Stories

As Sea Levels Rise in Boston, Stormwater May Have Nowhere To Go

June 17, 2021

Even the experts agree: no one wants to think about the sewer system. “Most people, all they care about is you flush the toilet, it goes away. You do the sink, it goes away. The water comes out, the water turns off. It rains, the water goes away. As long as it’s gone, nobody thinks…

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The Seaport Cost Billions To Build. What Will It Take To Save It?

June 16, 2021

When former Boston Mayor Marty Walsh took the stage at a 2017 ribbon-cutting in the Seaport District, he spoke with pride of a neighborhood “hitting its stride.” He spoke of new retail, housing, entertainment venues, and green space. He spoke of job creation and “smart growth.” He spoke of an area that represents “our future…

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The 1-2-3s Of Boston’s Rising Sea Level

June 15, 2021

Boston faces climate change threats from both rising seas and flooding during big rainstorms. These problems are complicated, and they’ll have a profound effect on residents and much of the regional economy. We cover a lot of this information in WBUR’s series “Boston Under Water,” but to help you wrap your head around the issues,…

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Underwater Drones: Regulators Trying New Technology To Enforce Lobster Trap Rules

June 11, 2021

The enforcement of lobster trap rules far offshore is getting increased attention from state and federal regulators, who are turning to new technology to inspect gear for compliance with requirements that aim to protect endangered North Atlantic right whales from deadly entanglements. Michael Henry is a top fisheries enforcement officer for the National Oceanic and…

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As Farmers Plant Cover Crops To Reduce Runoff, Report Says They Also Use More Herbicides

February 10, 2021

A new report by a retired state scientist shows the apparent unintended consequence of the successful push by dairy farmers to reduce nutrient runoff into Lake Champlain. Farmers reduce runoff by planting their corn fields with cover crops, which they then kill annually with herbicides. The report documents an increase in herbicides applied on the…

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Ropeless Fishing Shows Promise, But There’s a Catch: Financial, Safety, Technology Challenges

February 2, 2021

The lobster industry could be getting a new sound. On a cold January morning, a lobster trap sitting on a table at a manufacturing facility in Wareham is rhythmically beeping. Two final beeps have a special meaning. “So that’s the release confirmation,” explained Rob Morris, who sells acoustic release systems for the underwater technology company…

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Is ‘Ropeless’ Fishing the Solution to End Fatal Entanglements for Endangered Whales?

February 1, 2021

Rob Martin has been fishing from the Sandwich Marina for 29 years off his boat, Resolve. “It’s only 40 feet. It was big when I first got it and now it seems small,” he said, while warming up inside his boat’s cabin on a cold January morning. Over the last few decades, Martin, 56, has…

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Program Offers A Lifeline To Fishermen, And A Home For Unwanted Oysters

December 24, 2020

Standing on a cold, wet beach, Bruce Silverbrand rummages through a metal basket of oysters. He picks out a huge one — almost as big as a mitten, with a knobbed and lumpy shell. It’s what people in the shellfish industry call a “big ugly,” though Silverbrand abhors the term. “I would never call an…

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New Method to Save Salt Marshes Piloted in Buzzards Bay

November 17, 2020

Wearing tall rubber boots, a scientist walked along an overgrown path to the Little Bay salt marsh in Fairhaven. “I’m going to kind of weave us up through this back zone,” said Alice Besterman, the post-doctoral researcher with the Buzzards Bay Coalition. Besterman pushed past tall, pale grasses that hid crabs underfoot, and when she…

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Study: Most Of The Plastic Found In Seabirds’ Stomachs Was Recycleable

October 21, 2020

The great shearwater is a seabird commonly seen off the New England coast. It’s not particularly striking — to the untrained eye, it looks like a brown seagull with long wings. It eats by diving underwater, grabbing prey and then returning to the surface to swallow it down. The birds aren’t rare or endangered, but…

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