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 »
Shade-grown coffee helps protect water quality and coral reefs like this one in Puerto Rico. NOAA photo.
I work for USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, an agency that helps farmers voluntarily implement conservation practices on their lands across the U.S.—including land on my home, Puerto Rico.
I am extremely proud of recent NRCS efforts here to help farmers, ranchers and landowners make significant strides in conserving the Guánica Bay/Rio Loco watershed. This watershed, which is about 100 miles southwest of San Juan, is one of the most diverse and complex in Puerto Rico. Read more »
Steve Barlow standing in the longleaf pine forest that he is restoring.
Levy County, on Florida’s “Nature Coast,” is home to a variety of ecosystems, from dense hardwood forests and marsh lands to sand hills and Gulf Coast waters.
The historic Suwannee River borders the north end of the county, while the meandering Withlacoochee River winds through the southern part. Both eventually drain into the Gulf of Mexico, and runoff from agricultural land ending up in the two rivers can carry soil, pesticides and nutrients to the Gulf. 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 »
L.H. Webb, a rancher in Pampa, Texas, addresses the group at the training on his ranch to explain the management practices he has implemented to benefit the lesser prairie-chicken.
Cattle ranchers in the Texas Panhandle are interested in raising more than just cattle and grass. They also want to raise chickens—lesser prairie-chickens, to be exact!
The lesser prairie-chicken is a ground-nesting bird native to the mixed-grass prairies of the Texas panhandle, Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico and Oklahoma. Lesser prairie-chickens are known for the unique mating dance performed by the colorful males. Read more »
Gopher tortoise laying eggs on freshly cultivated field.
Gopher tortoises are fairly elusive creatures. Usually the only sign you see of them is their burrows or ravaged foliage.
But recently a Mobile, Ala., tortoise allowed Marshall Colburn, a Soil Conservation Technician with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), a rare, up-close-and-personal moment as she laid her eggs in a freshly cultivated field. Read more »