Segment 401

Tiny fish are a big deal

State(s) featured in this episode: Oregon/Washington

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.

Related Segments

Segment 604

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.

State(s) featured in this episode: Oregon
Segment 605

In northern California, residents in five counties work to protect and restore wild public lands and rivers that provide enormous economic benefits for the region. A summary report recaps how conservationists in 25 states are working together to restore grassland habitat for the bobwhite quail, an iconic game bird that has declined dramatically in recent decades. In Idaho, a wide coalition of local groups support federal wilderness designation for the remote Scotchman Peaks roadless area, one of the last and the largest wild landscape in the region. Scientists face the engineering challenge of harnessing the energy of ocean waves to generate electric power.

State(s) featured in this episode: California / Idaho / Washington
Segment 604

In southern Oregon, a little-known wilderness called Kalmiopsis is a source of clear water for downstream communities and a core for surrounding wildlands that conservationists want to protect from and mining. Changes in cropland management in Kansas can make a big difference for the survival of bobwhite quail and other wild species. Gunnison County in Colorado offers stunning mountain scenery, thriving agriculture, and outdoor recreation – and residents there support more wilderness protection for public lands including wilderness and special management areas. Following lead contamination of the water supply in Flint, Michigan, scientists in North Carolina reveal another dangerous chemical making its way through water pipes to thousands of homes.

State(s) featured in this episode: Colorado / Kansas / North Carolina / Oregon
Segment 405

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.

State(s) featured in this episode: Washington
Segment 401

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

State(s) featured in this episode: Washington
Segment 405

Herring Lift: Every spring, on the Saugatucket River in Rhode Island, tens of thousands of river herring try to swim upriver from the Atlantic to spawn, facing dams on the river that block their way. Many fish find it too exhausting to use fish ladders on the dams, and they give up their struggle. But happily there are people who volunteer to help the fish on their journey, using buckets in an effort called a “fish lift” to get the herring over the dams.

Biofuel Start-ups: We look at the new frontier in renewable sources of energy – sources grown as agricultural crops. New biofuel enterprises based on switchgrass, corn stover and wood waste are still in the start-up stage, trying to develop their technologies, scale up their production, and secure a market for their ethanol product with some controversial government support.

Fabulous Filtering Fungi: 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.

Prickly Pear Cactus for Clean Water: Our Science Nation report takes us to a lab where researchers are testing a Mexican folk recipe: using the “goo” inside prickly pear cactus to purify water contaminated by chemicals or oil spills.

State(s) featured in this episode: Rhode Island / Washington
Segment 402

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

State(s) featured in this episode: Oregon
Segment 402

Owyhee Canyonlands:
Much of Oregon is a desert; and in the dry, remote southeastern corner of the state there’s a wild and captivating canyon landscape carved by the Owyhee River. It’s been described as the largest intact, unprotected stretch of the American West, but it needs more protection from development pressure, including mining. A robust campaign for wilderness designation is making progress.

Sustainable Alaskan Village:
We travel to a remote Alaskan village, Igiugig, where young native Alaskans are adopting new technologies and green ethics to build a healthy, sustainable future while keeping true to their traditions.

Algae Power:
With another report on emerging biofuels, we learn about new advances in converting algae into a wide range of useful products, including oil, growing the algae with by-products from corn ethanol distilleries.

Climbing Fish: Researchers study a type of Goby fish in Hawaii that climbs up steep waterfalls to reach its freshwater spawning areas, an amazing story of adaptation and evolution over time.

State(s) featured in this episode: Alaska / Hawaii / Iowa / Oregon
Segment 401

Tiny Fish: Big Deal:
Researchers on the Oregon coast study the role that forage fish play in the food chain. Sometimes called “bait fish”, sardines, anchovies, smelt and other small fish are vitally important in sustaining larger species – including sea birds, salmon, and marine mammals like sea lions. Humans also catch forage fish, mainly for animal feed, and there’s growing concern that large-scale commercial harvesting of forage fish comes at the expense of other marine life, potentially with catastrophic results.

Wild Olympics: Spectacular Olympic National Park is the centerpiece of the verdant Olympic Peninsula in northwest Washington State, right up against the Canadian border. There’s now a bill in Congress that would add more protection to the forests and watersheds around the park, and we explore why there’s wide support for the proposal among the people living there.

Biofuel from Cornfield Residue: In another report on emerging second-generation biofuels, we travel to Iowa where farmers are discovering there’s growing demand for the residue in their cornfields – stalks, leaves, husks and cobs – left on the ground after the corn is harvested, That residue, called “corn stover”, is biomass that can also be converted into ethanol.

Fire Ants: Everybody wants to eradicate biting, invasive fire ants, but scientists say they can learn a great deal by studying the social structure of these insects. New research shows that the widespread success of fire ants has been assisted when humans disturb natural areas with roads and development.Tiny Fish: Big Deal, Wild Olympics, Biofuel from Cornfield Residue, Fire Ants

State(s) featured in this episode: Florida / Iowa / Oregon / Washington
Segment 302

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.

State(s) featured in this episode: Oregon