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Preview: Southern Appalachian Creature Feature

Southern Appalachian Creature Feature

The Southern Appalachian Creature Feature provides a glimpse into the fascinating world of plants and animals in the Southern Appalachians, one of the most biologically diverse temperate regions in the world. Beyond that it also examines the pressing cons

Published: 22 Sep 2008 21:18:14 GMT


Cherokee education project

7 Mar 2016 18:16:14 GMT

White oak, ramps, dogwood. All these are plants important to the Cherokee tradition, and the Forest Service has teamed with the Cherokee to expand scientific and cultural understanding of these plants and more on the part of Cherokee students.

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Tennessee Cougars

1 Mar 2016 18:15:07 GMT

No animal seems to get people as excited as cougars.

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Wildlife Resources Commission Introduces New Turn-In-Poachers Program

22 Feb 2016 18:13:50 GMT

Poaching isn’t just about the illegal harvest of elephant tusks and rhino horns – it can be a serious issue here in the southern Appalachians, impacting game animals, hurting the chances of recovering endangered species, and affecting our ability to continue harvesting traditional forest products like ginseng.

Media Files:

Snake fungal disease

15 Feb 2016 18:11:54 GMT

Many people have heard about white-nose syndrome, the fungal disease responsible for killing more than a million bats in the eastern United States that has left biologists, researchers, and land managers scrambling to halt its spread and reverse the damage done – an effort still very much under way, and far, far from completion.

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Turkey seminars

8 Feb 2016 18:10:53 GMT

The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission and the National Wild Turkey Federation are offering free turkey hunting seminars across North Carolina in March and April in anticipation of the spring turkey season

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1 Feb 2016 18:09:41 GMT

Researchers recently found a nuisance algae in Jackson County’s Tuckasegee River, prompting calls for anglers to be especially diligent when cleaning fishing equipment.

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Sicklefin redhorse

25 Jan 2016 18:08:29 GMT

Power companies, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, and state and federal agencies have come together to conserve the sicklefin redhorse, a fish found in only six Appalachian counties worldwide and being considered for the federal endangered species list.

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Income tax check for wildlife

18 Jan 2016 18:07:13 GMT

Tax time approaches, and in North Carolina this provides an easy opportunity to support wildlife conservation.

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Land and Water Conservation Fund

11 Jan 2016 18:05:41 GMT

Over 50 years ago, Congress created the Land and Water Conservation Fund, a program that uses revenues from offshore oil and gas drilling in public waters to purchase land and easements for conservation and public recreation. The program has supported more than 42,000 national, state and local parks and outdoor recreation projects in all 50 states.

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Forest Loss

4 Jan 2016 18:04:23 GMT

According to U.S. Forest Service researchers and their partners, between 2000 and 2012 the world lost 660,000 square miles of forest, an area more than twice the size of Texas.

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American eels in the mountains of Virginia

28 Dec 2015 18:01:36 GMT

All American eels hatch from eggs in the Sargasso Sea, an area of the Atlantic Ocean east of the Bahamas and south of Bermuda. From there, the young eels head west, swimming up streams from Canada to South America, where they spend most of their lives, returning to the ocean to reproduce and die.

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In the wake of hemlock woolly adelgid

21 Dec 2015 18:00:25 GMT

Hemlock woolly adeglid, a tiny Asian insect, has killed hemlock trees across the southern Appalachians, opening up the forest canopy to additional sunlight.

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National Wildlife Refuges

14 Dec 2015 17:58:50 GMT

Head outdoors and enjoy some of the country’s most magical places — America’s National Wildlife Refuges offer unparalleled opportunities to experience the great outdoors and see a rich diversity of wildlife in beautiful natural settings. If that wasn’t enticement enough, refuges that normally charge entrance fees will offer an additional incentive — free admission on certain days in 2016

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Duck Season

7 Dec 2015 17:49:58 GMT

In the United States, the vast majority of wildlife management is done by state wildlife agencies – the same folks who issue your hunting and fishing licenses. But there are some areas where the federal government steps in and takes a larger role. Ducks fly up and down North America each year, and they are avidly hunted. What if hunters in Virginia shot all the ducks before they could get to North Carolina? Migratory birds, including ducks, is an area where the federal government steps in and plays a key role.

