Recently I traveled to New Mexico to meet with APHIS-Wildlife Services’ personnel for a firsthand view of their Feral Swine Removal Demonstration Project that aims to eliminate feral swine from the state. Feral swine are an invasive species with a population that has grown from approximately 1 million in 17 states in the 1980s to more than 5 million across 38 states today. If left unchecked, their numbers could exceed 10 million by 2018. Feral swine carry more than 30 diseases that pose a potential threat to humans, livestock, and wildlife, and the total cost of feral swine damage to U.S. agriculture, livestock facilities, private property, and natural resources is estimated to be $1.5 billion annually.
Wildlife Services’ demonstration project is benefitting from tremendous cooperation with federal, state, tribal, and nongovernmental partners, including the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, New Mexico Department of Agriculture, New Mexico State Land Office, and New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, as well as with the Mescalero Apache Tribe, New Mexico Cattle Growers’ Association, New Mexico Wool Growers’ Association, affected counties and private land owners, among others. Read more »
After nearly a century, a five-mile stretch of the Lower Oak Grove Fork of Oregon’s Clackamas River will have native fish swimming year-round in this restored stream once again.
Early in the 20th century, the growing communities around Portland needed hydroelectric power. The Oak Grove Fork dam, located in the foothills of the Cascade Range some 30 miles east of the city, was one of several in the region built to help fill that need.
Unfortunately, by impounding the steam’s water and diverting it for power generation, the river was denied its natural seasonal rise and fall which hindered the movement and spawning of fish. Read more »
Dennis Sun on Sun Ranch, west of Casper, Wyo., with NRCS intern Meghan McPhaden. Photo credit: Haley Lockwood/NRCS
Dennis Sun, owner of the Sun Ranch west of Casper, Wyo. and publisher/owner of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup, is making his ranch friendlier for a small bird that he can neither sell nor hunt. That’s because he wanted to help ensure that the sage grouse doesn’t get listed as an endangered species.
The sage grouse is a ground-dwelling bird native to the sagebrush ecosystem of the American West. Once numbering 16 million, it has dwindled to as few as 200,000 birds. About 40 percent of all sage grouse are found in Wyoming. Read more »
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 »
Scott County Indiana Muscatatuck River Bottoms, March 5-2007. Photo credit Mark Trabue.
A wetland restoration project completed by USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service in Kentucky has attracted the fancy of a pair of endangered whooping cranes.
In early November, a pair of whooping cranes were discovered on a property in western Kentucky that was recently restoredwith NRCS’ help. The restoration to bottomland hardwood wetlands included tree planting and the creation of shallow water areas for migratory wildlife on nearly 900 acres of former cropland that was put into a conservation easement. Read more »
Ranchers who are protecting the lesser prairie-chicken while improving their operations: Tom Turner (left), Glen Mull, and Amy Harter.
A Kansas family and their neighbor are working with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to increase habitat for the lesser prairie-chicken—while also benefiting their grazing lands.
Glen Mull and his daughter, Amy Harter, collaborate with Tom Turner to co-manage the grassland they own and the grassland he manages next door. Together, the Mulls and Turner have enrolled roughly 3,000 acres in Edwards and Stafford counties in the Lesser Prairie Chicken Initiative. Read more »