Environment

Salt marshes
8:38 am
Thu December 26, 2013

Duke Study: Salt Marshes Depend On Crabs, Snails And Fungus For Preservation

Salt marsh ecosystems depend on healthy biodiversity.
Credit Rob Bixby / RobBixbyPhotography, Flickr Creative Commons

A new study from Duke University shows the importance of maintaining key species to support biodiversity. 

Researchers manipulated the populations of crabs, snails and fungus in a salt marsh in Georgia.  Brian Silliman is an associate professor of marine conservation biology at Duke's Nicholas School of the Environment.  He says each species provides an important function in preserving the marsh. 

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Possum Drop
4:00 pm
Tue December 24, 2013

Judge Allows Brasstown To Go Ahead With NYE "Possum Drop"

A Wake County Superior Judge has upheld a permit issued to allow an opossum to be temporarily caught and displayed on New Year's Eve.
Credit Cody Pope via Wikimedia commons

A Superior Court judge will allow Brasstown's annual Possum Drop to go ahead despite opposition from animal rights activists.

Judge Allen Baddour ruled in favor of the General Assembly's new animal display bill, which allows the state Wildlife Resources Commission to issue a permit for the event.

Each New Year's Eve, Brasstown revelers catch a wild opossum and lower it to the ground at midnight in a plexi-glass box. After the opossum is fed, it's released back into the wild.

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Bird Count
4:31 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

Birders On The Lookout For Snowy Owls, Other Species During Christmas Count

Birders are out counting species for the Audubon Society's Christmas Bird Count. A few people have reported rare sightings of Snowy Owls.
Credit Michael Gäbler / © Michael Gäbler / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA-3.0

Nearly 600 North Carolinians are expected to get out into the woods and fields during the Audubon Society's Christmas Bird Count. Volunteer bird watchers will join the coordinated effort to count as many birds and species as possible within designated areas.

Curtis Smalling directs Land Bird Conservation for Audubon North Carolina. He says the federal government surveys breeding birds in the summer, but the Christmas Bird Count compiles data going back 114 winters.

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Environment
7:02 am
Mon December 23, 2013

Johnston County I-40 Rest Areas Reopen With A Rustic New Look

The barn-like structures that highlight the re-opened rest areas along I-40 near Benson.
Credit NCDOT

Drivers along I-40 this holiday season can take a breather at a rest area in Johnston County.   The westbound and eastbound stops near Benson have re-opened after a nine-month remodeling project.

The NCDOT put $1.5 million into renovations and upgrades for the facilities which now meet Americans with Disabilities Act requirements. 

Transportation department spokeswoman Jennifer Garifo says the look of the rest areas was designed and decorated to pay homage to the state's signature industry.

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Environment
8:48 am
Thu December 19, 2013

NCDOT Evaluates 17 Routes To Complete The I-540 Loop

NCDOT is collecting data along 17 proposed routes to complete the I-540 beltway around Raleigh.
Credit NCDOT

The North Carolina Department of Transportation is considering 17 alternative routes to complete construction on the I-540 beltway around Raleigh.

Project Manager Eric Midkiff says that's down from hundreds of options the North Carolina Department of Transportation has already considered.

In the 1990s, the DOT established a likely location for the roadway.   The so-called Orange Route was protected from development in anticipation of the 540 loop.

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Bonner Bridge
8:50 am
Mon December 16, 2013

Bonner Bridge Reopens

The Bonner Bridge has been reopened to traffic after safety tests.
Credit jennyk325 via Flickr Creative Commons

The Bonner Bridge reopened to traffic yesterday afternoon.

Structural safety concerns caused officials to close the bridge on N.C. 12 earlier this month.  However, the North Carolina Department of Transportation engineers deemed the bridge safe for traffic after several sonar scans, driving two test pilings, and multiple inspections over the past week.

The emergency repair work to add more support to the bridge continues.

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Environment
6:37 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

Is North Carolina To Blame For Northern States' Air Pollution?

Pollution fills the air from the Blue Ridge Paper mill in Canton North Carolina, deep in the mountains of Western North Carolina.
Credit Doug Bradley / Flickr

That's not an easy question to answer.

Earlier this week, eight Northern states filed a petition with the EPA alleging that states from the South and Midwest are producing enough smog that it's affecting the air quality downwind. But how much can be blamed on North Carolina?

On the face of it, it's likely that some of North Carolina's air pollution does seep across state lines.

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Bonner Bridge Lawsuit
8:00 am
Sat December 7, 2013

SELC: Bonner Bridge Lawsuit Will Move Forward

Credit Southern Environmental Law Center

Despite a public blasting from state and local officials, the Southern Environmental Law Center says it plans to move forward with a lawsuit opposing replacing the Bonner Bridge.

"We have no plans to drop this lawsuit," said Derb Carter, Director the SELC North Carolina offices. "We're filing briefs next week. We are doing everything we can to make sure the case proceeds promptly to a conclusion."

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Bonner Bridge Closure
4:00 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

Citizen Hub For Bonner Bridge Info

A Prius gets stuck in sand on Outer Banks
Credit Oregon Inlet Idiots

When the Bonner Bridge was closed unexpectedly earlier this week, it shocked many Outer Banks residents and tourists. The bridge links the Outer Banks with the mainland. Suddenly it seemed everyone was wondering... How will I do my shopping and my banking? When will the bridge re-open? What will happen next?

Many locals are going to a rather unlikely place to get their news: a Facebook page called Oregon Inlet Idiots. The page was started in 2011 as a place to poke fun at the tourists.

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Bonner Bridge Closure
12:45 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

How They're Coping On Hatteras Without The Bridge

Locals feel absence of Bonner Bridge
Credit ncdot.org

Phil Beck has heard it all. He's a part time cashier at Marilyn's Deli in Rodanthe. Just about everyone who comes to his register wants to talk about the unexpected closure of the Bonner Bridge. "They want to know an answer, how long is it gonna take [to open the bridge]?  Most of the customers, they ask me 'What do you know?' "

As he spoke by phone, he paused to ring up a customer. "$4.38 please. Oh, no worries, I've got the other penny."

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