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Kids Fishing Days on National Forests of North Carolina

26 May 2014 16:34:02 GMT

My daughter and I walked past the racks of fishing rods for loan, found a quiet spot on the bank of Lake Powhatan, a Forest Service lake on the edge of Asheville, and settled in for a morning of fishing. We didn’t catch anything, but we still enjoyed the stillness of the spot, and the opportunity to simply observe the natural world around us, from the dragonflies to the turtle that swam by. When we tired of fishing, hot dogs were coming off the grill for lunch.

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Synchronous firefly viewing

19 May 2014 16:32:36 GMT

This year, firefly viewing at the Elkmont Campground area of Great Smoky Mountains National Park will be from June 4 through June 11.

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Georgia aster

12 May 2014 16:30:59 GMT

Georgia aster is an uncommon plant that declined for decades, to the verge of receiving federal protection. However, this spring, numerous organizations, private and public, are stepping up to conserve the plant in an effort that should keep it off the endangered species list.

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Economic Impact of the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program

5 May 2014 16:25:02 GMT

We all stood on the bank of Mitchell County’s North Toe River, watching as the track hoe chipped away at the old, decrepit Spruce-Pine dam. Removing the crumbling dam allowed fish to move upstream and take advantage of that habitat, and removed a safety hazard for local paddlers. The dam’s removal was paid for in part by Partners for Fish and Wildlife, a program of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service designed to help private landowners improve fish and wildlife habitat.

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Red spruce restoration

30 Nov 2015 16:23:00 GMT

A recent afternoon found staff from the Fish and Wildlife Service and Southern Highlands Reserve bushwhacking through Pisgah National Forest collecting red spruce cones - a first step in a multi-year process to restore red spruce to areas where it was found before the extensive logging and burning at the turn of the 20th century.

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Lake sturgeon return to North Carolina

23 Nov 2015 16:22:05 GMT

Absent for more than half a century, lake sturgeon returned to North Carolina waters this fall as seven-thousand fish were released into the French Broad River.

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Trout at Hanging Rock State Park

16 Nov 2015 16:21:07 GMT

The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, along with North Carolina State Parks, continue to stock trout into in Hanging Rock State Park’s lake, supporting the new Stokes County trout fishery created earlier this year.

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Bat monitoring

9 Nov 2015 16:20:07 GMT

Monitoring, or regularly going out and counting plants or animals following an established protocol, provides biologists with key information on the distribution of plants and animals and the well-being of individual populations.

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Little Tennessee River Basin Recognized for Native Fish Conservation

2 Nov 2015 16:19:04 GMT

Recognizing its incredible diversity of stream life and years of efforts to conserve that diversity, the Little Tennessee River basin has been designated the nation’s first Native Fish Conservation Area.

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Fourth-grade students hit the parks

26 Oct 2015 16:17:34 GMT

Great Smoky Mountains National Park invites all 4th-grade students to visit the park as part of the White House's new Every Kid in a Park program. The park offers a variety of activities that fourth graders and their family can enjoy, including guided discovery hikes, educational programs, self-guided junior ranger activities, and special events throughout the year.

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Benefits of Prescribed Fire

12 Oct 2015 21:01:45 GMT

The ridge we hiked along in Pisgah National Forest was open, dry, and on this day, hot. The area had recently experienced a fire and one of the benefits was the explosion of mountain golden heather, a threatened plant adapted to periodic fire.

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Wild Hogs in Tennessee

5 Oct 2015 21:00:34 GMT

Southern Appalachian Mountain bogs are one of the rarest habitats in the nation, and on my way to visit a North Georgia bog, our guides stopped to check a hog trap – designed to catch the hogs that were rooting in the bog, and damaging some of its rare plants.

