Environment | Connecticut Public Radio


Chion Wolf

A Group of Yale Undergraduates who participated in Yale's Rainforest expedition and Laboratory course have found an organism that can break down plastic, holding the promise of significantly reducing waste in the world's landfills. Their paper was published in the journal Applied and  Environmental Microbiology.

Joining us by phone is one of those students, and one of the lead authors of the paper, Jon Russell.

Where We Live: Shark Day

Aug 3, 2011
puuikibeach, creative commons

The number of shark attacks reported worldwide increased 25% in 2010.

That sounds scary!  Until you realize that the worldwide total is 79.  And despite an increase in shark sightings, the shark population is actually declining.

Today, where we live, while the Discovery Channel has their beloved Shark Week, we’re taking a small bite out of the action with our own shark day.

Weaving New Life Into The Long Island Sound

Aug 1, 2011
Nancy Eve Cohen

Save the Sound, part of Connecticut Fund for the Environment, released a two-year plan today to protect Long island Sound. Recently the group helped organize a hands-on effort to restore habitat outside of Clinton Harbor. WNPR’s Nancy Cohen reports.

About two dozen scientists and volunteers are weaving strands of a seagrass, known as Eelgrass, in and out of circles of burlap. It looks like green linguini with a rounded tip. Gwen Macdonald of Save the Sound is part of the sewing circle .

Christine Woodside

The state’s environmental agency wants to increase the overall recycling rate and has initiated a program to make state parks more sustainable. But as WNPR’s Nancy Cohen reports there aren’t a lot of visible recycling bins at one of the most popular state parks.

If you visit Hammonassett Beach State park it’s easier to find a trash can than a recycling bin. Diane Joy, Assistant Director of State Parks, says the state has a new contract with trash haulers to place special green dumpsters that take only recyclables in the parking lots, They'll be right next to the trash dumpsters.

Flickr Creative Commons, jitze

Yesterday, The Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection announced its preliminary findings on the origin of the now-famous Mountain Lion that was struck and killed by a Hyundai SUV in Milford last month. 

We spoke with Deputy Commissioner Susan Frechette today to hear the details.

Listen to our previous show that aired shortly after the news of the Mountain Lion's death here.

It WAS A Wild Cat

Jul 26, 2011
Courtesy Conn. Dept. of Energy & Environmental Protection

Connecticut’s environmental officials announced today that the Mountain Lion that was killed on the Wilbur Cross Parkway in June was a wild animal that traveled hundreds of miles from South Dakota to Connecticut. It is the first confirmation of a wild Mountain Lion in the state in more than 100 years. WNPR’s Nancy Cohen reports.

Nancy Eve Cohen

A  board of toxic waste clean-up experts is meeting this week to review the New England EPA’s Housatonic River clean up plan. WNPR’s Nancy Cohen reports.

Malloy Visits Solar Company As Part of "Jobs Tour"

Jul 25, 2011
ricketyus, Flickr Creative Commons

Governor Dannel Malloy continued his “jobs tour” today. He visited a company in Somers, with 121 employees, which designs and manufactures a key component of solar panels. WNPR’s Nancy Cohen reports.

Residents Appeal Wind Project In Colebrook

Jul 21, 2011
Chion Wolf

A group of Connecticut residents is appealing a decision by the state’s Siting Council to approve the construction of three large wind turbines in the town of Colebrook. WNPR’s Nancy Cohen reports

Nancy Eve Cohen

President Obama’s key environmental policy advisor visited Connecticut today. WNPR’s Nancy Cohen reports her tour began at UTC Power in South Windsor.

Nancy Sutley chairs the White House Council on Environmental Quality. She and Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman and Environmental Commissioner Dan Esty took a ride on a fuel-cell powered bus, got a look at UTC Power’s manufacturing facility and saw fuel cells up close.

“Over here we have the PEM fuel cell that powers the bus.”

Nancy Eve Cohen

Chion Wolf

The Connecticut Commissioner of Environment and Energy has recused himself from doing work related to General Electric and to more than two dozen other companies. As WNPR’s Nancy Cohen reports this means Dan Esty will not weigh in on the clean up of the Housatonic River.

Morris Cove Neighbors Say "No Dumping Here"

Jul 12, 2011
Allan Appel, New Haven Independent

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has a plan to move silt and sediment from Bridgeport’s Harbor to the New Haven Harbor. But some city residents are doing their best to keep that from happening.

New Haven Mayor John DeStefano and Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro joined about fifty protestors who gathered recently on the shoreline in Morris Cove -- a neighborhood of New Haven that looks out onto New Haven Harbor and Long Island Sound.  In the water are kayakers, and a line of boats 40 deep, all with anti-dumping signs…

"Thank you boaters! Thank you for coming out!


