This backyard pond in Palm Beach, Fla. features a variety of wetland plants.
Whether you live in the country, on an average-sized suburban yard, or on a tiny plot in the city you can help protect the environment and add beauty and interest to your surroundings with backyard conservation.
USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service works with farmers and ranchers to make conservation improvements to their land, resulting in cleaner water and air, healthier soil and better habitat for wildlife.
But conservation work is not just for farmers or ranchers. You can help protect natural resources, whether your place is measured in acres, feet or flower pots. Read more »
Young Smurf fans visit the Forest Service’s booth during a community outreach event promoting the Discover the Forest campaign. (U.S. Forest Service photo)
Little blue gnome-like creatures helped the U.S. Forest Service kick off its latest campaign to get people out into the woods. Partnering with the Ad Council and Sony Pictures Entertainment, the Forest Service recently launched its Discover the Forest campaign featuring the Smurfs and their new movie, The Smurfs 2.
Studies have shown that the time children in the United States spend outdoors has declined 50 percent over the past 20 years. Population shifts to urban and suburban environments, an increase in children’s indoor activities, and a lack of awareness of, or access to, nearby nature locations have contributed to this trend. However, research shows there are many benefits to kids spending time in nature. Time spent outdoors gives children the ability to explore, use their imaginations, discover new wildlife and engage in unstructured and adventurous play. Read more »
This 12-acre constructed wetland provides wildlife habitat for migrating waterfowl and a nesting area for animals.
Editor’s Note: As USDA shares stories of program accomplishments from across the country, Secretary Vilsack continues to remind Americans of the importance of the Farm Bill to many of these efforts. The success of the Wetlands Reserve Program in Iowa and across the nation is another reminder of the importance of Farm Bill programs for rural America. A comprehensive new Food, Farm and Jobs Bill would further expand the rural economy – and Secretary Vilsack continues to urge Congress to pass a comprehensive Food, Farm and Jobs Bill done as soon as possible.
A unique wetland in northeastern Iowa is helping to filter out upland sediment and other agricultural runoff flowing into the Little Cedar River. The wetland, on a farm outside Charles City, is also preserving the land and providing a wildlife haven.
In 2009, landowner Carol Savage enrolled about 70 percent of the 200-acre farm in a permanent easement through the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Wetlands Reserve Program, in the process expanding an already-present wetland on the property. Read more »
Cross-posted from the White House Council of Environmental Quality blog:
Americans are all too familiar with the devastation catastrophic wildland fires can wreak on the landscape. Fire takes lives, destroys homes, impacts wildlife, and devastates millions of acres of valuable forests and grasslands every year. But what is lesser known is that these fires also severely damage watersheds—the very lands that provide clean and abundant drinking water for millions of Americans every day.
To address this problem, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Interior Secretary Sally Jewell this week announced an historic agreement between the Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service and the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation to focus on proactively restoring forest lands around important watersheds and preventing costly, destructive wildfires in these areas. Read more »
The aftermath of "mudders" driving their vehicles through a pristine meadow on the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest in Washington. Participants could face charges including malicious mischief and fines up to and including paying for the costs of restoration. (U.S. Forest Service photo)
Mudders, take note: It is against the law to tear up forest roads and meadows for fun, and the legal and financial consequences can be steep. Tearing up high-country meadows with four-wheel-drive and off-road vehicles destroys wildlife habitat and ecosystems.
During a recent investigation, Forest Service law enforcement officers gathered information about mudding that occurred over Memorial Day weekend on the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest at Buck Lake Campground, near Winthrop, Wash. Read more »
Daniel Kessay, with the White Mountain Apache Tribe’s forestry department, and Jan Pertruzzi, with NRCS in Whiteriver, Ariz., review plans for ponderosa pine tree plantings. Photo by Beverly Moseley, NRCS.
From the top of Limestone Ridge, 6,000 feet up, the scars of a massive wildfire on Arizona’s White Mountain Apache Reservation in east central Arizona are still visible. As far as the eye can see are bare mountain ranges where century-old ponderosa pines once stood.
A decade ago, the Rodeo-Chediski fire burned more than 270,000 acres and an estimated 80 million trees, leaving behind few pine trees to help seed the beginnings of a new forest. Read more »