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Smokies Bat Closure

28 Sep 2015 20:59:44 GMT

Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials announced the closure of the Whiteoak Sink area effective now through March 31, 2016 to limit human disturbance to bat hibernation sites and help hikers avoid interactions with bats.

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Emerald Ash Borer Control

21 Sep 2015 20:58:18 GMT

On a recent camping trip to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, it bore remembering that the park only allows outside firewood that is certified as being heated to the point that undesirable insects hitching a ride on the wood would be killed.

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Cold Water Species and Climate Change

14 Sep 2015 20:57:09 GMT

New research on the effects of warming temperatures and stream acidity projects average habitat losses of around 10 percent for coldwater aquatic species in southern Appalachian national forests – including up to a 20 percent loss of habitat in the Pisgah and Nantahala National Forests.

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Whirling Disease in North Carolina Trout

7 Sep 2015 20:56:01 GMT

Whirling disease, a parasitic disease affecting trout and salmon, has been found in North Carolina.

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Butterfly Trail

31 Aug 2015 20:54:27 GMT

Staff at the Asheville-based non-profit Monarch Rescue recently reported that monarch butterfly eggs and caterpillars were found at a pollinator garden they worked with students to install at Yancey County’s Mountain Heritage High School.

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North Carolina Gets Grant for Bog Conservation

24 Aug 2015 20:53:31 GMT

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently announced 37.2 million dollars in grants to 20 states to support the conservation of threatened and endangered species across the nation, and a portion of that money is coming to the southern Appalachians.

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Gill Lice in North Carolina Trout

17 Aug 2015 20:52:32 GMT

Fresh off of discovering whirling disease for the first time in North Carolina, fisheries biologists with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission recently confirmed gill lice on rainbow trout in three North Carolina streams.

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Blue Ridge Parkway Bio-Blitz

10 Aug 2015 20:51:32 GMT

The Blue Ridge Parkway, the National Park Service unit that stretches from Great Smoky Mountains National Park, along the Blue Ridge Mountains, to Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park, is hosting a bio-blitz in mid-September.

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Stream Snorkeling

3 Aug 2015 20:50:28 GMT

We’re in the heat of summer, and one thing is evident – river recreation is on the uptick this year. Why not add a new dimension to hitting the water?

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North Carolina’s Outdoor Heritage Act Signed into Law

27 Jul 2015 20:49:12 GMT

North Carolina governor Pat McCrory recently signed into law the Outdoor Heritage Act.

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Mountain Golden Heather Monitoring

20 Jul 2015 20:47:27 GMT

Despite the elevation, it was quite hot, as the midday sun fell on the dry ridge running along Linville Gorge. We were there to monitor mountain golden heather, a threatened plant. Despite being a Wednesday, an off day for outdoor recreation, during three three or four hours we were in the sun counting plants, several people hiked by on the trail that bisected our work area.

Media Files:

2015 Duck Stamp

13 Jul 2015 20:46:09 GMT

The 2015-2016 Federal Duck Stamp was recently unveiled, and features a pair of ruddy ducks painted by wildlife artist Jennifer Miller of Olean, New York. Last fall, a panel of five judges chose Miller’s art from among 186 entries at the Federal Duck Stamp Art Contest. Miller is the third woman to win the Federal Duck Stamp Contest.

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Living with Bears

15 Jun 2015 20:43:52 GMT

Bears have been in the news a lot recently, most notably related to a hiker who was pulled from his hammock by a bear in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. According to the Park Service’s report, the young man, and his father, who were travelling together, had properly stored their equipment, food, and packs on aerial food storage cables.

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Tennessee Supports Monarchs

8 Jun 2015 20:41:39 GMT

On the heels of numerous pollinator gardens being installed in western North Carolina, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency has announced a major effort to help save monarch butterflies.

