Segment 704

Monumental Beauty

State(s) featured in this episode: New Mexico

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.

Related Segments

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 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.

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 701

Managing irrigation demand in the upper Colorado Basin: collaborating with landowners, water managers in western Colorado are developing innovative, more efficient systems to conserve water and restore flows to rivers. In Oklahoma, removing invasive cedars and reviving essential prairie habitat for migrating monarch butterflies. In White Sands, New Mexico, researchers study lizards to learn how changing habitats influence evolution.

State(s) featured in this episode: Colorado / New Mexico / Oklahoma
Segment 601

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.

State(s) featured in this episode: New Mexico
Segment 601

Managing public lands: the evolution of the Bureau of Land Management and its role in protecting vast areas of federal land across the nation. Saving the bobwhite quail: the first in a series on protecting vital native grassland habitat for a declining species – this story from the pine savannas of South Carolina. Local communities in northern New Mexico press their case for expanding the Pecos Wilderness to protect a watershed essential to a broad landscape stretching into southern Texas. Scientists study how butterflies use an elegantly efficient organ to sip nectar.

State(s) featured in this episode: New Mexico / South Carolina / Texas
Segment 304

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.

State(s) featured in this episode: New Mexico
Segment 304

Navajos in Utah want protection for lost ancestral lands
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

A new way to save sport fishermen’s bycatch
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

More wilderness protection proposed for remote mountains in New Mexico
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

State(s) featured in this episode: California / New Mexico / Utah
Segment 212

Saving the Upper Rio Grande: In northern New Mexico the Rio Grande runs through a spectacular gorge formed by a rift in the Earth’s crust. This river corridor is a critical flyway for migratory birds, and the arid plateau on either side of it is a major migration habitat for elk and deer. A pending bill in Congress would protect these areas as the Rio Grande del Norte National Conservation Area, in addition to designating two majestic cinder cone mountains east and west of the plateau as protected wilderness. The bill has widespread support among local Hispanic farmers and ranchers because it would allow their traditional hunting, grazing, fishing and wood-gathering to continue, preserving the culture that developed there over hundreds of years.

Facing Climate Change with Wind Power: Severe drought has taken a toll on farming and ranching communities in Eastern New Mexico. Residents are trying to adjust for prolonged dry times, and some are finding salvation in wind turbine projects that generate revenue for them as well as power for the Southwest.

Flying Aces of the Insect World: Just how do these insects pull off complex aerial feats, hunting and reproducing in midair? These four- winged insects pre-date dinosaurs, and can fly straight up, straight down, or hover like helicopters. Researchers are getting some inspiration from these insects, to improve small- scale aircraft design.

Peel Watershed: A hundred miles from the Alaska border in Canada’s Yukon Territory, the Peel Watershed is a huge area of wild and pristine rivers, arboreal forests and mountain ranges. Caribou from Alaska migrate to and from the region, but they face threats from a modern day gold rush that also threatens other wildlife including grizzly bears and wolverines. Efforts are underway to protect this land, and these fragile ecosystems. But it looks like a fight is brewing with miners and developers.

Indigo Snakes: Known as the “Lord of the Forest”, the eastern indigo snake is the largest native snake in North America, averaging six to seven feet in length. Endangered and in decline, this nonvenomous reptile is extinct from a third of its former range, the coastal plain of the Southeast. The Orianne Society is using cutting edge science, fire, and longleaf pine restoration to ensure the survival of not only indigo snakes, but an entire complex of animals that inhabit this unique landscape.

State(s) featured in this episode: Alaska / Florida / New Mexico
Segment 201

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.

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