Stories

Monarch butterflies are now endangered. New England scientists say we can do more to protect them

July 22, 2022

A global conservation collaborative — the International Union for Conservation of Nature — has declared North America’s migrating monarch butterflies endangered. The designation doesn’t carry regulatory weight — but it sends a strong message that the species is in trouble. Eastern monarch butterflies spend their summers along the eastern seaboard and migrate thousands of miles every…

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A Maine forest offers decades of data on trees’ ability to remove carbon from the air

July 22, 2022

For decades, scientists from around the world have been visiting a mature forest just off the interstate, about 30 miles north of Bangor. They’ve undertaken groundbreaking studies on acid rain, forest ecology and soil health. NASA used it for a remote sensing project. And at one point the 550-acre Howland Research Forest was the most…

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Biden pledges executive action on climate change, opens Gulf of Mexico to offshore wind

July 21, 2022

In a visit to Somerset’s Brayton Point on Wednesday, President Biden pledged to take executive action on climate change if Congress won’t act. “This is an emergency,” he said. “An emergency. And I will look at it that way.” But he stopped short of declaring climate change a national emergency, something Senate Democrats and other…

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Maine seal deaths linked to the avian flu prompt a federal investigation

July 20, 2022

The federal government has designated the deaths of nearly 160 seals since the start of June as an “unusual mortality event” along Maine’s coast. An investigation is now underway to determine the cause, the impact and the environmental factors surrounding it. The highly pathogenic avian influenza has been detected in a large number of the…

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How is climate change affecting cyanobacteria in N.H. lakes, ponds and other waters?

July 16, 2022

It’s peak season for cyanobacteria blooms: the blue-green algae that sprouts in bodies of water, which can be harmful for humans and animals. As of July 15, there are two active cyanobacteria advisories on New Hampshire waters, at Keyser Pond in Henniker and Silver Lake Beach in Hollis. As summers get warmer with a changing climate, those blooms have more of…

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Two turbines of the Block Island Wind Farm off the coast of Rhode Island.

Electricity grid operator expecting more demand and renewables in New England

July 6, 2022

New England’s electricity grid is in for major changes, according to a yearly report from ISO New England, the organization that manages the region’s grid. The report says decarbonization will become the way of life in New England, with heating and transportation becoming electrified through technology like heat pumps and electric vehicles. That will increase regional demand…

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Planting 1,000 wildflowers to restore a biodiversity hotspot on Martha’s Vineyard

July 6, 2022

Tim Boland stood next to his black pickup on a dirt road in Edgartown, and waited for a moment. Then, he started handing out wildflowers. “Who would like a flat?” he called to the dozen-or-so volunteers standing nearby. As they eagerly trotted over to the truck, Boland handed out black plastic trays, each holding fifty…

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As sharks return to Cape Cod for the summer, scientists are testing to new ways to track them

July 1, 2022

White sharks are arriving in Massachusetts waters for the summer, and researchers who study shark behavior off Cape Cod are testing some new techniques. State shark biologist Greg Skomal works closely with Megan Winton, staff scientist at the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy. They and other scientists up and down the coast share data from nearly…

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Mainers speak out against Supreme Court decision regulating greenhouse gases

June 30, 2022

The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday issued a ruling limiting the federal government’s authority to regulate the greenhouse gases that drive climate change. The decision was roundly criticized by Maine’s environmental community, state and federal officials and representatives of some Maine businesses. The case deals with a set of regulations from the Obama administration, known…

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A new study finds that deer ticks can survive the cold winter in northern Maine

June 28, 2022

New research suggests that disease-carrying deer ticks can survive the deep cold of Maine’s winter in the right conditions — even in far northern Maine. The findings come from a study at the University of Maine, where researchers compared tick winter survival rates at sites across the state. The study found that in areas with insulating…

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