Nancy Eve Cohen

The Housatonic River flows from Massachusetts down through Connecticut to Long Island Sound. It’s a popular destination for people who canoe and fish. But it’s also considered “impaired” by the state because it’s polluted. The fight to clean it up has played out for decades. Now in the latest round, the state of Massachusetts is squaring off with the E.P.A. WNPR’s Nancy Cohen reports

Killing One Animal To Protect Another

Jul 2, 2011
Nancy Eve Cohen

Many birds are now in the midst of nesting. When it comes to rare birds state and federal wildlife managers take extra care to protect them and their young. WNPR’s Nancy Cohen reports at times  biologists take extreme measures,  such as killing certain animals to protect a rare species.

It’s foggy morning on Charles Island off of Milford Connecticut. Wildlife biologist Jenny Dickson, with the Department of Environmental Protection, points up at a big, white bird nesting in the canopy of a tall tree.

When Biologists Protect One Bird From Another

Jul 2, 2011
Nancy Eve Cohen

Wildlife biologists often intervene to protect rare species. This could involve building nesting boxes for declining birds. Or even restoring an entire wetlands. But sometimes biologists insert themselves into an ecosystem to protect a rare species from predators. In the first of a two-part series WNPR’s Nancy Cohen reports.

Earn $500 To Stay Cool

Jul 1, 2011
Nancy Eve Cohen

As the summer heats up the electric utilities in Connecticut are offering incentives to consumers to improve the efficiency of their central air conditioning systems, as well as their furnaces. WNPR’s Nancy Cohen reports.

Nancy Eve Cohen

Yale researchers released the final report on a national survey of American attitudes towards climate change . WNPR’s Nancy Cohen reports.

Taking Careful Inventory Of A Rare Bird

Jun 27, 2011
Nancy Eve Cohen

A year ago this spring an oil rig, owned by B.P., exploded in the Gulf of Mexico. For nearly three months oil spewed into the sea killing birds and other aquatic life. Now funding from B.P. is paying for a survey of a bird species that winters in the Gulf and breeds in New England. WNPR’s Nancy Cohen reports.

First Chance To Buy A Share Of The Catch

Jun 23, 2011
Nancy Eve Cohen

The number of businesses supporting the local food movement is continuing to expand in Connecticut. WNPR’s Nancy Cohen reports on the state’s first community supported fishing venture

A growing number of consumers are getting fresh produce and other farm products by buying a share of the summer’s harvest directly from a farm. The idea is known as Community Supported Agriculture. Fisherman Brendan Smith, who grows 60 acres of shellfish among the Thimble Islands, wanted to test out the idea of a community supported fishery.

Nancy Eve Cohen

This weekend police are ramping up efforts to make the public aware of the dangers of drinking and boating. WNPR’s Nancy Cohen reports.

The project is called “Operation Dry Water”. It’s a nation wide effort by the U.S. Coast Guard and environmental, state and local police. The project is coordinated by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators.

ColumbusCameraOp., Flickr Creative Commons

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled this week against Connecticut and other states who wanted the court to compel power companies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. As WNPR’s Nancy Cohen reports, the Supreme Court says it’s the E.P.A.’s job to regulate global warming pollution.

Wikimedia Commons

Most people want to believe there's a breeding population of mountain lions spreading through parts of Connecticut and into New York's Hudson Valley.

Environmentalists To Governor: Veto Land Swap

Jun 17, 2011
Nancy Eve Cohen

Several environmental groups are urging Governor Dannel Malloy to veto a bill that would swap state conservation land with a developer. WNPR’s Nancy Cohen reports.

D.E.P. Says Only One Mountain Lion

Jun 15, 2011
Connecticut State Police

There have been two reported sightings of a mountain lion in Greenwich, made after a mountain lion was struck by a car and killed on Saturday. But state environmental officials say they don't believe there is a second big cat. WNPR's Nancy Cohen reports.

Griswold Farm To Showcase Research

Jun 15, 2011

The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station is hosting an open house on Thursday at its research farm in Griswold. WNPR’s Nancy Cohen reports scientists will showcase their work on forestry, farming and invasive species.

Army of Weevils Attack Invasives

Jun 15, 2011
Donna Ellis

The state is releasing thousands of weevils this week that feed on one of the most highly-invasive plants. WNPR’s Nancy Cohen reports.                 

Putting Connecticut Back On The Map

Jun 14, 2011

Not too long ago, Connecticut had a $1 tourism budget, and we’d been taken off New England’s official tourism map. 

Well, we’re back, baby!  In a capitol press conference yesterday, Dannel Malloy - already the “jobs” governor - is now the “tourism governor,” too...launching a summer ad campaign to get people back to the state.

The Future Of Our Forests

Jun 10, 2011
notfrancois, creative commons

Colebrook Wind Farm Approved Amidst Protests

Jun 9, 2011
Nancy Eve Cohen

The Connecticut Siting Council has voted to approve the second of two wind projects in Colebrook. The Council approved turbines that are shorter than the ones the company originally proposed. WNPR’s Nancy Cohen reports a number of protesters were there for the vote.