Environment

researchers working with Japanese seaweed
Courtesy of Aaron Ramus / Duke University

Eradicating invasive plants and species may not always be the best policy. A new study shows a non-native species of seaweed is helping coastal habitats in North Carolina.

a spash of water
Kev Lewis / Flickr, Creative Commons, https://flic.kr/p/dsd82n

North Carolina has received $3 million from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to help the state enforce the Safe Drinking Water Act.

Duke Energy's coal-burning plant and the adjacent coal ash ponds by the Dan River.
Riverkeeper Foundation

As a Democratic gubernatorial candidate last fall, Roy Cooper blasted his Republican opponent for adopting a more lenient standard than what's recommended by North Carolina's health agency for cancer-causing hexavalent chromium in well water.

Two eagles flying
Ellen Tinsley / Dreaming Song Photos

Ellen Tinsley is acutely aware of the behavior and patterns of bald eagles in North Carolina. The retired equine veterinarian is a bald eagle monitor for the United States Army Corps of Engineers. She spends most mornings at Jordan Lake tracking the behavior of Petruchio, Kate, Hershey and Godiva – eagles who have nested in the area. 

Duke Energy's coal-burning plant and the adjacent coal ash ponds by the Dan River.
Riverkeeper Foundation

The nation's largest electric company wants regulators in North Carolina to force consumers to pay nearly $200 million a year to clean up the toxic byproducts of burning coal to generate power. That doesn't sit well with neighbors of the power plants who have been living on bottled water since toxic chemicals appeared in some of their wells.

City of Raleigh

Visitors to the Neuse River Greenway can enjoy a large field of blooming sunflowers this month. But the greenway doesn't maintain the bright field of flowers. The sunflowers are actually owned and operated by the Neuse River Resource Recovery Facility, formerly known as the wastewater treatment plant. 

A bill seeks to protect air space for military exercises by prohibiting wind farms.
Paulo Valdivieso / Flickr Creative Commons

At least two wind farm developers say they will likely suspend their projects in North Carolina if a proposed moratorium goes into effect. 

Man stands on arid land created from drought
Faixal / Pixabay - Creative Commons

The South is likely to be hit harder by the costs of climate change over the next several decades, according to a new report from the Climate Impact Lab. Researchers studied the impact of past changes in weather patterns and simulated how trends in climate change will affect the U.S. county by county. The report claims the South will see bigger costs because of dying crops, larger energy costs and higher mortality rates. 

Public Domain / Wiki Creative Commons

In the 1930s, the federal government started to map out regions deemed financially stable enough to receive mortgage assistance through a process called “redlining.” The areas identified as “too risky” for loans were largely concentrated in minority and low-income neighborhoods. During the same time, the City of Durham implemented tree-planting programs across various neighborhoods.

plastic grocery bags
Photo by mtsofan / John / found on Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons

Plastic grocery bags are still banned on the Outer Banks. At least for now.

Devon Hall, Sr., is 62 and has lived in the Duplin County town of Warsaw all his life.
Rusty Jacobs / WUNC

Hog country in eastern North Carolina can be beautiful and serene. Pastoral scenes with uncluttered horizons, neat farmhouses, corn fields swaying in the breeze, and livestock quietly grazing – the perfect place to sit on the back porch and sip some sweet tea. But if the wind shifts just right – and it often does – powerful odors from farms can force neighbors to take refuge indoors.

Overhead view of Hurricane Matthew
NASA / Flickr

Gov. Roy Cooper made another visit to Kinston as it continues to recover from Hurricane Matthew. 

The city was one of the hardest hit from the storm's record floods in October.

Cape Fear River, NC, at Raven Rock Park
Blipperman / Wikimedia Commons

A chemical compound found in the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority (CFPUA) water supply is garnering the attention of local officials. The contaminant GenX is manufactured by the Chemours Company at its Fayetteville Works plant. GenX is a replacement for a hazardous ingredient in Teflon. GenX is a relatively new compound and has yet to be regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency. Little data exists about the chemical’s health effects. Host Frank Stasio talks with Vince Winkel, reporter for WHQR in Wilmington, and Larry Cahoon, professor of biology at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, about the effects of GenX and how officials are responding to the contaminants in the water supply. 

