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Reporting from the front lines, This American Land brings you compelling stories on critical issues impacting America’s natural landscapes, waters and wildlife that inform and engage public television audiences nationwide. Watch the trailer

After decades of underfunding, America’s national parks face a backlog of repairs and maintenance now totaling nearly 12 billion dollars.

Farmers in Oklahoma use cover crops and smart pasturing of livestock to reduce use of chemical fertilizers, improve water quality, and increase their bottom line.

After failed conversion to agriculture years ago, flooded farmlands are now being restored to forested wetlands habitat with assistance from a federal program.

In the Colorado Rockies, residents support a Congressional bill creating new wilderness, wildlife conservation areas, and the nation’s first national historic landscape honoring veterans of the Second World War.

In Utah, the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument is threatened by federal cutbacks, becoming an iconic symbol of a law dating back to President Theodore Roosevelt who started the tradition of using it to protect vast American landscapes.

Volunteers in Utah chop their way through choking invasive trees to unblock the remote Escalante River and keep it wild and free.

On the leading edge of agricultural technology, young farmers are using data to minimize costs and improve yields while protecting their soil and water.

A new agreement with Mexico shares the Colorado River by dedicating water to the environment, restoring flows and habitat along the river and at the Delta.

Where the Colorado River approaches the Sea of Cortez, conservationists re-plant forests and promote wildlife habitat to revive the Delta after decades of neglect and desertification.

In Louisiana, a diverse coalition including fishermen, chefs, environmentalists and retailers calls for fair, sustainable sharing of the Gulf of Mexico’s natural resources.

To protect one of Arizona’s last perennially flowing rivers, smart stewardship minimizes irrigation and clears invasive plants.

Taking advantage of open areas in crowded cities like Dallas, urban farmers are growing healthy foods and making profits.

With Louisiana’s coastline sinking and washing away, projects aim to reverse mismanagement that has blocked depositing of sediment at the Mississippi’s mouth.

Under the Magnuson-Stevens Act, commercial fishermen in the Gulf of Mexico use individual fishing quotas to manage red snapper catches sustainably and with far less risk.

Landowners in Pennsylvania are managing their forests to provide better habitat for declining species of songbirds like the golden-winged warbler.

The nation’s most important conservation and recreational access program has protected areas in almost every state and county, but it could soon expire without action by Congress.

Forest plantations in Florida are managed with prescribed fires that benefit wildlife and the owner’s bottom line.

Landowners in Pennsylvania work with government support to provide critical forest habitat for threatened bat species.

In a “catch share experience” on the Gulf Coast, a charter boat captain with an individual fishing quota shows recreational anglers how sustainable practices promise more income and safety.

With helpful government support, an Oklahoma couple manages their ranchland landscape to provide an essential stopover for migrating monarch butterflies.

In the Pisgah and Nantahala national forests in western North Carolina, the public is playing a major role in shaping their complex future with a new management
plan.

From recent episodes of THIS AMERICAN LAND, these brief summaries of stories highlight major repair and maintenance issues affecting America’s national parks.

In the upper basin of the Colorado River, water managers in western Colorado collaborate with landowners to develop innovative, more efficient systems to conserve water and restore flows to rivers.

Rafting and fishing in the Rio Grande Del Norte National Monument, curious journalists learn the truth about monuments that protect national treasures and a wide range of public uses.

With new water rights and a major irrigation project under construction, Arizona’s Gila River Indian Community is reviving an agricultural heritage that sustained them for centuries before white settlers arrived.

To avoid contributing to the “Dead Zone” far downstream in the Gulf, this Iowa farmer manages his land to keep nutrients in the soil and prevent polluting runoff.

Farmers are learning how changes to cropland management can make a big difference for the survival of bobwhite quail, pollinators and other wild species.

Under the power of the Antiquities Act, President Obama designated Bears Ears National Monument in Utah, protecting tens of thousands of cultural sites amid breathtaking landscapes. Watch our report from several years ago presenting the case for preserving this very special place.

