Segment 201

Critical Colorado, Checkups for Manatees, Appalachian Forests

State(s) featured in this episode: Arizona/ Colorado/ New Mexico

The Colorado River brings drinking water, irrigation, recreation and livelihood to millions of people in the West. But it’s clear now that there’s not an unlimited supply of this precious resource. Business owners on and near the river are working to make sure their neighbors, and policy makers in Washington, get a complete picture of how critical this river is. Traveling through Arizona and northern Mexico, Bruce Burkhardt shows us there’s a lot that needs to be done to protect these waters now and for the future.

Different hikers get different inspiration from the Cherokee National Forest in Tennessee. An artist takes photos that she will later paint; a woodworker studies how trees grow to get ideas for the furniture he builds; and a retired Marine gives back to his community by clearing fallen limbs from the trail. They all support a Congressional designation of this beautiful area as wilderness, so it will be preserved from development for future generations. From the amphibians to the wildflowers to the fishes—the array of diversity in the southern Appalachian forest is just astounding!

Shy, smart, curious and vulnerable: Manatees are slow-moving marine mammals that have not had it easy in recent decades. Diseases and red tide, but mostly strikes from boats and propellers, have killed and injured hundreds of them. Both Florida and federal authorities are stepping up protection of manatees, especially in their winter sanctuaries on the state’s west coast. Veterinarians and volunteers conduct physicals on these gentle giants to gauge their health and long- term outlook. Our host Caroline Raville swims with some manatees to bring us the story!

Removing a dam can cause big changes to a community, and to the environment. Before cities make the decision to take down a dam that’s either deteriorating or no longer needed, they must be prepared. Researchers at Dartmouth College use sophisticated tools to study river systems to help predict what will happen when the dam is gone. It’s all about “shoring up” what we know about how rivers flow, in order to make smart choices when it is time for a dam to come down.

Related Segments

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

State(s) featured in this episode: Colorado

In Colorado, where climate change means less snowmelt and higher temperatures in rivers like the Yampa, residents are determined to do what they can to save the river by cooling it down.

State(s) featured in this episode: Colorado

Stricken by low flows and warming water that is lethal to trout, Colorado’s Yampa River suffers from climate change. Volunteers plant trees on its banks to provide cooling shade.

State(s) featured in this episode: Colorado
Segment 806

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.

State(s) featured in this episode: Colorado
Segment 805

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.

State(s) featured in this episode: Colorado
Segment 805

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.

State(s) featured in this episode: Arizona /  New Mexico
Segment 802

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

State(s) featured in this episode: Arizona
Segment 806

On the Continental Divide in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, residents support a plan to create new wilderness and wildlife conservation areas, including the nation’s first national historic landscape to honor veterans of the Second World War. In southern Utah, the remote and untamed Escalante River faces a major threat from invasive plants as it winds through spectacular redrock canyons; volunteers chop their way through choking stands of Russian olive to unblock the river and keep it wild and free. A training program in Georgia educates teachers in a new approach to science teaching called 3-D Science – getting teachers and students outside to observe their own surroundings and letting kids’ natural curiosity lead them to learn more.

State(s) featured in this episode: Colorado /  Georgia /  Utah
Segment 805

Where the Colorado River approaches the Sea of Cortez, a new agreement between the U.S. and Mexico shares the river’s water during times of drought and surplus and dedicates water to the environment, restoring flows and habitat along the river and at the Delta. Conservationists are working hard to re-plant forests and promote wildlife habitat to revive the Delta after years of neglect and desertification. On the leading edge of agricultural technology, young farmers are using data to minimize costs, improve yield and increase profits; a fourth-generation farmer in Illinois shows how it’s done.

State(s) featured in this episode: Arizona /  California
Segment 802

To protect one of Arizona’s last perennially flowing rivers, conservationists practice smart stewardship to minimize irrigation and clear invasive plants. Taking advantage of open areas in crowded cities, urban farmers are growing healthy foods and making profits. Studying iconic sandstone arches in the Southwest, researchers learn how these formations vibrate and gather data to help understand their architectural health.

State(s) featured in this episode: Arizona /  Utah