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Montana Wilderness, Bald Eagle Recovery, Lionfish Derby, Crocodile Man

Montana Wilderness: There's an ambitious plan to protect 700,000 acres of new wilderness in Montana. And after many years of argument, it looks like local residents, loggers, hikers, and conservation groups have put aside their differences so nature is the big winner. You'll meet one veteran outdoorsman, Smoke Elser, who's almost as comfortable in this back woods as the elk and the bears are! Bald Eagle Recovery: It was almost a national tragedy. The bold symbol the United States, the bald eagle, was nearly wiped out when pesticides interfered with their breeding. Our national bird has made quite a comeback, but there are still mysteries to solve in keeping the population healthy. Oregon Field Guide takes us to a "convocation, " a gathering of these regal birds, and introduces us to some of the heroes who saved them from extinction. Lionfish Derby: It's one of the most dramatic displays of how an invasive species can upset an ecosystem. Lionfish, originally from Asia, have found a comfortable home in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean. Government and conservation organizations have come up with some sporty ways to control these aggressive fish, because they are competing with commercially important species like snapper and grouper. We'll take you to one "Lionfish Derby." Crocodile Man: "If it can't bite you, it's not interesting," laughs Mississippi State University biologist David Ray. Ray does very interesting work, studying alligators, crocodiles, bats, and flies, among other creatures. Mapping alligator and crocodile genomes is helping scientists with everything from trying to save the odd looking Indian gharial, to tracing the links between modern reptiles, dinosaurs, and birds.



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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 Bobwhite quail suffer serious decline in Kentucky, where native grasses have been replaced by exotics for cattle pastures and conservationists try to reverse the damage.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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This American Land

Managing public lands: the evolution of the Bureau of Land Management and its role in protecting vast areas of federal land across the nation. Saving the bobwhite quail: the first in a series on protecting vital native grassland habitat for a declining species - this story from the pine savannas of South Carolina. Local communities in northern New Mexico press their case for expanding the Pecos Wilderness to protect a watershed essential to a broad landscape stretching into southern Texas. Scientists study how butterflies use an elegantly efficient organ to sip nectar.

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This American Land

Protecting the Chenier Plain: On the Gulf Coast in Texas and Louisiana, a wildlife-rich wetland and critically important industries are threatened by erosion and tidewater flooding. Cattle and bobwhite quail manage to coexist on grazing lands in south Texas - how does that work? Residents in Virginia have a plan to create protected wilderness and scenic areas in the George Washington National Forest, allowing a variety of recreational activities including mountain biking, hiking and fishing.

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