Conservation

An image of an NSCU biology professor holding a St. Francis satyr butterfly
Jay Price

Note: this program is a rebroadcast from August 17, 2016.

For years, the Pentagon has partnered with conservation groups to protect hundreds of endangered and threatened species on military bases across the country.

The partnership started at Fort Bragg in North Carolina in the early 1990s after a rare woodpecker was found and halted training on parts of the base. Since then, the military and conservationists have worked together to manage the bases' rich ecosystems.

Staring Down Fate

Aug 30, 2016
Photo of Chris Lucash
Jeffrey Mittelstadt, WildSides

Chris Lucash spent close to three decades working with the endangered red wolf population in North Carolina. He was present when the first wolves were released back into the wild in the late 1980s and helped support the wild population as it grew to its peak in the 2000s.

In June of 2015, Lucash was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease, and he passed away just one year later.

Photo of the Blue Ridge Mountains
Ken Thomas / Wikipedia

For a century the National Park Service has established and preserved parks, seashores and memorials across the country. Sites range from Yellowstone National Park to the César E. Chávez National Monument.

In 2015, the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, both partially located in North Carolina, were two of the top three most visited sites in the National Park system.

However, growing concerns about climate change and big maintenance bills threaten preservation efforts.

Family Of Earth

Aug 23, 2016
Photo of Wilma Dykeman
Jim Stokely

Wilma Dykeman published 18 books in her lifetime, including meditations on environmental conservation, race, birth control and chemically-altered food. She addressed many of these issues long before they were hot topics in public discourse.

In her first book, "The French Broad," (Rinehart, 1955) she became one of the first writers to argue that clean water could be an economic development tool.

Research Finds Wildlife Unfazed By Hunters And Hikers

Jun 8, 2016
Courtesy of eMammal

A new study from North Carolina State University finds most wildlife species are not disturbed by hiking and hunting in protected forests.

Fosa: King Of The Madagascar Jungle

Nov 4, 2015
Fosa are the top mammalian predator on Madagascar, and their diet includes lemurs.
kellinahandbasket / Flickr Creative Commons

In the jungles of Madagascar roams an endemic beast known as the fosa. It has the frame of a small cougar and head of a mongoose, hunting any animal with a heartbeat, including lemurs.

Though the fosa rests atop the food chain in Madagascar, slash and burn agriculture threaten the future of this already dwindling population.

A picture of a teacher and intern working on a computer.
Rebecca Martinez / WUNC

Computers, smart phones and other electronics often end up in landfills just a couple years after they're manufactured. The United Nations says electronic waste is one of the fastest growing waste streams in developed developing countries alike, and it can be hazardous.

A picture of used aluminum cans.
Tambako the Jaguar / Flickr

Spring cleaning is underway; you can tell from the yard sales dotting lawns over the weekend. Most other unwanted items can go in your recycling bin. Morning Edition producer Rebecca Martinez has been reporting on recycling and re-use.

Eric Hodge: Communities across the state have really been pushing recycling in recent years, making it more convenient. Why does that matter?

Picture an enormous thrift store with a funky vibe and full of boisterous music. A vintage-looking swordfish hangs above the register, and the art that lines the walls is made from old binders and colorful bits of foam and plastic.

"We get a ton of fabric, beads, buttons, trim, notion, paint, wood, frames, matte board, foam core, billboards, signage, magnets," said Ann Woodward.

A picture of electricity meters.
Mark Turnauckas / Flickr

A study from Duke University shows that customers use up to eight percent more electricity when they use automatic payments to cover their monthly bills.

Steven Sexton teaches public policy and economics. He says auto-pay keeps costs down for companies, and is convenient for customers. But it means they can lose track of their costs.

"The customer no longer has to confront those prices or look at that price information, because their payments will be transmitted, regardless of whether they look at their bills."

Apple Buying Land In NC

Apr 17, 2015
Green Swamp
The Nature Conservancy

 Apple is partnering with a national land conservation group to buy up land in North Carolina.

The 3,600 acre tract Apple and The Conservation Fund is buying is located in Brunswick County. It’s described by the Fund as having “high-quality pine savannas and striking and unusual plants and flowers.”

A picture of running tap water.
malla_mi / Flickr

Raleigh's Public Utilities Department wants the City Council to consider raising water rates to cover infrastructure upgrades.

But even though the area's population is growing, the city is not getting more revenue through water use. Carman says conservation minded citizens using more efficient appliances have cut household water use almost in half.

Image of Pisgah National Forest
Flickr/Jeff Gun

    

The Pisgah and Nantahala National Forests in western North Carolina play an integral role in the state’s environment and economy. 

