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Fill ‘Er Up … With Grass and Twigs?

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport served as a dramatic backdrop today for an announcement by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack that  delivers $136 million in research and development grants to public and  private sector partners in 22 states. In short, the grants look to make energy for autos and marine and jet crafts from plants. By unlocking that potential—known as bioenergy—Vilsack said a “next-generation of biofuels” would create new economies in rural areas across the United States. Eventually, these regional, renewable energy markets will generate sustainable jobs and decrease America’s dependence on foreign oil. And that future, said Vilsack, is closer than we think.

“This is an opportunity to take woody biomass from our forests to create fuel for jets to fly anywhere in the world,” said Vilsack. “This is a great day for our country. We’re building something new, creating jobs everywhere in the country.” Read more »

U.S. Forest Service Study Finds Climate Change to Affect Future Western Trout

A Trout

A Trout

A study authored by the U.S. Forest Service and other organizations including Trout Unlimited finds that global warming is expected to reduce the distribution of trout in the western U.S. because warmer streams will be less suitable for their growth and survival. Read more »

NRCS Celebrates National Hispanic Heritage Month

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is honoring contributions made by Hispanic Americans to our nation during National Hispanic Heritage Month, an annual commemoration held Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. Each year, this time is set aside to celebrate the history, achievements, culture and contributions of Americans who trace their roots to Spain, Mexico and the Spanish-speaking nations of Central America, South America and the Caribbean.

“Many Backgrounds, Many Stories…One American Spirit” is the theme of this year’s National Hispanic Heritage Month. Jennifer Van Eps, NRCS Visual Information Specialist in Spokane, WA, was awarded first place in the agency’s annual poster contest for her entry and it will serve as NRCS’ official poster for 2011. (The poster is used to raise awareness throughout the agency of National Hispanic Heritage Month, and is not available externally.) Read more »

Rosebud Sioux Nation—Expanding Resource Utilization

I had the honor and pleasure to tour the Rosebud Sioux Nation in South Dakota.  The vast land of the Sicangu Lakota Oyate is rich in natural resources.

Tribal leaders, with support from Sinte Gleska University, demonstrated interest and commitment in further planning and development of these resources in ways that continually improve quality of life, yet are respectful and mindful of their ancestral teachings and cultural traditions. Read more »

Making Rabies History – World Rabies Day, September 28

Today is World Rabies Day. Scientists, public health professionals, veterinarians, wildlife biologists, and others from around the globe will celebrate World Rabies Day by raising awareness about efforts to rid the world of rabies. Rabies is one of the oldest known diseases, yet it remains a significant wildlife management and public health challenge.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is proud to support efforts to eliminate this deadly disease through its Wildlife Services (WS) and Veterinary Services (VS) programs. Read more »

Cooperative Restoration Project Benefits Salmon, Water Quality

Before - Work such as this improves water quality and creates high-quality fish habitat for streams such as Oregon’s Sucker Creek.

Before - Work such as this improves water quality and creates high-quality fish habitat for streams such as Oregon’s Sucker Creek.

Annual construction efforts on a multi-year restoration project to improve water quality and create high-quality fish habitat is currently in progress on the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest in Oregon. Read more »