States: Rhode Island

Episode 405
State(s): Rhode Island

With river herring numbers declining due to trawler bycatch, volunteers in Rhode Island use buckets to lift thousands of spawning herring beyond dams on the Saugatucket River.

Herring Lift: Every spring, on the Saugatucket River in Rhode Island, tens of thousands of river herring try to swim upriver from the Atlantic to spawn, facing dams on the river that block their way. Many fish find it too exhausting to use fish ladders on the dams, and they give up their struggle. But happily there are people who volunteer to help the fish on their journey, using buckets in an effort called a “fish lift” to get the herring over the dams.

Biofuel Start-ups: We look at the new frontier in renewable sources of energy – sources grown as agricultural crops. New biofuel enterprises based on switchgrass, corn stover and wood waste are still in the start-up stage, trying to develop their technologies, scale up their production, and secure a market for their ethanol product with some controversial government support.

Fabulous Filtering Fungi: On a small island off Washington’s coast, high school students create
barriers with oil-absorbing mushrooms to filter stormwater runoff that drains into the ocean.

Prickly Pear Cactus for Clean Water: Our Science Nation report takes us to a lab where researchers are testing a Mexican folk recipe: using the “goo” inside prickly pear cactus to purify water contaminated by chemicals or oil spills.