Environment

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Rhode Island’s aquaculture industry grew by 7 percent last year despite icy conditions in coastal waters.

Frozen coastal ponds meant individual growers harvested less shellfish than the previous year, according to David Beutel, aquaculture coordinator with the state Coastal Resources Management Council.

“However because in 2015 we had more growers than we had the year before, overall the state's production was up,” said Beutel. “It did balance out for an overall increase.”

The demand for oysters is driving that overall growth, he said.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

An estimated 20 percent of the trash that ends up in landfills is food. One way to reduce food waste is to compost your kitchen scraps. 

Historic Providence Elms Struck Down By Fungal Disease

Mar 9, 2016
Richard Cooper

Four towering elm trees had to be cut down in Providence last week, after being struck with Dutch elm disease. The trees were more than 100-years-old.

They stood on the property of the historic John Brown House since the early 1900s.

The Rhode Island Historical Society owns the property and plans to replace the European Elms with mixture of different elm species.

It’s been about a year since the last time the historical society was forced to cut down trees because of the Dutch elm fungus.

Courtesy of Narragansett Bay Commission

Scientists at the Narragansett Bay Commission are getting a new building at the Field’s Point campus. That’s where the wastewater agency will house labs with the latest technology.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

It's been months since the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission released its latest report on how lobsters are faring in the Atlantic Coast. But it’s still a hot topic among fishermen in the Ocean State.

RI Osprey Population Continues To Flourish

Mar 2, 2016
Ed Hughes /Audubon Society of Rhode Island

As spring weather returns to the Rhode Island area, so will the growing population of osprey, a type of coastal bird. The Audubon Society of Rhode Island reports the number of osprey spotted nesting in Rhode Island has risen sharply over the last couple of years. The population has been monitored since the 1970s, when the fish-eating birds nearly disappeared from Rhode Island’s coastline.

Jonathan Scoones at the Audubon Society called the recovery of the osprey population an environmental success story.   

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has issued Rhode Island a new wave of federal money to help fishermen affected by the groundfish disaster in 2013. That year, several key groundfish stocks in the Northeast were not rebuilding as expected, and it led to sharp reductions in catch limits.  To offset those losses, Northeast fishermen would receive nearly $32.84 million in three installments.  This latest round of money for Rhode Island, $705,658, is the final installment, bringing the state's total share to $2.65 million.

RIPR FILE

Governor Gina Raimondo is in Washington D.C. this weekend. She’s participating in the annual gathering of the National Governors Association.

Raimondo will rub elbows with the leaders of other states around the country and take part in several panels and discussions, including a meeting of the Economic Development and Commerce committee, of which she is a member. She’s also scheduled meet with President Barack Obama along with the country’s other Democratic governors

Photo Courtesy of Pam Rubinoff

The Hurricane of 1938 toppled some 275 million trees across New England. Today – with more trees and more buildings  – state officials see wind damage as a statewide threat because of climate change and the potential for more frequent, extreme weather events. In the next installment of our series Battle With the Sea, we look at how some homeowners are preparing to withstand winds with the force of a hurricane. 

Kaity Ryan / Preservation Society of Newport County

Crews will break ground later this month on a project to bury utility lines in Middletown, near Sachuest Point. Three Aquidneck Island nonprofit groups partnered up with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to pay for the $1.2M project.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

The nonprofit that operates New England’s energy grid and wholesale energy market purchased power this week from two Rhode Island energy projects: Deepwater Wind’s Block Island Wind Farm and Invenergy’s proposed power plant in Burrillville.

The offshore wind farm is scheduled to go online later this year, and the power plant has yet to gain approval from state officials.

sand dunes
Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Gov. Gina Raimondo’s proposed budget devotes about 1.1 percent of all state spending to the state’s two major environmental agencies: the Department of Environmental Management and the Coastal Resources Management Council. The DEM got a small bump from the governor’s last budget, while the CRMC held steady. We break down the numbers.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Over the course of three days, a team of experts from around the country helped Providence plan for the impacts of climate change through a grant-funded series of events called ResilientPVD Lab.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

A new bill that puts a tax on carbon has garnered broad support from environmental advocates, businesses, and religious groups. Supporters believe the bill, called Energize Rhode Island, will help reduce carbon emissions and stimulate the economy. 

Georgia Department of Natural Resources via NOAA Fisheries

NOAA Fisheries has expanded protected habitats for the North Atlantic right whales by more than sixfold, from about 4,500 nautical miles to nearly 30,000 nautical miles. The expansion includes feeding grounds here off the New England coast.

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