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.
On a rafting adventure down the Etivluk River in Alaska’s National Petroleum Reserve, a group of conservationists see first-hand why this immense landscape deserves protection as wilderness, despite its misleading name. Development, invasive species and fire are degrading Western sagebrush habitat that is critical for the greater sage-grouse and other wildlife. A coal-fired power plant Nevada produces coal ash that blows across the Moapa Indian Reservation, causing sickness and misery for the people who live there (co-produced with Earthjustice). To assist in conserving the vast range of California’s mountain lions, researchers use biology and computer science to better understand the movements of the majestic cats, resulting in benefits for humans as well.
In the dry, harsh landscape between Las Vegas and Reno, most people have seen only wasteland with a few gold and silver mines. More Nevadans now see the sustainable value of these lands as protected wilderness and destinations for outdoor recreation.
Saving precious Sierra water
Melting snow from the Sierras in California generates $400 billion in economic activities, supports four million acres of farmland, and supplies drinking water for more than 23 million people. NRCS advisers assist farmers and ranchers with techniques to conserve water and preserve its quality downstream from the mountains to the coast
New appreciation for central Nevada wilderness
In the dry, harsh landscape between Las Vegas and Reno, most people have seen only wasteland with a few gold and silver mines. More Nevadans now see the sustainable value of these lands as protected wilderness and destinations for outdoor recreation
Uniting to protect a rich watershed in Colorado
A grass-roots collaboration of water officials, hikers, mountain bikers, hunters, fishermen and others initiated the drafting of a bill in Congress to establish protection for the 108,000-acre Hermosa Creek Watershed north of Durango, preserving some historic uses in most areas while designating 38,000 acres of wilderness and a 43,000-acre roadless area
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.
Some natural sights in Las Vegas will make casinos look just plain dull! Bats get a bad rap in the animal kingdom, but you’ve never seen them like this! And since bats and zombies often go together: “zombie subdivisions” are threatening what were beautiful, wide open spaces in the West. Good guys in Oregon use new technology to fight outlaws committing age-old crimes. The Colorado River serves a lot of needs, and that tug of war is getting critical.