Segment 305

Grass for gas: new frontiers in growing biofuels, Backyard wilderness in Los Angeles, Restoring native plants in Utah

State(s) featured in this episode: California/Iowa/Tennessee/Utah

Grass for gas: new frontiers in growing biofuels
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

Backyard wilderness in Los Angeles
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

Restoring native plants in Utah
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

Related Segments

Segment 807

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.

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

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

State(s) featured in this episode: Utah
Segment 807

In Louisiana, a diverse coalition of fishermen, chefs, restaurateurs, environmentalists and retailers have come together to add their voices to the polarized fight for shares in the natural resources of the Gulf Of Mexico. In Utah, the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument has become an iconic symbol of the Antiquities Act that dates back to President Theodore Roosevelt who started a tradition of using it to protect vast American landscapes. In the Lower Mississippi Valley, a federal program funds the creation of wetland reserve easements to convert flooded farmlands back to the original wetland habitats that were unwisely cleared decades ago.

State(s) featured in this episode: Louisiana / Mississippi / Utah
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
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 704

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.

State(s) featured in this episode: Iowa
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.