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Bog turtles and poaching

1 Jun 2015 20:40:25 GMT

I’ve often talked about southern Appalachian Mountain bogs, their rarity, and the rareness of many of the plants and animals found in them. There’s a bog south of Asheville that’s a bittersweet place. Despite development in its vicinity, it still hangs on, and in fact people in the community recognize its importance. What makes it a sad place is it used to be home to one of the best bog turtle populations in the southeast. Until those turtles were poached to feed an illegal pet trade.

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Northern Long-eared Bat on the Endangered Species List

18 May 2015 20:39:08 GMT

On May fourth, the northern long-eared bat was added to the federal endangered species list as a threatened animal. What makes this listing especially notable, is it’s the first related to the fungal disease white-nose syndrome, which has killed millions of bats in eastern and central North America.

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Planting Gardens for Monarch Butterflies

11 May 2015 20:37:52 GMT

In the wake of dramatically declining populations, last year the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was asked to place the monarch butterfly on the endangered species list, beginning a process of reviewing data and scientific literature to determine if listing is warranted.

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Mountain Bogs National Wildlife Refuge Established

4 May 2015 20:36:14 GMT

This past spring Mountain Bogs National Wildlife Refuge became America’s 563rd refuge.

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Turkey Hunting Seminars

9 Mar 2015 20:35:23 GMT

The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission and the National Wild Turkey Federation are offering free turkey hunting seminars in Henderson County’s Mills River community on April 1st and 2nd in anticipation of the upcoming spring turkey season.

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Milkweed for Monarchs

23 Feb 2015 20:16:14 GMT

The monarch is probably America’s best known butterfly, and the subject of extensive conservation efforts as it has experienced a dramatic decline in recent years, to the point the Fish and Wildlife Service has been asked to place it on the endangered species list.

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Monarch Conservation Initiative

16 Feb 2015 20:14:41 GMT

While monarch butterflies are found across the United States — as recently as 1996 numbering some 1 billion — their numbers have declined by approximately 90 percent in recent years, a result of numerous threats.

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Bald Eagle Shooting

9 Feb 2015 20:13:14 GMT

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are investigating the shooting of an bald eagle in east Tennessee. A reward of up to $10,000 is being offered for information leading to a conviction of the person or persons responsible for wounding the eagle.

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Bog Turtle

2 Feb 2015 20:10:36 GMT

It’s a cold day, with snow falling, as a group of biologists hikes across a southern Appalachian bog. Biologist Sue Cameron has found a hole in the ground that looks promising. Standing in the mud, she rolls up her sleeve, gets down on her knees, and sticks her hand in the hole, hoping to find a bog turtle. She comes up empty handed – but this trip wasn’t intended as a turtle search and the turtle happens to be one of the rarest in the United States.

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Hemlock Woolly Adelgid Control in Sandy Mushd]

19 Jan 2015 20:09:29 GMT

As part of the ongoing effort to combat the hemlock woolly adelgid in the Southern Appalachians, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission recently released predator beetles into Buncombe County’s Sandy Mush Game Lands.

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Great Smoky Mountains Visitor Numbers

12 Jan 2015 20:08:17 GMT

For the fourth time in 80 years, Great Smoky Mountains National Park had over ten million annual visitors in a single year. In 2014, 10,099,275 visitors visited the park, an 8% increase over 2013. The other years when visitation topped ten million were 1987, 1999, 2000.

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Smokies Firewood Rules Goes into Effect

5 Jan 2015 20:07:12 GMT

I’ve previously spoke about a proposal by Great Smoky Mountains National Park to limit the spread of invasive insects into the park by limiting the type of firewood that could be brought into the park, and come March 2015, those news rules will go into effect.

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Sicklefin Redhorse

29 Dec 2014 19:39:30 GMT

Every seat in the conference room was filled, with more chairs brought in for the overflow. In the room were aquatic biologists, geneticists, fish propagation experts, dam management experts – a host of biologists offering what they knew about the sicklefin redhorse.

