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Environment

Right now, a group of hydroelectric dams on the Connecticut River are undergoing a once-in-a-generation process – a federal relicensing. NHPR’s Annie Ropeik went to the dams and talked with people who live, work and play nearby about what they hope might change.  

Tom Tyler, director of Connecticut State Parks, inside Sleeping Giant's picnic area. This and other parts of the park were destroyed following severe storms. Tyler said he's "optimistic" parts will re-open before the fall.
Patrick Skahill / Connecticut Public Radio

In May, several tornadoes touched down in Connecticut -- destroying homes, uprooting trees and knocking out power to thousands of customers. The weather also devastated several state parks, including the iconic Sleeping Giant State Park in Hamden.

Four o'clock flowers
harum.koh / Flickr Creative Commons

Some old fashioned flowers have interesting behaviors -- take the four o’clock or the Marvel of Peru. First, this flower can have different colored blossoms on the same plant. The flowers open in late afternoon and close in the morning, in case you are wondering what time it is.

Hurricanes are moving more slowly over both land and water, and that's bad news for communities in their path.

In the past 70 years, tropical cyclones around the world have slowed down 10 percent, and in some regions of the world, the change has been even more significant, according to a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature.

That means storms are spending more time hanging out, battering buildings with wind and dropping more rain.

Patrick Skahill / WNPR

State officials are appealing to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, for help recovering from a May 15 storm, which caused widespread damage in Fairfield, Litchfield, and New Haven counties.

billandkent / Creative Commons

Mosquito season has begun -- and state officials say they’re on the lookout for two viruses that can get people sick: West Nile and eastern equine encephalitis. Meanwhile, another mosquito-borne illness, the Zika-virus, is yet to be acquired in the state.

Zaian / Wikimedia Commons

For months, Cape Town, South Africa was on the brink of disaster. After severe droughts, the city warned that “Day Zero” was coming--the day the city would run out of water entirely. Now, the date for Day Zero, originally predicted to be in April or May 2018, has been pushed indefinitely to 2019.

Alina Kuptsova (Flickr)

Gardening is known for its folklore, especially when it comes to insect controls. Some old wives tales have some truth to them and others, not so much. I’m often asked about companion planting for insect control. Although many say plants such as onions, marigolds, and rue can deter pests, scientifically, few of these folklore remedies have been proven. 

An ancient fish still swims in Lake Champlain. Biologists and anglers are seeing more giant, long-lived lake sturgeon here, even as an environmental group calls for greater protection for the species around the country.

liz west / Creative Commons

What do goldenrod, milkweed, and wild bergamot have in common? All are plants that are native to the New England region.

This hour, we talk about the beauty and value of native plant gardening with Mark Richardson and Dan Jaffe, co-authors the new book Native Plants for New England Gardens.

What native plants are best suited for your backyard plot or porch pots? We take your questions.

Plus: sowing in the city. A Connecticut garden expert shares her tips for successful urban planting. 

FuelCell Energy, Inc.

Danbury-based FuelCell Energy recently won a $1.5 million research grant from the Department of Energy. It’s money coming at a time when industry leaders are hopeful fuel cell technology will grow in the state.

Cyclists on a street in Amsterdam
Atauri / Flickr

Should streets be designed for cars? Some urban planners think we should be making our streets less efficient for automobiles, not more. This hour, can reimagining our streets create better communities?

Bob Adelman / Free the Beaches: The Story of Ned Coll and the Battle for America’s Most Exclusive Shoreline

This Memorial Day weekend, Connecticut residents will flock to the shoreline, raising umbrellas and spreading towels along the state's beaches.

Yet, behind this sunny imagery hides a somber history -- a story of coastal ownership and exclusivity.

This hour, University of Virginia professor and Free the Beaches author Andrew Kahrl joins us. We reflect on the impact of Connecticut’s private and restricted beaches and learn about a 20th-century crusade to unlock the state’s coast. 

poppet with a camera (Flickr)

What vegetable grows like a cucumber, looks like a teeny watermelon, can be eaten raw and has a hint of lime flavoring?  It's a cucuamelon.

Cucamelon is not a cross between a cucumber and watermelon, but it sure looks like it. They are also called Mexican sour gherkins or mouse melons. They are so cute! This Central American native vegetable vines like a cucumber, and produces an abundance of 1-inch long oblong, striped fruits that look like miniature watermelons. The taste is like a cucumber with a slight lime flavor.

Patrick Skahill / WNPR

Standing at a trailhead in Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge, I’m enveloped by a chorus of birdsong.

This is one of several spots in the preserve, which stretches along 70 miles of Connecticut coast. The whole space is home to forest, islands, and tidal marshes. If you're in the neighborhood, its Salt Meadow Unit can make for a perfect lunchtime getaway. 

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