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oceans

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With climate change come looming questions about the future of Connecticut's shoreline. Among them: How will sea level rise and extreme weather events alter the shape of the state's coast? And what will happen to the residents -- the people and native species -- who live there?

Coming up, local experts join us to offer some insight and talk about the ways municipalities are planning for the challenges that lie ahead. 

More than 180 seals have washed onto Maine beaches this month, and most of them have died. Marine mammal rescuers have been scrambling to respond and have been testing the animals to determine the cause. Thursday, federal scientists announced possible clues that could help determine what is causing these deaths.

Adam Metallo / Smithsonian Institution

They can weigh over a hundred tons, live their entire lives underwater, and some even hunt using sound through a method known as echolocation. Yet, whales are also complex social creatures who share much in common with humans.

This hour we talk with paleontologist Nick Pyenson about why he has dedicated his life to studying whales, or as he puts it, “Earth’s Most Awesome Creatures.” Pyenson’s new book, Spying on Whales, takes readers on a scientific quest to understand the evolutionary journey of whales from dog-sized land mammals to the ocean giants of today.

Plastic trash is littering the land and fouling rivers and oceans. But what we can see is only a small fraction of what's out there.

Since modern plastic was first mass-produced, 8 billion tons have been manufactured. And when it's thrown away, it doesn't just disappear. Much of it crumbles into small pieces.

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

Sophie Zezula, 10, unveiled her “Snow Straw” at a Ridgefield invention convention five months before American cities began outlawing plastic straws and five months before lawmakers in other Connecticut towns like Hamden and Stonington revealed that they were pondering a ban.

On a quiet street by Green Hill Pond in Charlestown about a mile away from the ocean, Andrew Baer walks onto his front lawn and asks for help sliding the cap off his well. Luckily, he's having solar panels installed and there are plenty of hands at-the-ready. 

Carmen Baskauf / WNPR

It’s usually historians and scholars who get excited when a university acquires an ancient document. But in the 1960s, a map acquired by Yale University caused such a stir it divided the country.

Cousins Maine Lobster

Sabin Lomac and Jim Tselikis are no strangers to the Maine lobster bake. They grew up in Maine, and, although they have since moved away, their childhood memories of simple, homemade lobster rolls inspired them to start a business: Cousins Maine Lobster

NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, 2013 Northeast U.S. Canyons Expedition Science Team

The octopus has always been the stuff of spine-tingling legend, like that of the Kraken, the many-armed sea monster believed to drag ships to the bottom of the sea after dining on the crew. Or  Gertie the Pus, the giant Pacific octopus that lives under the Narrows Bridge connecting Tacoma, Washington to Gig Harbor.

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

Stonington could be one of the first American towns to ban the use of plastic straws.

The town’s board of selectmen has put together a committee to explore how to implement a ban on plastic straws and single-use plastic bags. Stonington first selectman Rob Simmons said the committee will be established next week and then within 90 days, he’s expecting the town to ditch the plastics.

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

The town of Stonington is considering a move to ban all single-use plastic bags and straws. It wouldn’t be the first Connecticut town to contemplate bagging the bag -- Greenwich recently passed a ban and Westport did away with them years ago.

Carmen Baskauf / WNPR

It’s usually historians and scholars who get excited when a university acquires an ancient document. But in the 1960s, a map acquired by Yale University caused such a stir it divided the country.

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

This Independence Day, 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. 

Paolo Zialcita / Connecticut Public Radio

After several years of limited budgets and reduced lifeguard staff, the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection secured funding for state park operations, which will be used to hire full lifeguard crews.

Adaptive Sailing Program Launches In Stonington

Jun 11, 2018
David DesRoches / Connecticut Public Radio

It's a warm, Saturday afternoon on the water in Fishers Island Sound. There are three of us in the 20-foot long sailboat. At the helm is Kiera Dawding. She's almost 17, and she's from Westerly, Rhode Island, which we can see from the water. From our position, we can actually see three states, including New York, points out Kali Cika, Kiera's sailing instructor.

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. 

The oceans are getting warmer and fish are noticing. Many that live along U.S. coastlines are moving to cooler water. New research predicts that will continue, with potentially serious consequences for the fishing industry.

Patrick Skahill / Connecticut Public Radio

In nature, fascinating biology can be found on the edges -- intermingled habitats where biodiversity can flourish. Connecticut Public Radio recently traveled to one such edge, what’s called a “head of tide.”

A group of New England senators is calling on the U.S. government to speed up an analysis of Canada’s efforts to protect the endangered North American right whale, and to consider trade action if Canada’s rules do not prove as strong as in the U.S.

A dead humpback whale is floating in a Lubec cove. Scientists are eager to find the cause of its demise, as the discovery comes at a time of increasing mortality rates for the species.

Young visitors to the aquarium use their phones to capture a picture of a loggerhead sea turtle.
Robin Lubbock / WBUR

The irony was hard to miss.

The Aquarium MBTA station was closed due to flooding, and the aquarium itself, nearby on Boston's Central Wharf, was closed out of caution for its visitors.

Mystic Country CT (Flickr) / Creative Commons

Connecticut and New York are butting heads over a controversial decision by the federal Environmental Protection Agency to allow dumping of dredged material in Long Island Sound. It’s an unusual split between two states that have been pretty lockstep in suing the EPA.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Three developers have submitted bids to sell offshore wind to Connecticut. That could mean big things for New London's economy, but officials and advocates said the state needs to act fast to ensure it doesn't miss the boat.

New science is bearing down on a poorly understood part of the North American lobster’s diet. And it turns out that a tiny crustacean’s abundance may help to explain expected declines in Maine’s lobster harvest.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

A federal budget cycle akin to a wild roller coaster ride ended up boosting funding for some environmental work. With his signature last week, President Donald Trump signed into law a $1.3 trillion spending package that shores up funding for two conservation and research programs in Long Island Sound.

CENTER FOR BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY

The endangered North Atlantic right whale population took a big hit last year, with a record number killed by fishing gear entanglements and ship strikes. Now, an ongoing debate over threats posed by Maine's lobster industry is gaining new urgency.

Some of the worst flooding during this past weekend's East Coast storm happened during high tides.

Shoreline tides are getting progressively higher. A soon-to-be-published report obtained by NPR predicts a future where flooding will be a weekly event in some coastal parts of the country.

Selbe Lynn / Creative Commons

Federal authorities were in Hartford this week, taking comment on President Donald Trump’s proposal to expand offshore drilling for oil and gas. Lately, the politics surrounding offshore drilling have changed a lot.

Aequorea victoria
Sierra Blakely / Wikimedia Commons

Did you know 75 percent of animals in the ocean glow?

Lobster conservation techniques pioneered by Maine fishermen helped drive a population boom that's led to record landings this century. That's the conclusion of new, peer-reviewed research published today

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