Environment

A blue-spotted salamander poses for its close-up. We're checking in on the amphibians and reptiles of Vermont.
Kiley Briggs / courtesy of the Vermont Reptile and Amphibian Atlas

Here's a word you might not know: herp (verb). It means to search for reptiles and amphibians. If you're a herper (noun) - either a dabbler or a full-blown frog freak - you won't want to miss this Vermont Edition. We're talking with local guru Jim Andrews; he'll give us an update on the cold-blooded world and answer your questions. 

Elementary school students in Kansas City, Mo., practice with their eclipse glasses. This post has what you need to monitor the eclipse from here in Vermont.
Charlie Riedel / Associated Press

Vermont will experience a partial eclipse Monday, Aug. 21. Here's everything you need to monitor the solar eclipse from Vermont.

On Monday, the moon will completely eclipse the sun, and people all over the U.S. will watch.

For those who have been boning up on eclipse trivia for weeks, congratulations. For everyone else, here are the things you need to know about the phenomenon.

State officials hope that Clean Water Week, which starts on Aug. 21, will celebrate Vermont waterways and the efforts underway to clean them up.
Ric Cengeri / VPR/file

The health of Lake Champlain and all the waterways in Vermont is a year-round concern. Gov. Phil Scott and other state officials want to drive that point home by officially kicking off Vermont Clean Water Week.

Low-income communities and communities of color are disproportionately affected by the consequences of climate change -- think New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina. These areas suffer from poor air quality, increasing temperatures, and extreme weather.

The spent nuclear fuel at Vermont Yankee is being moved from the cooling pools, shown in this photo, into dry cask storage.
Toby Talbot / AP/file

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission says a new dry cask storage facility at Vermont Yankee passed a federal inspection.

Rebecca Sananes / VPR/file

Seven Vermont counties hit by severe flooding earlier this summer will get federal assistance for storm clean up and infrastructure repairs.

Paul Costello, left, and Peter Walke, are co-chairs of the governor's Vermont Climate Action Commission, which met for the first time Tuesday. They say Vermont can use emissions-reduction initiatives to advance the state economy.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

Gov. Phil Scott’s newly minted Climate Action Commission held its first meeting Tuesday, and while past Vermont governors have also convened special panels to study the issue, commission members insist this latest one will deliver results.

Scientists say storms like this one in Waitsfield in 2010 are dumping more rain on the Northeast
Toby Talbot / AP

The draft National Climate Report both refines and underscores the impact of human activity on our climate. We're focusing in on the effects in Vermont and the Northeast.

Nicholas Erwin / flickr

Next week, people across the country will turn their eyes - hopefully safely protected - to the skies to watch a rare solar eclipse. We're looking up too. We'll talk about the eclipse, and about stargazing, astronomy, and all the latest from space - including the dramatic final mission of the Saturn probe Cassini. 

James Ehlers, seen here at a Statehouse rally earlier this year, says Vermont voters will appreciate a progressive agenda that includes a $15 minimum wage and tax increases on the wealthy.
Brenda Patoine, courtesy

The next gubernatorial election is still more than a year away, and it's been more than 50 years since an incumbent governor lost a reelection bid in Vermont. But the leading Democratic challenger to Gov. Phil Scott says he thinks the Republican incumbent is vulnerable.

A Vermont environmental advocacy group is joining a lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over the agency's implementation of a law to evaluate potentially toxic chemicals.

Over a year ago, residents near Merrimack, New Hampshire learned their drinking water had been contaminated by emissions from a plastics plant owned by the multinational company, Saint-Gobain.  

More than a year later, some residents in Merrimack say state and federal officials haven’t done enough to protect them from the contamination. Now, a few are taking things into their own hands, going door to door.

This week nearly half a million pieces of bait about the size of a quarter will be dropped from low-flying airplanes in more than 100 communities in the northern half of Vermont.

Up until now the outdoor recreation businesses in Vermont have not had a statewide advocacy group. Governor Phil Scott signed an executive order creating a collaborative to support the industry.
John Atkinson / Vermont Mountain Bike Association

Recreation businesses involving activities such as skiing, hiking, mountain biking and boating bring a lot of money into Vermont. But until now there hasn't been an organized effort to bring all of those businesses together and possibly provide some organized state support.

Walt Cottrell  lives in Newbury and he delays haying on his property to try to protect bobolinks and other birds that nest in the high grass. Cottrell says the bobolinks disappeared from his property about ten years ago.
Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

Vermont farmers are taking part in a regionwide effort to put off haying, when possible, to give grassland birds a better chance of surviving.

A Craftsbury Outdoor Center rowing coach instructs a camper on Great Hosmer Pond from a motorized coaching launch.
Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

The state is proposing a new rule for Great Hosmer Pond, in Craftsbury and Albany, and the draft language takes the unprecedented step of limiting the hours when rowing sculls and racing shells can be on the water to make room for other uses, including high speed motorboating.

Frequent bouts of rain and cooler weather than normal this summer have been annoying for recreation, but seriously problematic for Vermont farmers.

A new study shows that even a small amount of development around a lake can put the body of water at risk of salinization.
Wilson Ring / Associated Press

Here in the north country, we spread a lot of salt on our roadways to melt the ice that causes hazardous winter driving conditions. But that salt has to go somewhere.  Flora Krivak-Tetley, a PhD student in Biology at Dartmouth College, is part of a group of researchers with the Global Lake Ecological Observatory Network that has been taking a look at how salt is affecting waterbodies from Maine to the Midwest.

Courtesy: Vt. Dept. of Fish and Wildlife

A flowering plant thought to be extinct in Vermont has been rediscovered.

Winged loosestrife is a native plant related to the non-native invasive purple loosestrife.

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