Residents in this Colorado county know it’s a unique region because of its wild and scenic lands that deserve more federal protection as wilderness and recreation areas.

A wide coalition of local groups in Idaho support wilderness protection for this remote and stunning roadless landscape covering 88,000 acres.

With native grasses replaced by exotics for cattle pastures, quail and other wildlife have lost vital habitat that conservationists are trying to restore.

Wild and clear rivers, a rugged landscape, and one of the rarest plants on earth drive conservationists in Oregon to call for protection against looming mining threats.

Virginians have a plan to create protected wilderness and scenic areas that allow for abundant recreation on their beloved Shenandoah Mountain.

Taking the long view, private landowners in Arkansas manage their forests to supply a growing market for sustainable wood products.

In the largest remaining expanses of quail habitat in North America, ranchers and conservationists work together to manage cattle pastures to provide essential wildlife habitat, especially for declining quail populations.

Mountain ranges in southern Arizona offer natural wonders for rock climbers and cave explorers, and an unimpeded landscape essential for the Army’s Fort Huachuca.

With bobwhite quail declining across its range, conservationists restore and manage critical pine savanna habitat for quail and other wildlife.

On the Gulf Coast in Texas and Louisiana, a wildlife-rich wetland and vital industries are threatened by creeping erosion and tidewater flooding.

Local residents support a bill in Congress to designate new wilderness areas and wild & scenic rivers to ensure permanent protection of treasured public lands in the vast Los Padres National Forest.

Communities in northern New Mexico press their case for expanding the Pecos Wilderness to protect a watershed vital to a broad landscape reaching into southern Texas.

No longer an agency focused mainly on livestock and mining, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management has evolved and assumed a greater responsibility for conservation and protection of public lands for a wider range of interests.

In New York Harbor, high school students run a long-term project to restore the historically rich oyster reefs that were destroyed long ago by over-fishing and pollution.

In northern Montana, former adversaries join together in a diverse coalition to support a new management plan and more wilderness for a spectacular stretch of mountains.

Development, invasive species and fire are degrading Western sagebrush habitat that is critical for the greater sage-grouse and other wildlife.

On the Pennsylvania-West Virginia border, homeowners’ lives are changed by toxic coal ash pollution from a power plant (produced with Earthjustice).

By presidential order, oil and gas drilling no longer threatens this incredibly rich fishery in Southwest Alaska.

Against all odds, residents took their case to the highest state court, and they won (produced with Earthjustice).

Join a rafting expedition down the Etivluk River into the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska – a misleading name for the vast, unspoiled Western Arctic wilderness that provides critical habitat for native wildlife and migratory birds.

After an industrial-scale hog farm is built close to the Buffalo National River in Arkansas, local residents are alarmed by the serious threat of pollution.

During half a century, the Wilderness Act has achieved remarkable results, and is still a critical law for conservation.

A pulp mill in Georgia has discharged effluent into a mighty river for decades, and critics accuse both the company and state authorities of neglect.

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.

As climate change melts sea ice and opens the Arctic Ocean to more shipping
and oil exploration, marine mammals and native people in small boats are at risk.

Port Arthur, Texas, terminus point for Keystone XL crude, is also the home of Hilton Kelley, a local activist with plenty to say about life in the shadow of big oil.

Young Native Alaskans in a remote settlement are determined to use solar and wind power to reduce their reliance on expensive fossil fuels.

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.

A richly diverse spawning aggregation site, Puerto Rico’s Bajo de Sico deserves increased protection for endangered fish and fragile coral reefs.

Local citizens support a bill in Congress to protect spectacular wilderness and rivers on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula.

New ventures blaze the trail to energy independence and clean, renewable fuel sources.

New technology could lead to an advanced biofuel from algae with a boost from corn ethanol.

