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Helicopters and Bird Strikes; Results from First Analysis Available Online

Bird strikes to civil and military helicopters resulted in 61 human injuries and 11 lost lives since 1990. As with fixed-winged aircraft, bird strikes to helicopters are costly.  Available data showed the average cost of a damaging strike to military helicopters ranged from $12,184 to $337,281 per incident, and APHIS-Wildlife Services (WS) wants to address this problem.

More than a dozen stakeholders representing both civil and military aviation groups, safety and regulatory agencies, and wildlife specialists turned out for the May 15th USDA-APHIS stakeholders meeting to hear results from the first scientific analysis of bird-strike hazards to helicopters. Read more »

Community Cooperative Market Provides Alaskans with Fresh, Local Food

A new Co-op Market and Deli, centrally located in a former Fairbanks grocery store, is open for business with support from USDA and the Golden Valley Electric Association. Photos by Jane Gibson, USDA.

A new Co-op Market and Deli, centrally located in a former Fairbanks grocery store, is open for business with support from USDA and the Golden Valley Electric Association. Photos by Jane Gibson, USDA.

Alaska’s first member-owned community grocery store is open for business. The Fairbanks Community Cooperative Market was partially funded by the USDA Rural Economic Development Loans and Grants (REDLG) program.

Making this project possible was the Golden Valley Electric Association (GVEA), a USDA borrower since 1949.  GVEA is the grantee that was awarded a REDLG to fund a revolving loan which was used to help establish the Market. USDA Rural Development Alaska State Director Jim Nordlund traveled to Fairbanks last month to join with community, volunteers and founders in the grand opening of the new Market.   The store has already provided more than 20 new local jobs for residents. Read more »

Bald Eagles Making a Comeback

The banded female “K-02” sits in a tree at Lake Hemet. She was born in captivity at the San Francisco Zoo and hacked at Catalina Islands as part of the bald eagle recovery program. When she left the island, she flew extensively around the pacific states and ultimately landed here at Lake Hemet.

The banded female “K-02” sits in a tree at Lake Hemet. She was born in captivity at the San Francisco Zoo and hacked at Catalina Islands as part of the bald eagle recovery program. When she left the island, she flew extensively around the pacific states and ultimately landed here at Lake Hemet.

Listed as an endangered species in 1967 and ultimately de-listed in 2007, the effort to recover the American Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) on national forests has been a rewarding endeavor for the San Bernardino National Forest.

As the district wildlife biologist for the San Jacinto Ranger District, I’ve been fortunate enough to coordinate with the Lake Hemet Municipal Water District to monitor breeding success and to provide viewing opportunities for the public. Lake Hemet, created in 1891, is now home to a pair of beautiful bald eagles. Read more »

Forest Service Celebrates Bird Migration

The beauty of watching a flock of birds migrating on the wing is a sight many enjoy.  Protecting their habitats to help them on their journeys is part of the work that U.S. Forest Service employees across the nation do every day.

“Forests and grasslands managed by the U.S. Forest Service are critical to maintaining migratory bird populations, but Forest Service involvement goes well beyond the boundaries of Forest Service lands,” said John Sinclair, National Wildlife Program leader. “By working in local, regional and international partnerships, we conserve migratory bird species and their habitats across the Americas.” Read more »

A Treasure to be Remembered: USDA Support Turns a Historic Church into a Museum

Rural communities carry with them a long line of history.  St. John’s Catholic Church in Table Rock, Nebraska was built in 1877 and is one of the oldest churches in Southeast Nebraska.  The church has large murals covering the interior that were painted by a displaced immigrant from Russia in appreciation for refuge in the small community.  He used his artistic talents to create on plain wallboard an illusion of marble walls, pillars, and curtains.  Most striking is the large mural behind the altar.  Some of the original pews and church furniture remain and the Church’s interior is as it was when used for religious services.

The Table Rock Historical Society and Museum, Inc. wanted to preserve the church’s history with the creation of St. John’s Catholic Church Museum where the art and beauty of the church could be admired. Read more »

Apache Youth Grows Food for His Community

Millie Titla, NRCS district conservationist in San Carlos, Ariz., and her nephew Noah Titla work at the San Carlos 4-H Garden Club’s community garden.

Millie Titla, NRCS district conservationist in San Carlos, Ariz., and her nephew Noah Titla work at the San Carlos 4-H Garden Club’s community garden.

An Apache youth, Noah Titla, 13, has chosen to follow in the footsteps of generations of San Carlos Apaches by growing and harvesting his own food. His passion for reconnecting growing food with tribal traditions has been a catalyst for increasing awareness of the benefits and availability of fresh food on the San Carlos Apache Reservation in southeastern Arizona.

Through his hard work at the San Carlos 4-H Garden Club’s community garden, Noah is making a difference in a state included in the USDA’s StrikeForce Initiative for Rural Growth and Opportunity. The initiative addresses high-priority funding and technical assistance needs in rural communities in 16 states, including Arizona, with a special emphasis on historically underserved communities and producers in areas with persistent poverty, such as the San Carlos Apache Reservation. Read more »