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Hiking Challenges

15 Dec 2014 19:38:31 GMT

It’s a new year, full of promise and opportunity. It’s the annual clean slate, when we look ahead, full of thoughts about how to enrich our minds and bodies, and generally become better people

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Restoration on Pisgah National Forest

8 Dec 2014 19:37:30 GMT

Nearly 6,000 acres of Pisgah National Forest’s Grandfather Ranger District were restored this past year, thanks to the help of numerous partners.

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North Carolina Air Quality

24 Nov 2014 19:36:37 GMT

We hear people talk about ground-level ozone as an air pollution problem. On high-ozone days, we’re cautioned against outdoor activity for the good of our lungs, and elevated ozone can impact plants – damaging the leaves of plants sensitive to ozone. Ozone is not emitted directly, but forms in the air when nitrogen oxides, largely from auto exhaust and power plants, react with hydrocarbons on hot, sunny days with little wind.

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Changing Appalachian Forests

17 Nov 2014 19:35:27 GMT

The US Forest Service, has begun taking a predictive look at the future of Southern forests, coming out with an initial report looking at the Southern Appalachians. The results aren’t especially unexpected, but still warrant the attention of forest users and community leaders, because it does show a change in our forests and how they are used.

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Roadmaps for Recovery

10 Nov 2014 19:34:21 GMT

The interrupted rocksnail, rough hornsnail, and Georgia pigtoe mussel are all endangered species, having disappeared from 90 percent or more of their historical ranges, largely due to the damming of rivers where they live. All three are native to the Coosa River drainage in Alabama and North Georgia, the Georgia pigtoe also occurring in east Tennessee.

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Cataloochee Heritaged

3 Nov 2014 19:32:42 GMT

In 1910, there were 1251 people living in Cataloochee Valley – divided between Little and Big Cataloochee, making it collectively the largest community in the Smoky Mountains at the time. The coming of Great Smoky Mountains National Park brought an end to the community, but the creation of the park also meant the preservation of several buildings in the Cataloochee Valley, providing us a glimpse of what life was like there one hundred years ago. Unfortunately, recently life in Cataloochee hasn’t been so tranquil.

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Smoky Mountain Firewood

28 Jul 2014 19:31:24 GMT

Officials at Great Smoky Mountains National Park are proposing to help protect park forests by further limiting the type of firewood brought into the park.

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Southern National Forests Cave Closure

21 Jul 2014 19:30:19 GMT

As the fatal bat disease white nose syndrome continues to spread, leaving millions of dead bats in its wake, land managers continue working to check its spread. In an effort to prevent the human spread of the disease by clothes or equipment, most federal and state caves have been closed to the public, and the Regional Forester for the Southern Region of the U.S. Forest Service recently announced an extension of the closure order for all caves and mines on southeastern National Forest system lands until 2019 to help prevent the spread of white-nose syndrome.

Media Files:

Duck Populations

14 Jul 2014 19:28:51 GMT

Seeing redhead ducks in the local pond on my drive home from work is a little treat. Overall redheads aren’t rare ducks, but the Southern Appalachians are not a hotbed of duck activity and it’s nice to see some migrant ducks amidst the resident mallards that seem to dominate the local waterfowl scene.

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Chronic Wasting Disease and North Carolina

7 Jul 2014 19:27:32 GMT

After looking at more than 3,800 free-ranging deer in 2013 and 2014, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission has not detected the fatal, untreatable wildlife affliction, chronic wasting disease, despite its presence in Virginia and other nearby states.

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Spruce-Fir Moss Spider

23 Jun 2014 19:21:22 GMT

It was quite balmy in Asheville on that particular late-May morning. While the weather may be warm and clear in town, it’s no indication of conditions above 6000 feet, on the shoulders of Mount Mitchell, the highest peak east of the Mississippi River.

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Free Fishing on July 4

9 Jun 2014 19:15:10 GMT

On July 4, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission invites anglers and would-be anglers of all ages to go fishing — for free.

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Conservation Aquaculture Center

2 Jun 2014 19:11:45 GMT

It’s a non-descript metal building in a compound tucked on the edge of Marion, North Carolina. From the outside, it looks like just another small warehouse. However, step inside and it’s clear you’re in no warehouse.

