Environment

Emerald ash borers have been confirmed for the first time in the state of Vermont.
U.S. Department of Agriculture

A long-expected, but still dreaded, moment has arrived. The emerald ash borer, a tree-killing insect that has decimated forests in other parts of the country, has finally been officially confirmed in Vermont. We’re talking to experts about what comes next and what can be done to mitigate the damage from these invasive pests.

Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

The Agency of Natural Resources is poking holes in a report that says Saint-Gobain was not responsible for some of the PFOA contamination in Bennington.

A coyote walks in snowy wooded area.
LeFion / iStock

The ban on “holding or participating" in coyote-killing tournaments was included in a major fish and wildlife bill that passed the Vermont House this week.

After a wild temperature swing, along with rain and snow, downtown Johnson flooded on Saturday.
Courtesy Dan Noyes

Officials in two Vermont towns hit by ice-jam flooding last month are preparing for another round of rising water levels over the next few days.

Johnson Select Board Members Doug Molde (left) and Nat Kinney look at a map of the Lamoille River in Johnson. The board voted to hire heavy equipment to clear ice jams out of the river to prevent what they believe to be imminent flooding in the village.
Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

With warmer weather and rain in the forecast early next week, the Johnson Select Board has decided to take proactive measures to prevent flooding.

Kent McFarland captured this photo of a snowy owl in Killington.
Kent McFarland / Vermont Center For Ecostudies

As cold as it might get in Vermont, it's warm here to the snowy owl. They spend their summers in the Arctic Tundra. These are large owls, with a wingspan of five feet and striking yellow eyes. Kent McFarland and Sara Zahendra, of the Vermont Center For Ecostudies, went in search of a snowy owl at the Dead Creek Wildlife Management Area in Addison. We learn why it's a good year for spotting them in Vermont and what to do if you see one.

Find more info, video and photos at the links below:

Climate researchers say a changing climate could mean, among other changes, more extremes of heat and cold for Vermont.
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

Vermont's climate is already changing, and experts say that could mean rising temperatures, wetter weather and more extremes for both heat and cold. But are there also opportunities to be seized as those changes unfold? 

LawrenceSawyer / iStock

It's been a cold winter so far, so it might be harder to conjure up images of milder winters marked by more rain than snow, but a new report released by the USDA Forest Service says those kinds of winters are very much in our future due to climate change.

And a number of very important species of trees vital to the region's health are going to be threatened as a result.

Taps like this one at Academy School in Brattleboro were replaced after state tests discovered lead was leaching into the water.
Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

In November, the Department of Health announced that it was going to test 16 of the older schools around Vermont that get water from municipal sources to see if the pipes and fixtures in those buildings were leaching lead into the water. So far, they have detected unsafe levels of lead in some of the school buildings' water.

silvrshootr / iStock

With more than 50 breweries in the state, Vermont beer makers have made the Green Mountain State a good home for beer lovers. But all those breweries use a lot of water, grain and energy. To help the state's brewers make beer more sustainably, state environmental officials are hosting their second-annual Brewery Day.

Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

When Act 148 — the state's Universal Recycling Law — unanimously passed in 2012, it put a lot of new requirements on the state's waste haulers. Two years shy of the next key implementation deadline, the Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee is considering a bill that would ease some of those requirements.

Jaiel Pulskamp gets a cup of coffee at the Post Office Cafe, in Worcester. In addition to working on her farm, she's a field organizer for 350 Vermont's Generate New Solutions Campaign to bring renewable energy discussions to town meetings across Vermont.
Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

On Town Meeting Day, about 40 towns around Vermont will consider a nonbinding resolution to reduce Vermonters' dependence on fossil fuels. It's part of an effort by the climate justice group 350 Vermont to send a message to state lawmakers.

Secretary of Natural Resources Julie Moore, left, says a federal rollback of fuel efficiency standards for vehicles sold in Vermont could thwart the state's push to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
John Dillon / VPR file

Phosphorus is a basic building block of life. It’s in our bones, and it helps plants grow. But too much of this good thing is bad for places like Lake Champlain, where the nutrient fuels toxic algae blooms.

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

Massachusetts opted last week for one large power line to cover a big chunk of its energy needs for the next 20-plus years.

The Northern Pass proposal beat out other big transmission projects and dozens of smaller options for the right to supply all renewable power the Commonwealth wants.

As NHPR's Annie Ropeik reports, this has analysts and developers wondering what role smaller projects will play in the future of the grid.

A nearly finished 660 square foot cabin that Yestermorrow Design/Build School was hired to design and build.
Nina Keck / VPR

Imagine if you could hike, mountain bike or backcountry ski from one end of Vermont to the other — and stay in heated cabins along the trail.

That’s the vision of the Vermont Huts Association, a new nonprofit that wants to make the outdoors more easily accessible.

GPS systems and navigation apps sometimes face challenges navigating Vermont's roads.
Shannon McGee / flickr

A car that ended up in Lake Champlain made headlines after the out-of-town sightseers behind the wheel said they were steered out onto the ice by the Waze driving app.

We're talking about the challenges for navigation apps in a state like Vermont, with plenty of dirt roads and snowmobile trails, and a lower population of users. 

Toby Talbot / AP


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From left, Carl Powden of the Vermont Land Trust, Kate Sudhoff of the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation, and Bonnie and Don Bullard stand before a backdrop of Bean Mountain - part of the Bullard Lumber property in Eden.
Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

A lumber company’s property next to Green River Reservoir State Park is one of the latest parcels conserved through the Forest Legacy Program. This means the Lamoille County property will be protected for perpetuity and public access is guaranteed.

Gov. Phil Scott has suggested capturing and selling phosphorus before it gets to the state's waterways and lakes.
VPR File

In his budget address on Tuesday, Gov. Phil Scott suggested Vermont should turn lemons into lemonade by capturing the phosphorous flowing into our waterways - and selling it.

Would that work? We’re talking about whether the suggestion is feasible, how phosphorus could be separated out and what the economics of the idea might look like.

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