Carved by the Owyhee River and spreading across millions of acres, these rugged canyons now face growing threats to their wild treasures.

At the mouth of the Columbia River, researchers study sardines, anchovies and other small forage fish that sustain a healthy ocean, providing essential food for seabirds, marine mammals and predator fish including salmon and tuna.

Farmers in Iowa are harvesting corn stover – stalks, leaves, husks and cobs – as biomass for production of cellulosic ethanol.

A grass-roots collaboration of water officials, hikers, mountain bikers, hunters, fishermen and others initiated the drafting of a bill in Congress to establish protection for the 108,000-acre Hermosa Creek Watershed north of Durango, preserving some historic uses in most areas while designating 38,000 acres of wilderness and a 43,000-acre roadless area.

While the need for continued listing under the Endangered Species Act is still debated, grizzly bears have multiplied under federal protection since 1975, re-occupying areas where they had been absent for decades.

Older hikers have an alternative to carrying heavy backpacks: an outfitter providing sturdy, affable llamas loaded with chairs, tables, wine and other luxuries that allow full enjoyment of wilderness treks without aches and pains.

The federal government shelved plans to auction leases for oil and gas drilling in the North Fork Valley after local residents came out overwhelmingly against it as a threat to their new economy rooted in tourism, wineries and organic produce.

Rich deposits of oil shale in Garfield County yield huge amounts of natural gas and oil for energy companies, but local residents are pushing back against intrusive air and water pollution, noise and traffic.

White nose fungus is likely to be the worst wildlife disaster of our time, and researchers in Tennessee hope that a human-built cave can attract enough hibernating bats to slow the spread of the infection.

In an Oregon high school, students design and develop strips of land with plants that filter silt, oil and grime out of the runoff from the school’s parking lot; it’s hands-on learning about pollution, watershed management and environmental impacts.

Supporters say the monument would be a job-creating natural asset, protecting the headwaters of six regional waterways – including thousands of acres of wild terrain with some of the best hunting and trout fishing in Appalachia.

In Kansas and Delaware, NRCS advisers assist farmers with measures to improve their productivity and protect habitats for threatened wildlife.

Off the coast of San Diego, marine biologists test an experimental device for increasing the survival rate of bottom-dwelling fish that are released at the surface as bycatch but are traumatized by changes in water pressure.

In the southeastern corner of the state, the Brokeoff Mountains are a little-known stretch of rugged canyons and peaks that are still relatively untouched by development.

The proposal for a national conservation area would preserve Cedar Mesa and adjacent areas that are filled with some of America’s oldest archaeological treasures that need urgent protection.

Unlike most wilderness areas that are remote and hard to access, the San Gabriel Mountains are within easy reach of the L.A. urban sprawl, forming the centerpiece of an imaginative plan for a 600,000-acre national recreation area.

In Iowa and Tennessee, researchers and farmers are on the front lines of the biofuel revolution where switchgrass, sourgum and miscanthus are grown specifically as renewable fuel sources.

High school students in Kanab learn the importance of protecting vanishing native plants and tackling invasive species. Harvesting native seeds, sprouting them in a greenhouse and transplanting them in acre-sized test plots, they track the plants’ progress with GPS technology.

Farmers and ranchers work with NRCS advisers to find ways to conserve the Ogallala Aquifer, a vast expanse of prehistoric water now threatened by overuse.

In the dry, harsh landscape between Las Vegas and Reno, most people have seen only wasteland with a few gold and silver mines. More Nevadans now see the sustainable value of these lands as protected wilderness and destinations for outdoor recreation.

Students in the Sierras in California help to restore threatened Lahontan cutthroat trout by raising the fish from eggs and releasing them in an approved stream.

Melting snow from the Sierras in California generates $400 billion in economic activities, supports four million acres of farmland, and supplies drinking water for more than 23 million people. NRCS advisers assist farmers and ranchers with techniques to conserve water and preserve its quality downstream from the mountains to the coast.

