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Cheers to Butterflies

As the bartender drew pints of Silverspot India Pale Ale for the crush of people in the Pelican Pub and Brewery in Pacific City, Ore., recently, Michelle Dragoo, Siuslaw National Forest wildlife biologist, and Anne Walker, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist, prepared to tell the story of the butterfly that inspired the event. About 50 people grabbed a drink and a snack then settled in to listen.

Beer and endangered butterflies? Generally there’s not much in common there. But in this small western Oregon town they intersect in an interesting manner.

The Oregon silverspot butterfly once flourished in beach communities along the West Coast, but due to habitat loss they are found now in only a handful of protected areas, many of which are within the boundaries of the Siuslaw National Forest. Read more »

A USDA-funded Transfer Station Cuts Costs for the Rosebud Sioux Tribe

The Rosebud Sioux Tribe was exceeding the landfill capacity of handling 20 tons a day of garbage at the central landfill in the Northeast corner of the Rosebud Reservation.  Garbage is hauled from twenty communities on the Reservation that range from 15 miles to 80 miles one way.  Approximately 30 tons of solid waste is generated daily on the Rosebud Reservation.

Recently the Rosebud Sioux Tribe received USDA Water and Environmental loan and grant funds to construct a new transfer station.  The project has made the operation cost effective and improved trash collection for residents on the Reservation.

A central transfer station located closer to where most of the garbage is generated allows the Tribe to minimize trips to the landfill, alleviate wear on equipment, minimize dumpster overflow and illegal dumping, and allow the Tribe to participate in recycling efforts resulting in saving space and extending the life of the landfill.  In addition, the modernization of the transfer station has provided the members of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe efficiencies in managing how the solid waste is handled and disposed of.   What used to take almost 5 days for pick-up now takes 3.5 days, which is a huge labor savings, plus, fuel costs have dropped. Read more »

Endangered Mississippi Frog Finds a New Home

Pony Ranch Pond, a new home for the dusky gopher frog, is monitored by the National Forests in Mississippi and several cooperators. (Western Carolina University photo/ John A. Tupy)

Pony Ranch Pond, a new home for the dusky gopher frog, is monitored by the National Forests in Mississippi and several cooperators. (Western Carolina University photo/ John A. Tupy)

To most people, the sound heard near Pony Ranch Pond could easily be mistaken as snoring. To local conservation professionals, however, it was more like a song, signifying hope and celebrating a small victory for the nearly extinct dusky gopher frog.

In February, National Forests in Mississippi staff, researchers and volunteers discovered and documented six dusky gopher frogs at the De Soto National Forest pond. One frog, a 5-year-old female, had travelled nearly a mile from nearby Glen’s Pond – until then the only known site where the endangered amphibians live and breed. Read more »

ARS Ag Research Counts!

To recognize the contribution that research in agriculture makes in our daily lives, we’re focusing this month’s Science Tuesday blogs on the successes that USDA science agencies have achieved for us all.

If you walk through your home, you’ll see USDA science everywhere. The research we do can be found in many products that you’ve probably never realized.  So, we’re highlighting some of our greatest research achievements because “Ag Research Counts” every day, for every American. In the upcoming days, we’ll feature a trivia contest on Facebook with fun facts from past ‘Science Tuesday’ blogs we’re featuring this month. You can also join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #agresearchcounts. Here are this week’s blogs featuring ARS research that impacts each of us every day: Read more »

A USDA Business Loan Guarantee Helps a North Carolina Company Compete and Hire More Workers

From left to right, Jay Risinger, VantageSouth Bank; Michael Drozd, President and CEO, Wright Foods; Lillian Salerno, Acting Administrator, USDA Rural Development Business-Cooperative Service, USDA Rural Development; Brad Neigel, VantageSouth Bank; Heidi Whitesell, VantageSouth Bank; and David Thigpen, USDA Rural Development. A USDA loan guarantee helped Wright Foods in North Carolina expand, creating 80 jobs. (USDA photo)

From left to right, Jay Risinger, VantageSouth Bank; Michael Drozd, President and CEO, Wright Foods; Lillian Salerno, Acting Administrator, USDA Rural Development Business-Cooperative Service, USDA Rural Development; Brad Neigel, VantageSouth Bank; Heidi Whitesell, VantageSouth Bank; and David Thigpen, USDA Rural Development. A USDA loan guarantee helped Wright Foods in North Carolina expand, creating 80 jobs. (USDA photo)

During these difficult economic times we know that one of the best ways to help aid in the recovery process is to assist businesses that create jobs, and spur growth. In Troy, North Carolina, USDA Rural Development had the opportunity to highlight our successful efforts with a local company Aseptia/Wright Foods.

Lillian Salerno, Acting Administrator for USDA’s Rural Business and Cooperative programs, visited the local business.  Under USDA Rural Development, USDA guaranteed a $5.5 million loan last year for Aseptia to purchase a building, equipment and make building improvements for their first commercial-scale manufacturing facility. Read more »

Looking for a Mother’s Day Gift? Take Her into the Woods

Mother’s Day is just around the corner and most of us have yet to find that “perfect” gift for mom. But don’t panic. Let the U.S. Forest Service help out.

You read that right. The Forest Service wants you to give mom the gift of nature in all its innate perfection. And all you need to do is take her to your nearest national forest or grasslands.

For instance, if you live in Washington State, the Olympic National Forest, with its dramatic mountain range, conjures up images of the European Alps. The beauty doesn’t end there, though. The Olympics’ varied landscape includes lush rain forests, deep canyons, high mountain ridges and ocean beaches. Taking mom on a drive through this incomparable backdrop would be a scenic tour to brighten her day. Read more »