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Trout Rivers Open

31 Mar 2014 19:10:27 GMT

The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission will open approximately 1,000 miles of hatchery-supported trout waters in 25 western counties at 7 a.m. on April 5. The season will run through Feb. 28, 2015.

Media Files:

Invasive Crayfish

24 Mar 2014 19:08:29 GMT

Biologists with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission are asking anglers to help stop the spread of the rusty crayfish — a destructive, non-native crayfish that has invaded the upper Catawba River in western North Carolina.

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Grants to States for Conservation and Recreation

17 Mar 2014 19:06:41 GMT

This year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will distribute $1.1 billion to state and territorial fish and wildlife agencies as part of an annual distribution that has become one of the most sustainable sources of funding for conservation and recreation.

Media Files:

New License Plate Design

10 Mar 2014 19:05:00 GMT

The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, in partnership with students at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, is holding a contest to generate a new license plate design for the Commission’s Wildlife Diversity Program, which does research, conservation and monitoring work benefiting nongame animals such as songbirds, sea turtles, eagles, salamanders, frogs, turtles, and bats.

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Reviewing the Status of Our Rarest Plants and Animals

3 Mar 2014 19:03:36 GMT

The Appalachian elktoe is a an endangered freshwater mussel found in a handful of Western North Carolina Rivers, and in a sliver of the Nolichucky River in East Tennessee. For years the plight of the elktoe looked to be improving. The Cheoah River population was expanding thanks to the return of water previously piped overland to a power generating station. It was expanding upstream in the South Toe River, and down the Little River to the French Broad in Transylvania County.

Media Files:

Prescribed Fire in Tallulah Gorge

17 Feb 2014 19:00:23 GMT

For the fifth time in ten years, North Georgia’s Tallulah Gorge will see a prescribed fire, as part of an effort to restore and maintain wildlife habitat in and along the two-mile-long canyon.

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Recovering Our Most Imperiled Fishes

10 Feb 2014 18:58:06 GMT

Culminating a 20-year partnership with the state of Oregon, the Army Corps of Engineers, and private landowners, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently proposed removing the Oregon chub from the federal endangered species list. If it goes through, this would be the first fish delisted due to recovery. Fewer than 1,000 fish were known to exist when it was placed on the endangered species list. Today, the population stands at more than 150,000 fish.

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New Hiking Trails

3 Feb 2014 18:55:36 GMT

Western North Carolina hikers can now enjoy three new trails near the Blue Ridge Parkway, thanks to private citizens, The Conservation Fund, the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy and the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission.

Media Files:

Red Wolf Death

27 Jan 2014 18:53:54 GMT

Red wolves are the wolves of the south. They could once be found from Texas, across the south, and up the Atlantic coast. However, due to eradication efforts and habitat loss, they nearly became extinct. In a last-ditch effort to save the species, an attempt was made to capture all remaining wild red wolves. Of the 17 captured, 14 became the founders of a zoo-based breeding program. Although the release of propagated wolves was tried and failed in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, is has been a success in the swampy low country of eastern North Carolina, where about 100 red wolves roam. Nearly 200 additional red wolves are in captivity and part of the managed breeding program. You can see these animals for yourself at the Western North Carolina Nature Center in Asheville.

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Devil’s Britches Hiking Trail]

20 Jan 2014 18:08:28 GMT

The story goes that fall foliage was such a vibrant red that someone likened it to the devil’s britches. The name stuck to the Devil’s Britches hiking trail and now Devil’s Britches IPA is the name of the latest beer in Highland Brewing Company’s seasonal line-up. Highland Brewing has established a strong tradition of naming their seasonal beers after area mountain features, which segued nicely into a partnership with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy, a local land trust which has done much to protect high-elevation land in the area.