Repairing National Parks

After decades of underfunding, America’s national parks face a backlog of repairs and maintenance now totaling nearly 12 billion dollars.

Clean water from farmlands

Farmers in Oklahoma use cover crops and smart pasturing of livestock to reduce use of chemical fertilizers, improve water quality, and increase their bottom line.

Reforesting Mississippi Wetlands

After failed conversion to agriculture years ago, flooded farmlands are now being restored to forested wetlands habitat with assistance from a federal program.

Protecting the Continental Divide

In the Colorado Rockies, residents support a Congressional bill creating new wilderness, wildlife conservation areas, and the nation’s first national historic landscape honoring veterans of the Second World War.

Testing The Antiquities Act

In Utah, the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument is threatened by federal cutbacks, becoming an iconic symbol of a law dating back to President Theodore Roosevelt who started the tradition of using it to protect vast American landscapes.

Freeing the Escalante River

Volunteers in Utah chop their way through choking invasive trees to unblock the remote Escalante River and keep it wild and free.

Data-driven farming

On the leading edge of agricultural technology, young farmers are using data to minimize costs and improve yields while protecting their soil and water.

Delta revival: just add water!

A new agreement with Mexico shares the Colorado River by dedicating water to the environment, restoring flows and habitat along the river and at the Delta.

Dawn of a new Delta

Where the Colorado River approaches the Sea of Cortez, conservationists re-plant forests and promote wildlife habitat to revive the Delta after decades of neglect and desertification.

Sharing the Gulf

In Louisiana, a diverse coalition including fishermen, chefs, environmentalists and retailers calls for fair, sustainable sharing of the Gulf of Mexico’s natural resources.

Saving a desert river

To protect one of Arizona’s last perennially flowing rivers, smart stewardship minimizes irrigation and clears invasive plants.

Urban farms

Taking advantage of open areas in crowded cities like Dallas, urban farmers are growing healthy foods and making profits.

Restoring Louisiana’s coast

With Louisiana’s coastline sinking and washing away, projects aim to reverse mismanagement that has blocked depositing of sediment at the Mississippi’s mouth.

Fishing quotas in the Gulf

Under the Magnuson-Stevens Act, commercial fishermen in the Gulf of Mexico use individual fishing quotas to manage red snapper catches sustainably and with far less risk.

Forest habitat for birds

Landowners in Pennsylvania are managing their forests to provide better habitat for declining species of songbirds like the golden-winged warbler.

Saving the Land and Water Conservation Fund

The nation’s most important conservation and recreational access program has protected areas in almost every state and county, but it could soon expire without action by Congress.

The value of fire

Forest plantations in Florida are managed with prescribed fires that benefit wildlife and the owner’s bottom line.

Better bat habitat

Landowners in Pennsylvania work with government support to provide critical forest habitat for threatened bat species.

Sustaining the red snapper

In a “catch share experience” on the Gulf Coast, a charter boat captain with an individual fishing quota shows recreational anglers how sustainable practices promise more income and safety.

Restoring monarch habitat

With helpful government support, an Oklahoma couple manages their ranchland landscape to provide an essential stopover for migrating monarch butterflies.

Revising forest plans

In the Pisgah and Nantahala national forests in western North Carolina, the public is playing a major role in shaping their complex future with a new management plan.

Maintaining America’s national parks

From recent episodes of THIS AMERICAN LAND, these brief summaries of stories highlight major repair and maintenance issues affecting America’s national parks.

Balance in the Gunnison basin

In the upper basin of the Colorado River, water managers in western Colorado collaborate with landowners to develop innovative, more efficient systems to conserve water and restore flows to rivers.

Monumental Beauty

Rafting and fishing in the Rio Grande Del Norte National Monument, curious journalists learn the truth about monuments that protect national treasures and a wide range of public uses.

