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Fiddler Crabs, Disappearing Chincoteague, California Desert, Hurricane Sleuth

Fiddler Crabs: Between their digging and mating rituals, fiddler crabs can amuse us endlessly! That big, odd claw on the male can be a weapon or an enticement to a female. But these little crustaceans also have a big impact on their environment. From watching them surround their burrows with mud balls, to viewing a parade of thousands of crabs scurrying across the wetlands, scientists are still trying to understand just where these animals fit into the coastal ecosystem. Disappearing Chincoteague: Virginia's Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge gets 1.4 million visits a year, making it one of the most popular in the country. The refuge is part of Assateague Island, home of the world famous Chincoteague ponies, and also 300 species of birds. But this tourist destination is changing rapidly. Rising sea levels will likely turn grasslands into marshes, drown the wetlands, and erase parts of the island completely. We'll show you how the island is preparing for this dramatic change in landscape. California Desert: The rugged desert around Death Valley, California is teeming with life. But you need the proper guide to make sure you see it all. 75 year-old Tom Budlong knows this wild place better than just about anyone. And he wants to protect the junipers, the Joshua trees, and the pinon trees from mining and other development. Nearby, date farmer Brian Brown helps eco-tourists learn more about the rich history of the land. They are working with many others to protect this stark but dynamic ecosystem. Hurricane Sleuth: Not all hurricane hunters need to stand out in a storm to understand these powerful weather events. Geologists are taking a look back, using core samples to study deposits that were washed in during hurricanes. These archives from Mother Nature can paint a picture of the drama that took place hundreds of years ago. Researchers are also exploring the link between climate change and hurricanes-to help determine whether warmer oceans will mean tropical storms will get more intense.



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This American Land

A rugged mountain range in southern Arizona provides a home for a major military base and communities that value the lifestyle and magical beauty of the landscape. Bobwhite quail suffer serious decline in Kentucky, where native grasses have been replaced by exotics for cattle pastures and conservationists try to reverse the damage. Private landowners in Arkansas manage their forests to supply a growing market for sustainable wood products. Once reviled and exterminated, wolves in Yellowstone National Park are now widely recognized as essential to a balanced ecosystem.

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This American Land

In southern Oregon, a little-known wilderness called Kalmiopsis is a source of clear water for downstream communities and a core for surrounding wildlands that conservationists want to protect from logging and mining. Changes in cropland management in Kansas can make a big difference for the survival of bobwhite quail and other wild species. Gunnison Country in Colorado offers stunning mountain scenery, thriving agriculture, and outdoor recreation - and residents there support more wilderness protection for public lands including wilderness and special management areas.

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This American Land

In northern California, residents in five counties work to protect and restore wild public lands and rivers that provide enormous economic benefits for the region. A summary report recaps how conservationists in 25 states are working together to restore grassland habitat for the bobwhite quail, an iconic game bird that has declined dramatically in recent decades. In Idaho, a wide coalition of local groups support federal wilderness designation for the remote Scotchman Peaks roadless area, one of the last and the largest wild landscape in the region.

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Restoring River Flows, Welcome Back Monarchs

Managing irrigation demand in the upper Colorado Basin: collaborating with landowners, water managers in Gunnison County are developing innovative, more efficient systems to conserve water and restore flows to rivers. In Oklahoma, removing invasive cedars and reviving essential prairie habitat for migrating monarch butterflies. In White Sands, New Mexico, researchers study lizards to learn how changing habitats influence evolution.

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Wyoming Wilderness, Rising Sea Levels, Managing National Forests

In Wyoming, there's wide support for protecting wilderness study areas offering a wide range of recreational opportunities and stunning landscapes. Residents in Norfolk, Virginia, use education and innovation to defend their neighborhoods from rising sea levels. In the Pisgah-Nantahala National Forest in western North Carolina, the public is playing a major role in shaping the complex future of the forest. Researchers in Idaho study the difficult lives of pygmy rabbits, providing insights to managing and saving threatened sagebrush landscapes in the West.

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