A picture of a baby olinguito.
Juan Rendon / Saving Species

Species are going extinct about 1,000 times faster than they should be because their habitat is being destroyed. That's according to new research led by Duke University.

Conservation Ecology Professor Stuart Pimm said the worse news is that nearly 90 percent of the species are unknown to scientists.

Salim Virji / Flickr Creative Commons

Raleigh residents have until January first to take advantage of the city's toilet upgrade reimbursement.

Raleigh has been giving out $100 rebates for efficient toilets since 2009. It was part of an effort to encourage water conservation following the severe drought in 2007 and 2008.

Ed Buchan is Raleigh's environmental coordinator. He says the city is ending the rebate program, because rate-payers have embraced the efficiency effort.

"So we have this business case analysis, we looked at the program, and we budgeted $500,000 a year for the rebates," Buchan says.

Some of the farmers at Transplanting Traditions.
Transplanting Traditions Community Farm

On 4 acres just outside Chapel Hill, nearly 150 Karen refugees till the soil as they did back home in Myanmar, also known as Burma.

Transplanting Traditions Community Farm is educating locals about Burmese vegetables and cuisine, and teaching the refugees about American produce, with the eventual goal of setting them up as full-time farmers.

Chunky Pipe Creek
Triangle Greenways Council

Just days after the City of Durham kicked off its trail season, the Triangle Greenways Council (TGC) has finalized a deal allowing for the creation a new greenway in Durham County. The group purchased a parcel of land along Chunky Pipe Creek, about two miles upstream from Falls Lake, Raleigh’s drinking water source (see a map here). The land has already been designated  for a future greenway project in the Durham Open Space Plan.

TGC  bought the land on April 10 from private owners, who will benefit from the NC Conservation Tax Credit and other federal tax deductions that incentivize conservation efforts. The purchase is the fourth parcel that TGC has bought along the creek.  The City of Raleigh provided funding via the Upper Neuse Clean Water Initiative, a consortium of seven conservation groups that aims to protect land important to  the health of drinking water sources in the Upper Neuse River Basin.

Historical State, NCSU Libraries

  The Hofmann Forest is referred to as the "crown jewel" of forestry research in North Carolina, and it’s one of the main educational sites for forestry students.

Bahama Pintail Duck
Snowman radio via Flickr, Creative commons

In 2009, Sylvan Heights Bird Park received a call from the US Embassy in Trinidad, asking them to help restore two species of nearly-extinct native ducks, the White-Faced Whistling Duck and the Bahama Pintail. Four years later, they are celebrating the successful introduction of individuals of both species back into Trinidad, a promising sign for the health of native populations.

Jay Leutze was a non-practicing lawyer writing a novel, working for the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy and minding his own business in his home in western North Carolina when he got a phone call from an impassioned and outraged 14 year old named Ashley. She and her aunt and uncle, Ollie and Curly, were sure that the new scar on a nearby mountain was a violation of the state's Ridge Act.

A partnership that works to protect and restore the longleaf pine in North Carolina will plant its 500,000th seedling today. Debbie Crane of the Nature Conservancy says the tree is an iconic state symbol, but it's been in decline for decades.

 Stuart Pimm
http://www.nicholas.duke.edu/people/faculty/pimm/

Duke University professor Stuart Pimm’s work is more important than ever. That’s because species are going extinct faster than ever. Pimm, the Doris Duke Professor of Conservation Ecology at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment, studies endangered species in hopes of curbing accelerated extinction rates. His work as a conservation biologist began in Hawaii in the 1970s – before the field of conservation biology even existed.

Chatham county officials take a step toward protecting the area's natural resources today. The Comprehensive Conservation Plan for Chatham County is the first of its kind in North Carolina. An event being held in Pittsboro this afternoon will unveil details of the voluntary program. Leigh Ann Hammerbacher works for the Triangle Land Conservancy which contributed to the plan.

A new study from Duke University reveals that many of the world's undiscovered plant and animal species are in danger. Researchers say many of the missing species live in areas being developed or deforested. Stuart Pimm is the Doris Duke Chair of Ecology at Duke. He says a new mathematical model doubles the number of plant species believed to be under threat.

North Carolina conservation groups say preserving land for public use has long-term economic benefits. A new report from the non-profit Trust for Public Land claims that every dollar North Carolina invests in parks, farms and wilderness has a return of 4 dollars to the local economy. The report measures the “natural goods and services” of different ecosystems in the state. An area is valued by the quality of its air and water and its ability to remove pollutants naturally—making wetlands and forests the most valuable and developed or barren land the least valuable.

Walker Golder
Audubon North Carolina

One of the last undeveloped barrier islands in North Carolina is one step closer to permanent protection. Audubon North Carolina has purchased a 35-acre tract of land on Lea Island in Pender County. The money was made available through a private donation.