Segment 204

Fiddler Crabs, Disappearing Chincoteague, California Desert, Hurricane Sleuth

State(s) featured in this episode: California/ Virginia

Fiddler Crabs: Between their digging and mating rituals, fiddler crabs can amuse us endlessly! That big, odd claw on the male can be a weapon or an enticement to a female. But these little crustaceans also have a big impact on their environment. From watching them surround their burrows with mud balls, to viewing a parade of thousands of crabs scurrying across the wetlands, scientists are still trying to understand just where these animals fit into the coastal ecosystem.

Disappearing Chincoteague: Virginia’s Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge gets 1.4 million visits a year, making it one of the most popular in the country. The refuge is part of Assateague Island, home of the world famous Chincoteague ponies, and also 300 species of birds. But this tourist destination is changing rapidly. Rising sea levels will likely turn grasslands into marshes, drown the wetlands, and erase parts of the island completely. We’ll show you how the island is preparing for this dramatic change in landscape.

California Desert: The rugged desert around Death Valley, California is teeming with life. But you need the proper guide to make sure you see it all. 75 year-old Tom Budlong knows this wild place better than just about anyone. And he wants to protect the junipers, the Joshua trees, and the piñon trees from mining and other development. Nearby, date farmer Brian Brown helps eco-tourists learn more about the rich history of the land. They are working with many others to protect this stark but dynamic ecosystem.

Hurricane Sleuth: Not all hurricane hunters need to stand out in a storm to understand these powerful weather events. Geologists are taking a look back, using core samples to study deposits that were washed in during hurricanes. These archives from Mother Nature can paint a picture of the drama that took place hundreds of years ago. Researchers are also exploring the link between climate change and hurricanes—to help determine whether warmer oceans will mean tropical storms will get more intense.

Related Segments

Segment 904

California’s largest lake is shrinking and migratory birds are disappearing as its water is now too salty for fish — an environmental disaster and a health hazard for humans. In Iowa, activists use faith to mobilize farmers in a movement to adopt new measures like perennial crops to sequester carbon in their soils, and to get paid for doing it. Landowners in Pennsylvania are managing their forests to provide better habitat for declining species of songbirds like the golden-winged warbler.

State(s) featured in this episode: California /  Iowa /  Pennsylvania
Segment 904

California’s largest lake is shrinking and migratory birds are disappearing as its water is now too salty for fish — an environmental disaster and a health hazard for humans.

State(s) featured in this episode: California
Segment 901

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. A mother’s tasks in a Texas farm family shows how the role of women in agriculture is now vitally important in managing the business of farming and using best practices to conserve soil and water.

Another good example of how the Land and Water Conservation Fund enables protection of iconic landscapes nationwide: the Blue Ridge Parkway stretching 469 miles through breathtaking scenery from Virginia to North Carolina. Researchers explore the role of tiny marine animals in the movement of ocean waters.

State(s) featured in this episode: Colorado /  North Carolina /  Texas /  Virginia
Segment 901

Another good example of how the Land And Water Conservation Fund enables protection of iconic landscapes nationwide: the Blue Ridge Parkway stretching 469 miles through breathtaking scenery from Virginia to North Carolina.

State(s) featured in this episode: North Carolina /  Virginia
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 704

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

State(s) featured in this episode: Arizona /  California /  New Mexico /  Pennsylvania /  Washington D.C.
Segment 705

With new water rights and a major irrigation project under construction, the Gila River Indian Community in Arizona is gearing up for a revival of an agricultural heritage that sustained them for centuries before white settlers arrived. Public-private partnerships in national parks are saving taxpayers money while supporting critical services, maintenance and repairs. With individual fishing quotas for red snapper, charter boat captains on the Gulf Coast adopt new sustainable practices that provide them with more income and safety.

State(s) featured in this episode: Arizona /  California /  Louisiana /  Mississippi /  Texas
Segment 704

A farmer in southwestern Iowa has a mission to develop his farm as an example to others, using no-till seeding, multi-crop and pasture rotation, minimal fertilizing, and runoff filtering to keep the nutrients in his soil and prevent runoff. The backlog of deferred maintenance in national parks is a growing problem that needs Congress to act: we see the need for urgent maintenance and repairs at the Grand Canyon, the National Mall, and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Historic Site in Atlanta. Rafting down the river through the Rio Grande Del Norte National Monument.

State(s) featured in this episode: Arizona /  California /  Georgia /  Iowa /  New Mexico /  Washington D.C.
Segment 702

In Wyoming, there’s wide support for protecting wilderness study areas offering a wide range of recreational opportunities and stunning landscapes. Residents in Norfolk, Virginia, use education and innovation to defend their neighborhoods from rising sea levels. In the Pisgah-Nantahala National Forest in western North Carolina, the public is playing a major role in shaping the complex future of the forest. Researchers in Idaho study the difficult lives of pygmy rabbits, providing insights to managing and saving threatened sagebrush landscapes in the West.

State(s) featured in this episode: Idaho /  Virginia /  Wyoming
Segment 602

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

State(s) featured in this episode: Virginia