Segment 702

Wyoming Wilderness, Rising Sea Levels, Managing National Forests

State(s) featured in this episode: Idaho/Virginia/Wyoming

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.

Related Segments

Segment 605

A wide coalition of local groups in Idaho support wilderness protection for this remote and stunning roadless landscape covering 88,000 acres.

State(s) featured in this episode: Idaho
Segment 602

Virginians have a plan to create protected wilderness and scenic areas that allow for abundant recreation on their beloved Shenandoah Mountain.

State(s) featured in this episode: Virginia
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 603

A rugged mountain range in southern Arizona provides a home for a major military base and communities that value the lifestyle and magical beauty of the landscape. Bobwhite quail suffer serious decline in Kentucky, where native grasses have been replaced by exotics for cattle pastures and conservationists try to reverse the damage. Private landowners in Arkansas manage their forests to supply a growing market for sustainable wood products. Once reviled and exterminated, wolves in Yellowstone National Park are now widely recognized as essential to a balanced ecosystem.

State(s) featured in this episode: Arizona / Arkansas / Kentucky / Wyoming
Segment 602

Protecting the Chenier Plain: On the Gulf Coast in Texas and Louisiana, a wildlife-rich wetland and critically important industries are threatened by erosion and tidewater flooding. Cattle and bobwhite quail manage to coexist on grazing lands in south Texas – how does that work? Residents in Virginia have a plan to create protected wilderness and scenic areas in the George Washington National Forest, allowing a variety of recreational activities including mountain biking, hiking and fishing.

State(s) featured in this episode: Louisiana / Texas / Virginia

Protesters and a lawsuit in Idaho divert gigantic tar sands equipment convoys.

State(s) featured in this episode: Idaho
Segment 301

While the need for continued listing under the Endangered Species Act is still debated, grizzly bears have multiplied under federal protection since 1975, re-occupying areas where they had been absent for decades.

State(s) featured in this episode: Wyoming
Segment 301

Critical aquifer underneath the Great Plains
Farmers and ranchers work with NRCS advisers to find ways to conserve the Ogallala Aquifer, a vast expanse of prehistoric water now threatened by overuse

Trout in the classroom
Students in the Sierras in California help to restore threatened Lahontan cutthroat trout by raising the fish from eggs and releasing them in an approved stream

Yellowstone grizzlies achieve dramatic recovery
While the need for continued listing under the Endangered Species Act is still debated, grizzly bears have multiplied under federal protection since 1975, re-occupying areas where they had been absent for decades

State(s) featured in this episode: California / Kansas / Montana / Wyoming
Segment 211

Idaho Wilderness: Its wild residents could fill a volume of some of the most iconic American wildlife: From elk and moose to spawning salmon, mountain goats and sheep to black bears and cougars. Efforts are underway to protect central Idaho’s Boulder-White Clouds Mountains, designating 330,000 acres as wilderness. The proposed federal legislation would both protect these lands, and ensure economic sustainability.

Loggerhead Turtles: These animals make one of the most treacherous journeys of any creatures, without any parental involvement. Human development is making their survival even more dangerous. Sharon Collins of Georgia Public Broadcasting shows us how these amazing reptiles struggle in an epic journey. These large sea turtles are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

Sandfish Lizard: The sandfish is a little lizard that lives in the Sahara Desert. Scientists are fascinated by its slithering moves. It can tuck its limbs close to its body, and literally “swim” through the sand, just like an eel wiggles its way through water. Physicists are studying this little creature, and using it to inspire new robotic moves that could one day help search-and-rescue crews find survivors in piles of rubble, left from disasters like Hurricane Katrina. The little sandfish is teaching us a lot about what it takes to worm through rugged terrain and debris.

Wrangling Water: Cattle are not the only things being rounded up in Florida. Ranchers are also herding water! For years, experts have searched for answers about how to increase water storage in the northern Everglades, and reduce the pollution levels. A pilot program pays ranchers to use their low-lying lands for “environmental services” – namely to store water. Water that’s captured during the June through October wet season can then be slowly released during dry months into the tributaries of Lake Okeechobee.
And it’s proving to be a good thing both for the economy and the environment.

State(s) featured in this episode: Florida / Idaho
Segment 204

Fiddler Crabs: Between their digging and mating rituals, fiddler crabs can amuse us endlessly! That big, odd claw on the male can be a weapon or an enticement to a female. But these little crustaceans also have a big impact on their environment. From watching them surround their burrows with mud balls, to viewing a parade of thousands of crabs scurrying across the wetlands, scientists are still trying to understand just where these animals fit into the coastal ecosystem.

Disappearing Chincoteague: Virginia’s Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge gets 1.4 million visits a year, making it one of the most popular in the country. The refuge is part of Assateague Island, home of the world famous Chincoteague ponies, and also 300 species of birds. But this tourist destination is changing rapidly. Rising sea levels will likely turn grasslands into marshes, drown the wetlands, and erase parts of the island completely. We’ll show you how the island is preparing for this dramatic change in landscape.

California Desert: The rugged desert around Death Valley, California is teeming with life. But you need the proper guide to make sure you see it all. 75 year-old Tom Budlong knows this wild place better than just about anyone. And he wants to protect the junipers, the Joshua trees, and the piñon trees from mining and other development. Nearby, date farmer Brian Brown helps eco-tourists learn more about the rich history of the land. They are working with many others to protect this stark but dynamic ecosystem.

Hurricane Sleuth: Not all hurricane hunters need to stand out in a storm to understand these powerful weather events. Geologists are taking a look back, using core samples to study deposits that were washed in during hurricanes. These archives from Mother Nature can paint a picture of the drama that took place hundreds of years ago. Researchers are also exploring the link between climate change and hurricanes—to help determine whether warmer oceans will mean tropical storms will get more intense.

State(s) featured in this episode: California / Virginia