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Posts tagged: Appalachia

Restoring Appalachian Soils to Restore the Forests

An American chestnut seedling being planted on the Wayne National Forest in Ohio

An American chestnut seedling being planted on the Wayne National Forest in Ohio. Photo credit: Jared M. Dort, US Forest Service

The land of forest-covered hills, mountain music and coal has a lesson for restoration: healthy forests require healthy soils.

The forests of Appalachia, a region that extends from southern New York to Georgia, are considered to be among the most diverse temperate deciduous forests in the world, with as many as 30 different tree species growing together.  Coal has played an important role in the development of Appalachian culture, but mining for coal has also created a need for restoration in extensive areas of the 13 states that make up the Appalachian region. Read more »

Clearer Air Awaits You in Wilderness Areas Across the Country

A view of the San Gorgonio Wilderness shows what the haziest days looked like in the first and second halves of the last decade. The right side of the image is about 14 percent clearer than the left. (U.S. Forest Service computer-generated graphic/Scott Copeland)

A view of the San Gorgonio Wilderness shows what the haziest days looked like in the first and second halves of the last decade. The right side of the image is about 14 percent clearer than the left. (U.S. Forest Service computer-generated graphic/Scott Copeland)

Visitors to wilderness areas treasure the stunning vistas and pristine scenery. Now there is good news for the millions of people who recreate in these special places: less haze exists in most wilderness areas allowing them to see farther and enjoy more color and texture in the scenery.

“We have even better news,” says Bret Anderson, the Forest Service’s regional haze coordinator. “Further reductions in air pollution are expected to bring even clearer air in coming years.”

All this good news is showcased in a recent series of USDA Forest Service reports showing visibility has improved at 60 of the 86 Class I wilderness areas, which are defined as those area of greater than 6,000 acres. The trends considered five-year averages of the haziest days for each year from 2000 through 2009. Read more »

Conservation Science Training Center in Ohio Constructed with Support from USDA

By Michael Jones, Rural Development Public Affairs Director

On June 8, 2010, Ohio State Rural Development Director Tony Logan joined other funding partners and representatives from The Wilds for a ribbon cutting ceremony, celebrating the official opening of the Conservation Science Training Center (CSTC). Rural Development awarded $30,000 from its Community Facilities Grant Program to help fund the facility’s construction. The CSTC is a 3,600 square foot facility built to further the Wilds’ conservation and educational mission.

The CSTC will provide meeting, classroom, laboratory space and cabins to be used for extended stays by national and international visiting research teams. Constructed directly into a natural hillside, the facility incorporates geothermal heating and cooling, natural lighting, and other green-identified technologies. Nestled on nearly 10,000 acres dedicated to conservation research and education, the Wilds’ current research activities include: prairie biomass and carbon sequestration initiatives, grassland bird research and biodiversity surveys, prairie restoration and more.

Bringing the CSTC on line will expand the ability of The Wilds to provide additional support and opportunities for professors, teachers, students and visitors to investigate the ecological systems and wildlife health in Ohio’s Appalachian region. Funding partners included: the USDA Rural Development, American Electric Power Foundation, the Appalachian Regional Commission, Governor’s Office of Appalachia and Hocking College.

Rural Development State Director Tony Logan (second from left), participates

From left to right: Dr. Roy Palmer, Senior Vice President, Hocking College; Tony Logan, State Director, USDA Rural Development; Dr. Evan Blumer, Executive Director, The Wilds; Robert Powers, President, AEP Utilities; Fred Deel, Director, Governor’s Office of Appalachia.

Appalachian Early Child Development Center Receives Expansion Funds through USDA

For working parents in isolated rural communities, quality child care is a lifeline that allows them an opportunity to obtain employment so they can provide for their families. Read more »

USDA Rural Development celebrates Earth Day in Kentucky with a Tree Planting Ceremony and Funding Announcement for a Wastewater Treatment Plant Upgrade

By Katherine Belcher, USDA Rural Development Public Information Coordinator

Tom Fern, State Director for USDA Rural Development in Kentucky, was in Monticello, Ky., on Thursday to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Earth Day by planting Dogwood trees and announcing with Mayor Kenneth Catron a $7.1 million loan and grant for an upgrade to the city’s wastewater treatment plant.  Funding is provided through USDA Rural Development’s water and environmental program.

The wastewater system improvement project will upgrade the plant to meet Kentucky requirements and also improve the water quality of nearby Elk Spring Creek.

“Earth Day calls on all of us to do our part to create a cleaner, safer environment, and today we celebrate a project that will produce a cleaner, safer wastewater collection system for the residents of Wayne County,” said Fern. “The many upgrades to the wastewater treatment plant will improve residents’ health and wellness and overall quality of life.”

There were many special guests in attendance, including Donna McClure from U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell’s office; Regina Crawford from U.S. Senator Jim Bunning’s office; Lanette Girdler from U.S. Representative Hal Rogers’ office and State Representative Ken Upchurch. Also joining in the festivities were local business and community leaders, bankers, engineers and emergency responders.

“We really appreciate the great working relationship we have with Rural Development and the people of Wayne County are grateful for the many wonderful projects they have made possible in this community,” said Mayor Catron.

Monticello’s wastewater treatment plant serves more than 2,500 customers in rural Wayne County, one of Kentucky’s persistent poverty counties and part of the Appalachian chain.

In Observance of Earth Day, USDA Rural Development staff participated in a tree planting in Monticello, Ky., on Thursday. Those pictured include, from left, Vernon Brown, RD Utilities program director; Robert Dunn, RD Community Programs Specialist; Mayor Kennth Catron; RD State Director Tom Fern; Lanette Girdler from U.S. Representative Hal Rogers’ office; and Barry Turner, RD Loan Specialist.