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Augmenting Deer Population

13 Jan 2014 18:05:54 GMT

Oftentimes in endangered species conservation, we’re faced with a situation where you have a small, and vulnerable population of imperiled plants or animals, but you have a large, healthy population elsewhere, or you can successfully propagate and raise them in captivity. In these situations, one of the most basic conservation tools is augmentation – assuming the habitat is okay, you augment the small, vulnerable population with individuals from the large, healthy population, or from those propagated in captivity.

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Bird-Building Collisions

6 Jan 2014 17:00:00 GMT

I was recently passing through Atlanta with a friend, who happens to be a bird biologist, and an avid recreational birder. It was her first time in the city, and as we approached it along the interstate, she looked up at skyscraper after skyscraper, most covered with glass, and she exclaimed simply, “I’ll bet a lot of birds die here.”

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Southern Appalachian Aquatic Diveristy

21 Oct 2013 20:50:13 GMT

The tiny fish in the water-filled plastic bag wouldn’t catch the eye of the casual observer, but to biologists they were part of a great hope. The fish were spotfin chub, a tiny, threatened fish, and these were carefully reared in a fish hatchery and bagged for transport and release into the Cheoah River where hopefully they would thrive.

Media Files:

High Elevation Plant Conservation

21 Oct 2013 20:47:49 GMT

Of the highest 41 peaks is in the Eastern United State, 40 are in the Southern Appalachians. These peaks are effectively mountaintop islands, rising above lower elevations to be outposts of cold, often moist, habitat where fir, spruce, and others trees associated with more northern climates, live.

Media Files:

New Rules for Ginseng Permits

21 Oct 2013 20:46:09 GMT

Citing concerns over declines in wild ginseng, the supervisor of the Pisgah and Nantahala National Forests is limiting ginseng harvest in those areas. A permit is required to harvest wild ginseng on National Forests, and it must be collected during a designated harvest season.

Media Files:

Living with Bears

10 Sep 2013 18:58:15 GMT

With a rash of media reports of bear sightings across North Carolina, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission reminds residents not to panic and to remain calm if you see a black bear. Bears are not inherently dangerous and seeing a bear can be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for residents to appreciate from a safe distance.

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Law Enforcement Seeks Leads in Bear Carcass Dumping

10 Sep 2013 18:57:09 GMT

The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission is asking for your help determining who and why someone dumped a bear carcass marked in white paint onto a Buncombe County, North Carolina road.

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North Carolina Heritage Trout Waters

10 Sep 2013 18:55:41 GMT

Three Jackson County, North Carolina towns — Sylva, Webster and Dillsboro — recently joined the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission’s Mountain Heritage Trout Waters Program

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Taking Care Around Young Wildlife

10 Sep 2013 18:31:41 GMT

Young wildlife may be cute — and it may be tempting to bring a fawn, cub, or chick home — but tiny animals are not pets. Human encounters with young animals often increase in the spring, when many wildlife species bear young, but touching or feeding them can hurt wildlife and jeopardize human health.

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Appalachian Elktoe Conservation

10 Sep 2013 18:24:32 GMT

In a building at a state fish hatchery in Marion, North Carolina are a series of tubs with an elaborate piping network leading in and out. Within these tubs the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission is working to rear some of North Carolina’s most endangered freshwater mussels in captivity, including the Appalachian elktoe mussel.

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Sicklefin Redhorse Conservation

10 Sep 2013 18:23:21 GMT

The Little Tennessee River runs wide and deep just below Emory Dam, outside Franklin North Carolina. In the late-morning sun on an April day, a jon boat plied the water back and forth. Protruding from the bow and dropping into the water was a pair of electrodes wired to an on-board generator. Perched in the bow was a biologist with a long-handled net waiting to scoop up fish stunned by the electric current flowing through the water.

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North Carolina Bat Decline

10 Sep 2013 18:16:58 GMT

The biologists eyed the bat box on the banks of the Tuckasegee River. Counter in hand, they tallied how many bats were using the box. This is the fourth year they’ve done these counts at a string of bat roosting boxes along the river. And this spring they witnessed a precipitous decline in the number of bats using the sites from past years. The suspected culprit is white-nosed syndrome, the bat disease that has decimated bat populations across Eastern North America.

