Segment 202

Wolverines, Desert Wilderness, Military Base Makeover

State(s) featured in this episode: California/ Florida/ Idaho/ Montana/ Nevada/ Oregon/ Washington/ Wyoming

Among the most solitary and elusive mammals in North America, wolverines were wiped out decades ago by fur traders and poison in the lower 48 states. Now these mammals with a ferocious reputation are making a slow comeback, migrating south from Canada. It takes rugged and dedicated scientists—and photographers!—to sneak a peek into their world! See how they are working to understand and preserve the wolverine’s habitat.

For decades U.S. soldiers headed for battle spent weeks in training at Fort Ord, California. Trucks, tanks, grenades and artillery—they spread over this land on the Pacific Coast. When the base was shuttered in the early 1990s the community nearby was devastated economically. But residents, the military and local businesses put their heads together to give a re-birth to these tens of thousands of acres. Now it attracts hikers, mountain bikers, researchers, even young school kids who can share and enjoy this land. Host Bruce Burkhardt takes us on a tour.

What do casino executives, Moapa Paiute Indians and nature photographers have in common? They are all eager to protect an area known as Gold Butte in Nevada. The group “Friends of Gold Butte” is working to add the highest federal protection to the region, by designating it a wilderness. This could help add law enforcement to this huge acreage, to protect ancient cultural sites and prevent vandalism in this stark and beautiful desert.

It’s a detective story that has unfolded in the waters off Key West, Florida. What’s been killing the Elkhorn coral? Biologist Kathryn Sutherland has identified human sewage as the source of the coral-killing pathogen that causes white pox disease. Elkhorn coral was listed for protection as an endangered species in 2006, largely due to white pox disease. Sutherland works with water treatment facilities in south Florida to try to make sure water is cleared of this pathogen before it goes back into the Atlantic.

Related Segments

Segment 807

Under the Magnuson-Stevens Act, commercial fishermen in the Gulf of Mexico use individual fishing quotas to manage red snapper catches sustainably and with far less risk.

State(s) featured in this episode: Florida /  Mississippi /  Texas
Segment 704

The nation’s most important conservation and recreational access program has protected areas in almost every state and county, but it could soon expire without action by Congress.

State(s) featured in this episode: Montana
Segment 703

Forest plantations in Florida are managed with prescribed fires that benefit wildlife and the owner’s bottom line.

State(s) featured in this episode: Florida
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 804

In Montana, conservationists, landowners, business leaders and government officials consider the importance of the most important yet least-known and understood conservation and access program in the U.S. – the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Farmers in Oklahoma use cover crops and smart pasturing of livestock to reduce their use of chemical fertilizers, improve water quality, and increase their bottom line. Researchers are finding useful purposes for recycled urine.

State(s) featured in this episode: Montana /  Oklahoma
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 703

Private landowners in Pennsylvania work with government support to provide critical forest habitat for threatened populations of bats. Along the Meramec River near St. Louis, residents try to break the costly cycle of flooding, cleaning up and re-building by adopting more natural solutions to flood mitigation. Managing forest plantations in Florida, landowners use prescribed fires to reintroduce a natural process that results in healthier ecosystems for wildlife as well as better forest and ranching operations.

State(s) featured in this episode: Florida /  Missouri /  Pennsylvania
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