NRCS District Conservationist Rita Thibodeau (left) points out minnows swimming in a pond that was part of Peter Talmage’s wetland restoration project. (Photo by Jonathan Tokarz, NRCS intern)
When Peter Talmage’s career as a professor of renewable energy and energy efficiency brought him from Maine to a college in Greenfield, Mass. with his wife and son, he knew that he wanted to enhance the beauty of the land that they bought in nearby Northfield and improve it as wildlife habitat.
So when his wife, Chris, heard about a USDA program that would guarantee its protection and provide help in restoring wetlands on the property, they were sold.
Through the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Wetlands Reserve Program, Peter and Chris protected 3 ½ of 12 acres under a permanent conservation easement. They received technical and financial help reshaping wetlands that had long ago been converted to farmland. Read more »
Taylor Moore (left) and his father Murry Moore. Photo by Mark Dorsett.
Maybe it’s Murry Moore’s profession as a funeral director that inspires him to put tired land to rest, but his restoration efforts of nearly 700 acres on the banks of the Obion River in western Tennessee has ensured a peaceful home for wildlife.
In the early 1950s, Moore’s parents bought the tract, and for years afterward they cleared it for timber. Later, Murry and his brother Dean began row cropping. Year after year, the land was flooded by the Obion and eroded bit by bit, leaving a field of unproductive crops and frustrated farmers. Read more »
Ron Farris, landowner, and NRCS employee Danette Cross look over his conservation plan.
In southern Illinois, along the Mississippi River, you can see a diverse landscape of woodlands, open wild areas and farmland. But that wasn’t the case about 20 years ago, after the Great Flood of 1993 ravaged the area. That summer, all of these ecosystems resembled a moonscape with most of the vegetation removed. Read more »
Captain Mike P. McAdaragh II pictured on one of the construction sites where he volunteers to assist with the Wetland Reserve Program.
U.S. Army Capt. Mike P. McAdaragh II is looking for a job that blends indoor and outdoor work. This led him to volunteering with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, an agency that works with private landowners to improve farms and forestlands across the U.S.
McAdaragh’s volunteer work with NRCS gives him the opportunity to work side-by-side with agency biologists and engineers, providing him with valuable work experience and new skills as he transitions from his 13 years in the military to a new career. Read more »
Vice President Joe Biden visits with Carlos Suarez of NRCS during a tour of wetland projects in the Everglades.
Vice President Joe Biden was in Florida this week touring the Everglades and touting the benefits of federally funded restoration projects to restore the historical flow of water from the Northern Everglades Watershed to Everglades National Park. He brought his granddaughter along on the airboat tour of the Everglades area, where they were joined by U.S. Senator Bill Nelson and U.S. Representative Alcee Hastings. I was honored to be asked to represent the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) at the event. Read more »
Farm Bill programs like the Wetlands Reserve Program have helped populations of the Louisiana black bear increase in Mississippi. Biologists estimate the state to be home to 120 black bears. Photos are by Brad Young, Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks.
Mississippi was once famous for its black bear population. Hunters from across the U.S. traveled to the state to hunt in the forests of the Delta, which teemed with the shy creatures. Read more »