environment

Emily Jones / GPB News

On a recent hot and humid summer day, the St. Simon’s Island fishing pier offered some shade and a nice breeze for lots of people fishing and crabbing.

 

But that wasn’t all they were doing. Many were smoking. And their cigarette butts had to go somewhere.


Leighton Rowell / GPB

Atlanta is known as the “city in a forest." More than 1/3 of the city is covered in trees, standing well above most American cities

But as Atlanta experiences a development boom, the green canopy is shrinking. Private property is the main factor behind this destruction. 

Pollution and global warming rank near the top of environmentalists' growing list of concerns. But according to the Environmental Protection Agency, another menace to the environment is in many people's own backyards. Over a two day period, the EPA studied waste from 100 dogs. The findings were alarming; there were enough bacteria to force the closing of a city’s watershed. Anna Truszczynski from the Georgia Environmental Protection Division explains how dog feces is an environmental hazard.

Pexels

Pollution and global warming rank near the top of environmentalists' growing list of concerns. But according to the Environmental Protection Agency, another menace to the environment is in many people's own backyards.

For Mark Sanchez, being a peach grower means "you pretty much stay worried all year. That's because for peaches to bloom in the spring, peach trees have to stay cold in the winter. At Lane Southern Orchards in Fort Valley, Georgia, that means getting 650-850 "chill hours" — or hours under 45 degrees Fahrenheit — between November and February. But last year, conditions didn't even come within range. By Sanchez's estimate, Fort Valley only got about 550 cold hours. Whereas a typical peach season goes through mid-August, Lane wrapped up operations in early July. So after this year's cold winter, Sanchez, Lane's CEO, is more optimistic. We talked to him about what we can expect from this year's peach season and what makes Georgia the peach state even though other states have surpassed our production levels. 

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Ready to put your winter clothes away? Not so fast. Although temperatures across the state are predicted to reach into the 70s this weekend, cooler than average spring weather is projected to stick around Georgia until at least the beginning of May. In Atlanta, lows have approached century-old records for this time of year. In middle and south Georgia, the National Weather Service projects a 40 percent chance of below normal temperatures. 

What makes Vidalia onions so special that they get their own festival — and declaration as Georgia's official state vegetable? We asked Delbert Bland of Bland Farms in Glennville, Georgia. He's been in the Vidalia business for decades and gave us a taste of the history and science behind this sweet onion.  

Mike Gonzalez / Wikimedia Commons

Georgia has been at war with Alabama and Florida over tri-state water use for decades. More recently, Tennessee entered the mix

The legal dispute began in 1990, when Alabama and Florida sued Georgia and the Army Corps of Engineers (COE) over a COE recommendation that a dam on the Chattahoochee River be used to supply Atlanta with water, rather than the states of Florida and Alabama. 

UGA Skidaway Institute of Oceanography

When we talk about Coastal Georgia’s salt marshes, it’s often in terms of how pretty they are, or all the birds and other species that live there. But how much are they worth? Oceanographer Bill Savidge, of the University of Georgia Skidaway Institute of Oceanography, has tallied up the value of the “goods and services” the marshes provide - from commercial and recreational fishing to storm surge protection.

 

GPB’s Emily Jones asked Savidge why he decided to put the marshes in economic terms.

Lauren Packard / NOAA/Flickr

Right whales are Georgia’s state aquatic mammal, and around this time of year they’re usually right off our coast having their calves. But this year, only three whales have been spotted, and none of them are calves. Environmental changes and human activity seem to be jeopardizing the endangered whales’ livelihoods.

So, how worried should we be? With us by phone was Clay George, biologist and head of right whale work for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

 

 

  

 

The Associated Press

Last week, the Coca-Cola Company unveiled an ambitious plan to recycle a bottle or can for every drink it sells by 2030. It is the latest move by the Atlanta-based soda giant to address environmental concerns tied to its production. Will this plan work?

Flickr

Coal ash is a toxic substance. For years it was haphazardly dumped into rivers and ponds. Within the last 10 years or so, there has been a push to clean up the way coal ash is disposed. Georgia Power has vowed to close all its dump ponds. We talk with Chris Bowers, a senior attorney for the Southern Environmental Law Center. We also hear from Jen Hilburn of Altamaha Riverkeeper.

Grant Blankenship

When Hurricane Irma took out the power in Marshallville, Georgia, Monday, it took the water pump behind City Hall with it. 

Since then, the 1,500 or so residents of Marshallville have had no drinking water. Officials with Georgia's Environmental Protection Division said eight South Georgia water systems are under boil advisories with more to come soon. That's where Marshallville Chief of Police Ronald Jackson said the city finds itself now that the power is back on and the water is running.

Talia Crews / flickr

Lead was banned from plumbing decades ago, but as the crisis in Flint, Michigan shows, lead contamination lasts a long time. A new investigation into Georgia’s water systems finds they are not immune from lead contamination. We talked about the story with reporters Andy Miller of Georgia Health News and Brenda Goodman of WebMD.

Grant Blankenship / GPB

 

 

The numbers are in after four months of a six month experiment in promoting coyote hunting in Georgia. The results are mixed.

 

Trappers have turned in 176 coyotes to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources since March in what DNR is calling the Coyote Challenge. Jennifer Wisniewski, communications manager for the DNR Wildlife Resources Division, says that may sound like a lot until you consider what deer hunters do every fall.

 

Updated at 4:30 p.m. ET

Tens of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets Saturday in Washington, D.C., and cities across the globe, for the People's Climate March, demanding action on protecting the environment.

On a sweltering hot day in the nation's capital, protesters made their way down Pennsylvania Avenue chanting, singing and banging drums. Once they reached the White House, some staged a sit-in while others marched past carrying signs and shouting, "Shame, shame, shame."

Jessica Fontana / Georgia Aquarium

Atlanta might be the last place you’d look for endangered penguins, but every morning at the Georgia Aquarium begins with a Waddle Walk. That’s when staff take endangered African penguins out for a walk around the aquarium. GPB intern Olivia Reingold joined them recently to bring us this audio postcard.

Ezra Morris / GPB

State lawmakers passed new regulations for oil pipelines in Georgia on Thursday, the last day of the 2017 legislative session. Environmental groups and the petroleum industry applauded the legislation.

Updated 5:35 p.m. ET

The Trump administration is moving to roll back an environmental rule intended to define which small bodies of water are subject to federal authority under the Clean Water Act.

Grant Blankenship / Telegraph of Macon

There are probably twice as many bears in the center of Georgia as researchers previously thought.

The new number, somewhere between 412 and 458, is based on a new analysis of data collected in a University of Georgia study between 2012 and 2015. That means the ten bears killed in the annual one day Middle Georgia bear season, five females and five males, were more like two percent of the overall population rather than the five percent a similar kill total suggested in 2015. 

Wikimedia Commons

A decades-old battle over Georgia water will be sorted out in Washington, D.C. The U.S. Supreme Court will decide who has rights to supply and use water in a fight between Georgia and Florida. The decision will have a major effect on agriculture in those states. GPB's Sam Whitehead reports on a farmer in Southwest Georgia who has had to do some creative thinking about water conservation.

Stephen Rahn / Flickr

About 38,000 fish were found dead in a 70-mile stretch of the Ogeechee in 2011. It led state regulators to warn against swimming over Memorial Day weekend that year.