages