Tom Brown hiking Chasm Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park. Photo credit: Tom Brown
In cycling the Continental Divide in Colorado, you get a vivid picture of where much of our water comes from. During my long bike rides up there, I commonly find snow still melting in June. This snowmelt adds to streamflow that becomes our renewable water supply and my drinking water supply.
The part of rain and snowfall that does not naturally go back into the atmosphere becomes our water supply and it varies greatly across the United States. In the wettest regions, such as New England, precipitation is plentiful and about half of it ends up in streams or replenishes ground water supplies. Read more »
An example of the damage feral swine can have on water quality.
How does the old saying go? That’s right, “Happier than a pig in mud!” Feral swine are no exception to this old farmer’s anecdote. Because they lack sweat glands, wallowing in mud and water is an instinctual behavior necessary for them to maintain a healthy body temperature. Unfortunately this behavior has cascading impacts, not only to water quality in individual streams, ponds, and wetlands, but to entire watersheds and ecosystems.
Excessive feral swine traffic around wallows and water sources causes erosion along stream banks and shorelines. Sounders, or family groups, of feral swine spend large amounts of their day around the wallow, especially in hot weather, which means they leave significant amounts of urine and feces in and around the water. The impacts to water quality go far beyond the immediate wallow site when silt, excrement, and potentially harmful pathogens, are washed down stream. Read more »
Administrator Sam Rikkers tours the lumber yard with CJ Logging Equipment and 3B Timber President, Mark Bourgeois.
Focusing on international markets, renewable energy and a community’s inherent assets, rural businesses find dynamic paths to prosperity. To see this in action, I headed to Boonville, New York.
Mark Bourgeois was born and raised in Boonville and today is President of CJ Logging Equipment and 3B Timber. A stable employer in the region, 3B Timer processes softwood trees on-site into utility poles. 3B Timber utilized Rural Development’s Business & Industry (B&I) loan guarantee to expand their operations. As Mark explained, his company now exports 80% of its poles to Canada, expanding international trade and supporting job creation in the region and state. Read more »
Bertha Etsitty helps 4-H members make traditional blue corn mush during a club activity. Photo by Leah Platero
Nutritional security is defined as “a situation that exists when all people, at all times, have physical, social, and economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.”
Achieving nutritional security in the context of the burgeoning population, climate change, diminishing land and water resources, environmental degradation, and changing incomes and diets will require not just approaches to sustainably producing more food, but also smarter ways of producing food, dealing with food waste, and promoting improved nutritional outcomes. The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) invests in and advances agricultural research, education, and extension and seeks to make transformative discoveries that solve these societal challenges. NIFA’s portfolio of support for nutritional security and sustainable agriculture includes literally thousands of impactful efforts across our nation; below are just a handful that speak to the transformative work transforming lives. For example: Read more »
Eric Luebehusen, agricultural meteorologist for USDA’s Office of Chief Economist and World Agricultural Outlook Board details the creation of the United States Drought Monitor to a White House Water Summit attendee.
Communities across the United States are facing water challenges, impacting millions of lives and costing billions of dollars in damages. Recent events, including record-breaking drought in the West and severe flooding in the Southeast have elevated a national dialogue on the state of our Nation’s water resources and infrastructure.
These challenges are why on March 22, the White House hosted a Water Summit to correspond with the United Nations World Water Day. The meeting raised awareness of water issues and highlighted potential solutions to building a sustainable and secure water future. Following a slate of presentations outlining innovative solutions to water quality and quantity challenges, attendees were invited to review interactive demonstrations of projects including technologies that help communities and businesses manage the challenges of long term drought. Read more »
Students participate in a “Climate Change and the Water Cycle” module exercise. Photo from the Asombro Institute for Science Education home of the Chihuahuan Desert Nature Park
All this month we will be taking a look at what a changing climate means to Agriculture. The ten regional USDA Climate Hubs were established to synthesize and translate climate science and research into easily understood products and tools that land managers can use to make climate-informed decisions. The Hubs work at the regional level with an extensive network of trusted USDA agency partners, technical service providers, University collaborators, and private sector advisers to ensure they have the information they need to respond to producers that are dealing with the effects of a variable climate. USDA’s Climate Hubs are part of our broad commitment to developing the next generation of climate solutions, so that our agricultural leaders have the modern technologies and tools they need to adapt and succeed in the face of a changing climate.
USDA has created a curriculum for teaching today’s students about climate change and educating tomorrow’s farmers, ranchers, and decision makers. The Department’s Southwest Regional Climate Hub has partnered with the Asombro Institute for Science education to build “Climate Change and the Water Cycle,” a scientifically rigorous education unit for 6th -12th grade students. Intended for both formal and informal educators, the unit includes 9 activities which can either stand alone or be taught over 10 instruction hours. These hands-on activities are designed to help the students understand the scientific concepts behind different elements of the water cycle, climate change, and how to analyze data and communicate results. Here’s a list of the activities: Read more »