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 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 905

Protected by federal law, wild horses and burros in the West are breeding out of control on public lands, damaging habitats and competing with wildlife for food and water – a problem that is now a crisis that needs a solution. With new water rights and a major irrigation project under construction, Arizona’s Gila River Indian Community is reviving an agricultural heritage that sustained them for centuries before white settlers arrived. A pilot project in Minnesota for immigrant families shows how small-scale sustainable farming with poultry and perennial crops can provide extra income with little investment of time.

State(s) featured in this episode: Arizona /  Minnesota /  Nevada
Segment 905

Protected by federal law, wild horses and burros in the West are breeding out of control on public lands, damaging habitats and competing with wildlife for food and water – a problem that is now a crisis that needs a solution.

State(s) featured in this episode: Nevada
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.