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Threatened Sea Bird with a Catchy Name

A Marbled Murrelet floats on the sea. (Photo by: Martin Raphael, U.S. Forest Service)

A Marbled Murrelet floats on the sea. (Photo by: Martin Raphael, U.S. Forest Service)

Marbled murrelets are not the background singers in a ‘60s band. Rather, they are a native sea bird species whose population south of Canada is declining.

Like the Pacific Northwest’s iconic northern spotted owl, this small seabird’s nesting habitat may be threatened by the loss of coastal old-growth forests in that region, according to a report co-authored by scientists from the U.S. Forest Service and published in The Condor. Read more »

In Kentucky, a Model for Relevance

Lincoln Manufacturing USA, LLC employee, Jeff Burkett, explains product details to Kentucky State Director Tom Fern, RBS Administrator Lillian Salerno, and RBS program director in Kentucky, Jeff Jones. USDA photos.

Lincoln Manufacturing USA, LLC employee, Jeff Burkett, explains product details to Kentucky State Director Tom Fern, RBS Administrator Lillian Salerno, and RBS program director in Kentucky, Jeff Jones. USDA photos.

Kentucky is well-known for its “bluegrass” lands, horses, bountiful agriculture and mountainous hills in the Appalachian region of America. A region historically challenged economically. But today, it is a region on the cusp of new economic opportunity. I recently saw first-hand how the region’s collaborative approach to economic development is unleashing a blazoned entrepreneurial spirit that serves as a model for re-establishing the relevance of rural America to our global economy. Read more »

When a Tree is More than Just Pretty

In addition to improving the look and feel of a neighborhood, trees help lower energy costs, conserve landscape water use, reduce storm-water runoff and store carbon. (Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station photo).

In addition to improving the look and feel of a neighborhood, trees help lower energy costs, conserve landscape water use, reduce storm-water runoff and store carbon. (Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station photo).

Many people like to add trees to their landscaping to enhance the design of a well-planned yard.

But, it can mean so much more.

Planting trees on your property can lower energy costs and increase carbon storage, reducing your carbon footprint while making your home the show-stopper of the neighborhood. Read more »

Sustainability Is More Attainable with High Tunnel Initiative

Fresh produce like the zucchini and kohlrabi pictured above are sold weekly at the Athens Farmers Market.

Fresh produce like the radishes pictured above are sold weekly at the Athens Farmers Market.

High tunnels are hitting the mark for farmers who sell their produce at the Athens Farmers Market. In the past, the market operated once a week on Saturday mornings between April and October. But now, because some northeast Georgia growers are using the tunnels to extend their growing seasons, the market is open twice a week, from April until mid-December—a full eight months! Read more »

Crisis in the Citrus Groves

Washington navel oranges growing in a Florida citrus grove.  Photo courtesy of ARS.

Washington navel oranges growing in a Florida citrus grove. Photo courtesy of ARS.

This post is part of the Science Tuesday feature series on the USDA blog. Check back each week as we showcase stories and news from USDA’s rich science and research profile.

Kermit the Frog often reminded us that “It’s not easy being green”—but in Florida’s citrus groves, being green isn’t just difficult, it’s downright disastrous. Read more »

Norfolk, Nebraska Area Habitat for Humanity and USDA Partner to Provide Affordable Housing

Donald Parkos on porch of his new home, funded in part through USDA.

Donald Parkos on porch of his new home, funded in part through USDA.

The Norfolk, Nebraska Area Habitat for Humanity (NAHFH) wanted to expand the impact of its home construction program, and get a more immediate return on investment so it could help the greatest number of people in need. USDA Rural Development was the agency NAHFH felt was best met that need. Read more »