Media Files:

North Carolina’s Endangered Bats

10 Sep 2013 18:13:28 GMT

The Southern Appalachians are home to three species of endangered bats – Indiana, gray, and Virginia big-eared. Indiana and gray bats have already seen declines from white nose syndrome.

Media Files:

Carolina Northern Flying Squirrel

10 Sep 2013 18:01:18 GMT

For wildlife biologists, winter is often the down time of the year – a time to compile data from the year’s field work and set about the laborious, and indoor, task of writing reports. However, for people who track a handful of animals, winter is time to get out and about.

Media Files:

Japanese honeysuckle

10 Sep 2013 17:58:49 GMT

Japanese honeysuckle – for many, those yellow and white blooms are as indicative of summer as fireflies, watermelon, and baseball. All of us probably have memories of plucking the flowers and pulling the pistil through the flower’s base to capture that drop of nectar.

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An App to Track Invasive Plants

10 Sep 2013 17:56:43 GMT

There was a joke going around recently about how we have the collective knowledge of humanity accessible through a device that fits in our pocket, which we mainly use to look at pictures of cats. It’s kind of amazing the frivolity that lies at the heart of most of our smart phone use. However, there are opportunities to use these tools to make this world a better place.

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Searching for bat maternity colonies

10 Sep 2013 17:55:00 GMT

What happened to the Lost Colony at Roanoke? Where is the Lost Dutchman Mine? Did Lee Harvey Oswalt act alone? Where do Grandfather Mountain’s female bats go in the summer? Tremendous mysteries all.

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2011 Survey of Wildlife-Based Recreation

10 Dec 2012 15:40:05 GMT

Every five years the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service conducts a national survey providing a look at the level of participation and spending on wildlife-based recreation, such as hunting, fishing, and wildlife watching. It’s done at the request of all the state fish and wildlife agencies, and the actual questioning is done by the U.S. Census bureau, who spoke with more than 48,000 households in 2011. The results from this latest survey are beginning to come in.

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Japanese stilt-grass

3 Dec 2012 14:57:01 GMT

Invasive species management is an on-going challenge for land managers as there always seem to be new or spreading outbreaks. On a recent afternoon, biologists working at a bog in Henderson County actually experimented with using a shop-vacuum to remove Japanese stilt-grass seeds, sadly to no avail. Also called Nepalese browntop or by its genus name, microstegium, in the United States, this Asian plant was first seen in the Knoxville area around 1919, and its suspected it was used as packing material for porcelain.

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Endangered mussels released into Tennessee portion of the Powell River.

20 Nov 2012 21:09:53 GMT

The Powell River flows southwest out of Virginia’s coal country and into east Tennessee, before its waters eventually flow into the Tennessee River, draining some of the most rural land in the Southern Appalachians.

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Toes in the Toe Watershed Discovery

26 Oct 2012 17:37:04 GMT

Few children ever get the opportunity to wade into a stream, shoes on, while their teacher not only looks one, but encourages them. However, nearly every fifth grade student in Yancey and Mitchell counties recently had just that opportunity as they went out to the North and South Toe rivers for this year’s Toes in the Toe Discovery – an annual event that aims to get kids out of the classroom and to a river in their community for a day of learning.

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Landscaping with native plants

5 Oct 2012 16:19:10 GMT

Fall is upon us, and amid the leaf raking, firewood splitting, pumpkin harvesting, and other fall chores, this is an opportunity for planting shrubs and trees.

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Japanese Knotweed

5 Oct 2012 16:17:56 GMT

Invasive species are plants and animals that are not from here but have been introduced and are thriving in the absence of their natural controls, to the detriment of our native species. Their impacts is especially notable in the Southern Appalachians, as they’re responsible for the loss of the American chestnut, the current decline of hemlock trees, and patches of kudzu across the region. Japanese knotweed is another.

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