The Environment in Focus

Wednesday at 9:35 am and 5:45 pm

The Environment in Focus is a weekly perspective on the issues and people changing Maryland's natural world.  There's a story behind every bend of the Chesapeake Bay's 11,684 miles of shoreline, in every abandoned coal mine in the Appalachian Mountains, in every exotic beetle menacing our forests and in every loophole snuck into pollution control laws in Annapolis.  Tom Pelton gives you a tour of this landscape every Wednesday at 9:35 a.m. and 5:45 p.m.

The Environment in Focus is sponsored by The Environmental Integrity Project, a nonprofit organization dedicated to holding polluters and governments accountable to protect public health.

   

Full Archive of Environment in Focus

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The Environment In Focus
1:10 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

The Last Stand for the Mouse Beaver

Nutria, also called Myocaster coypus (latin for mouse beaver), are large rodents native to South America that wreaked havoc on the Chesapeake Bay's wetlands when they were imported in the 1940's for the fur trade.

But now nutria face their last stand on Maryland's Eastern Shore.  Only a few are left after an intensive, more than decade-long trapping campaign by federal and state government agencies.

Wildlife managers have been trying to eradicate the invasive species because they eat the roots of wetlands plants. This accelerates the erosion of marshes that are important breeding grounds for fish and birds, and also work as water pollution filters that clean the Chesapeake Bay.

The Environment In Focus
1:01 pm
Tue May 20, 2014

Wind Farm Resurrected by Governor's Veto

On Friday, Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley used a rare veto to stop legislation that would have delayed (and perhaps killed) the first wind farm proposed for the Delmarva Peninsula.


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The Environment In Focus
1:43 pm
Tue May 13, 2014

Naturalist Uncovers Hidden Treasures in Maryland's Seasons

Biologist Bryan MacKay's new book, “A Year Across Maryland: A Week By Week Guide to Discovering Nature in the Chesapeake Region,” describes the miraculous diversity of the Mid-Atlantic's natural world.


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Environment In Focus
1:12 pm
Tue May 6, 2014

What Works in Chesapeake Bay Restoration

Scientific data collected over three decades proves that upgrading sewage plants and government regulation of fisheries work to improve the Chesapeake Bay.  A report by U.S. Geological Survey and the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science documents the success of clean water and air laws in cleaning up Bay tributaries. 

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The Environment In Focus
11:52 am
Tue April 29, 2014

The Balance of Sharks and Rays in the Bay

A few years ago, a massive bull shark was caught in a Chesapeake Bay tributary, creating quite a stir about "Jaws in the Potomac River."

The truth is, however, that sharks are far more likely to be prey than predator when they encounter people.

Overfishing of sharks up and down the East Coast has destabilized the balance of life in the Bay, with cownose rays multiplying -- and eating more oysters -- because there are few sharks left to eat the rays.    (Originally aired Oct. 27, 2010)

(Photo of bull shark courtesy of Buzz's Marina)

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The Environment in Focus
5:26 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

Female Song Birds Turn Darwin's Theory Upside Down

Since Darwin's time, most scientists and school children have assumed that the singing of song birds in the spring is an almost exclusively male trait.  But new research by Kevin Omland and Karan Odom of the University of Maryland Baltimore County and colleagues shows that both female and males sing in 71 percent of the surveyed song bird species around the world.

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The Environment In Focus
1:28 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

Beaver Boom Dams Up Pollution Control Projects

Once nearly extinct in the East, beaver populations are booming.  Their comeback, however, is creating complications for storm water pollution control systems, which beavers love to dam up.

Stephanie Boyles Griffin, director of wildlife response for the Humane Society of the U.S., is convincing governments to use devices called "beaver deceivers." They foil beaver dams in a way that does not kill the animals.

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The Environment In Focus
2:07 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

Wind Farm Proposal Hit by Hurricane of Political Opposition

Fourth generation farm owners Mary Anne and Rick Peterman are among the residents of the Eastern Shore of Maryland who would profit from a proposed 50-turbine wind farm that could be the first built on the Delmarva Peninsula. 

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The Environment In Focus
2:36 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

Spills of Coal Ash and Chemicals Illustrate Need for EPA

A coal waste containment pond owned by the nation’s largest power company, Duke Energy, ruptured in February, spewing almost 40,000 tons of toxic muck into North Carolina's Dan River.

The disaster -- along with a chemical spill into a West Virginia river -- illustrate the need for strong regulatory action by EPA to protect waterways at a time the federal agency is being criticized as unnecessary.   (Photo by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/Steve Alexander)  

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The Environment In Focus
3:01 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

Electronic Tracking Follows Epic Migration of Osprey

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation is using tiny cell-phone like devices in backpacks on osprey to follow the migration of the fish hawks from South America to North America.

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