Episode Tags: public lands

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.

For more than half a century, the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund has been supporting the purchase of land for public ownership and recreational access. The Appalachian Trail is just one of the beneficiaries. In Colorado, where climate change means less snowmelt and higher temperatures in rivers like the Yampa, residents are determined to do what they can to save the river by cooling it down. Unlike in the past, a young girl’s future role in taking over the family farm in Texas is accepted and welcomed. Scientists study spadefoot toads to learn more about the role of “plasticity” in evolution.