Restoring a river

With new water rights and a major irrigation project under construction, Arizona’s Gila River Indian Community is reviving an agricultural heritage that sustained them for centuries before white settlers arrived.

Healthy farms, cleaner water

To avoid contributing to the “Dead Zone” far downstream in the Gulf, this Iowa farmer manages his land to keep nutrients in the soil and prevent polluting runoff.

Bobwhites on the brink: Kansas croplands

Farmers are learning how changes to cropland management can make a big difference for the survival of bobwhite quail, pollinators and other wild species.

Gunnison grandeur

Residents in this Colorado county know it’s a unique region because of its wild and scenic lands that deserve more federal protection as wilderness and recreation areas.

Bears Ears

Under the power of the Antiquities Act, President Obama designated Bears Ears National Monument in Utah, protecting tens of thousands of cultural sites amid breathtaking landscapes. Watch our report from several years ago presenting the case for preserving this very special place.

Scenic Scotchman Peaks

A wide coalition of local groups in Idaho support wilderness protection for this remote and stunning roadless landscape covering 88,000 acres.

This American Land Podcast

Ep. 04: Big Bad Wolves with Carter Niemeyer

Host Gary Strieker talks with wolf specialist Carter Niemeyer about the history of wolf eradication, the re-introduction of wolves to Yellowstone National Park, the continuing campaign by some ranchers and politicians to limit the spread of wolves to wider ranges, and the outlook for wolves in the West and the Great Lakes region.

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NBC News Segments

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The federal Land and Water Conservation Fund has been essential in supporting the purchase of land for public ownership and recreation across the country. Congress let the Fund expire last year, then reauthorized it this year, and conservationists are now hoping that money will be authorized for the Fund to continue to protect natural treasures like Cape Romain in South Carolina. Gary Strieker reports.

For more than half a century, the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund has supported the purchase of land for public ownership and recreational access, and conservationists are now pushing Congress to give it the money it needs to do its job. Gary Strieker has the story.

In Colorado, with fast population growth in the Denver area and fierce competition for water, investors are behind a plan to import water from a mountain valley hundreds of miles away, a plan opposed by farmers and ranchers who depend on water in that valley. Gary Strieker reports. 

Across the country, many species of songbirds are declining in numbers because their habitat is disappearing. But in Pennsylvania, owners of forest lands are learning how to manage their properties to provide the habitat the birds need.

For more than half a century, the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund has been supporting the purchase of land for public ownership and recreational access. Gary Strieker explains why continuing the fund is so vital.

National Parks across the country are filled with visitors, and many parks are badly in need of maintenance and repairs–conditions that can’t be fixed without funding from Congress. Gary Strieker reports.

During summer months, millions of vacationers head to America’s National Parks, likely unaware of a serious problem affecting the parks–delayed repairs and maintenance that rangers are struggling to manage without the support they need from Congress. Gary Strieker reports.

National Parks across the country are welcoming record numbers of tourists, while their managers and park rangers are trying to cope with needed repairs and maintenance without the needed funds to pay for it. Gary Strieker has this report.

Across the country, farmers are trying new methods to prevent fertilizer nutrients from running off their land and contaminating water supplies. Gary Strieker reports from Ohio.

In the dry American Southwest, the supply of water has always been a contentious issue. In Arizona, a Native American tribe that once prospered before settlers arrived now has a bigger share of water and a new irrigation system that promises a brighter future.

In cities across the country, open spaces are being converted to urban farms, providing fresh produce to people who’ve never had easy access to it. From Dallas, Gary Strieker reports on one of them.

The notorious prison on California’s Alcatraz Island attracts a million and a half visitors a year to see it’s eerie cellblocks. As Gary Strieker reports, it is one of many national parks benefitting from an innovative program to make long-needed repairs.

In the Gulf of Mexico, the red snapper is a prized fish for anglers. Strict limits on fishing have allowed the snapper population to flourish, but not without complaints by some fishermen that they’re not getting their fair share.

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