Elizabeth City, North Carolina
Sarah Hamilton / Flickr

Elizabeth City is taking a hit to its tourism economy as crews continue to clean up a popular boating route that's been closed since Hurricane Matthew hit in October.

red wolf
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

Residents and interested parties will have a chance to once again weigh in on the future of the wild red wolf population in eastern North Carolina.

The Aedes aegypti mosquito is known as the primary carrier of the Zika virus.
U.S. Department of Agriculture

With mosquito season underway, public health officials are monitoring the spread of the Zika virus. North Carolina officials say the threat of the mosquito-borne virus is low here this year.

an image of a metallic, green emerald ash borer
USDA

The invasive, tree-killing emerald ash borer has been detected in one more county in North Carolina. The insect was confirmed in Mecklenburg County this week.

 Donald Trump
Gage Skidmore / Flickr Creative Commons

Seismic blasting is a controversial technique used to map offshore oil reserves. In January of 2017, the Obama administration officially denied applications for seismic blasting in the Atlantic, but the Trump administration reversed that decision with an executive order a few months later. The announcement brought many in coastal communities out to protest, stating concerns about the impact of seismic blasting on marine life and tourism.


sugargliding / Flickr/Creative Commons

Part guidebook, part preservation effort, "Living at the Water's Edge: A Heritage Guide to the Outer Banks Byway" (The University of North Carolina Press/2017) takes visitors to the proverbial porches of those who live along the Outer Banks National Scenic Byway. The 21 unincorporated communities from Whalebone Junction to North River Bridge are unique.

A screengrab of a footprint taken to monitor endangered species.
Courtesy of ConservationFIT

Conservation scientists at Duke University are using images from smartphones and drones to study the population and behavior of endangered species.

A beach near Wilmington, NC.
libby via flickr, Creative Commons

North Carolina's inland cities could have an unforeseen influx of residents from the coast due to sea level rise. 

Wake County wants to expand and connect the greenways in the county
Ray Rivera / Flickr

The Wake County Parks Department wants to connect hundreds of miles of its greenway trails.

The department is considering a proposal to add more than 270 miles to its network of trails across the county.

Plant manager Tom Hanes looks out over the Duke Energy natural gas-fired plant in Hamlet.
Jason deBruyn / WUNC

In many homes across the state, residents come home from work, turn on their lights, run their dishwashers and watch television or browse the Internet. They do all this without giving much thought to the electricity that courses for miles underground and through their house to power these devices.

The Cape Lookout Lighthouse on the Crystal Coast will switch to a solar-powered system this week.
Cape Lookout National Seashore

The Cape Lookout Lighthouse on the Crystal Coast will switch to a solar-powered system this week.

Terrestrial Podcast / kuow.org

Many people are aware of the way human choices are changing the planet. But how is the planet shaping the big and small choices people make everyday? The new podcast “Terrestrial” from NPR member station KUOW traces the decisions people make based on the environment, like a couple’s decision not to have children because of rising global population, or the exploration of composting as an eco-friendly way of processing dead bodies.

HSUS
HSUS

Gov. Roy Cooper slammed down another veto Friday, his fourth of this legislative term.

Cooper vetoed House Bill 467, which would reduce the liability hog farmers face for the nuisance caused by stenches wafting from their operations.

Renewable energy credits in North Carolina by year.
N.C. Department of Revenue / Jason deBruyn

The North Carolina Department of Revenue gave a record number of tax credits last year for renewable energy use.

Duke Energy / Flickr Creative Commons

Last year Duke Energy acquired Piedmont Natural Gas for $4.9 billion. The purchase is a marker of the energy industry’s shift toward using natural gas to produce electricity. Supporters of natural gas say it is cheaper and burns cleaner than coal. But critics argue that methane leaks during storage and transportation, which can accelerate global warming.

Storms in Raleigh caused flooding in Kinston. This photo was taken April 25, 2017.
Associated Press

The mayor of Kinston wants the N.C. Legislature and U.S. Congress to help prevent future floods as the Neuse River crests from more heavy rain.

Liz Bell

Many communities in eastern North Carolina are still recovering from the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew. The storm hit the East Coast last October, and in Edgecombe County hundreds of students were displaced after flooding nearly destroyed Princeville Elementary School. Now the Edgecombe County school board must decide on next steps for rebuilding the school.

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