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Thirsty Trees & Beavers Helping Fish Focus of FIELD GUIDE, Airs April 28


A mature western juniper tree can suck 25 gallons of water from the earth on a hot day. In eastern Oregon, these relentlessly thirsty trees cover millions of acres and are sucking the desert even drier. OREGON FIELD GUIDE examines what some ranchers are trying to do about it. There’s also a look at how beavers are working hard to bring some battered wetlands back to life and a unique collaboration to create a homegrown fish-screen technology that’s helping save native fish. Tune in to the stations of Oregon Public Broadcasting on Thursday, April 28 at 8pm.

Juniper Control – In 1934 there were about a million acres of juniper in Oregon. Now there are over 6 million. When settlers arrived with their cattle, they began to suppress the fires that kept the junipers in check. The trees began spreading like weeds, engulfing landscapes. And where junipers grow, grasses, sagebrush and herbs die out, destroying grazing area and pushing some species, like the sage grouse, to near extinction. For three decades, eastern Oregon rancher Doc Hatfield has been working with researchers on restoration projects, one of which involves cutting down and burning juniper stands to see if water could be conserved and vegetation would return. The experiment is working. Cleared areas are recovering, promising to put nature back in balance to the benefit of both livestock and wildlife.

Beavers & Salmon – We join a wildlife biologist snorkeling in an icy stream in the middle night, in the middle of winter, in the middle of the Oregon desert, counting steelhead and salmon. The National Oceanic Administration only recently started looking at how the health of desert streams and wetlands affect salmon and steelhead runs. They found this important habitat has been compromised by erosion, grazing, road building and the common practice of straightening of streams. But researchers also noticed that where beaver came in, the fish were making a comeback. See how these seldom-seen dam builders are being enticed to areas in an effort to bring some battered wetlands back to life.

Fish Screens – Hood River and its tributaries is home to nearly every species of salmon and trout native to Oregon. But fish populations once numbering in the thousands are now in the hundreds and even less for some migratory species. Farmers depend on the waters from these rivers and streams to irrigate their crops, but fish get caught in the diversion channels and don’t return to the streams. For years, a series of fish screens provided a solution, although an imperfect one since they were hard to keep clear of silt and debris. When the flood of 1996 destroyed all but one of the 34 screens in the Hood River Farmers Irrigation District and shut down the irrigation systems, farmers had to come up with a solution. In debt and distressed with their plight, they formed an unlikely collaboration with conservationists, scientists, tribal leaders and agencies. See how they worked together to create a homegrown fish-screen technology that’s getting international attention.

Videos of the stories featured on FIELD GUIDE are available at opb.org/programs/ofg/ or watch entire programs at watch.opb.org.

Check out the FIELD GUIDE blog at http://blogs.opb.org/fieldjournal/ or follow us on facebook at facebook.com/oregonfieldguide.

About OREGON FIELD GUIDE
In its 22nd season, OREGON FIELD GUIDE remains a valuable source of information about outdoor recreation, ecological issues, natural resources and travel destinations. OREGON FIELD GUIDE airs Thursday evenings at 8:30pm on the television stations of Oregon Public Broadcasting and repeats on Sundays at 1:30am and 6:30pm. In the Mountain Time zone of Eastern Oregon, the program airs at 9:30pm Thursdays, and at 7:30pm Sundays.

About OPB
OPB is the largest cultural and education institution in the region, delivering excellence in public broadcasting to 1.5 million people each week through television, radio and the Internet. Widely recognized as a national leader in the public broadcasting arena, OPB is a major contributor to the program schedule that serves the entire country. OPB is one of the most-used and most-supported public broadcasting services in the country and is generously supported by 120,000 contributors.
A mature western juniper tree can suck 25 gallons of water from the earth on a hot day. In eastern Oregon, these relentlessly thirsty trees cover millions of acres and are sucking the desert even drier. OREGON FIELD GUIDE examines what some ranchers are trying to do about it. There’s also a look at how beavers are working hard to bring some battered wetlands back to life and a unique collaboration to create a homegrown fish-screen technology that’s helping save native fish. Tune in to the stations of Oregon Public Broadcasting on Thursday, October 28 at 8pm.

Juniper Control – In 1934 there were about a million acres of juniper in Oregon. Now there are over 6 million. When settlers arrived with their cattle, they began to suppress the fires that kept the junipers in check. The trees began spreading like weeds, engulfing landscapes. And where junipers grow, grasses, sagebrush and herbs die out, destroying grazing area and pushing some species, like the sage grouse, to near extinction. For three decades, eastern Oregon rancher Doc Hatfield has been working with researchers on restoration projects, one of which involves cutting down and burning juniper stands to see if water could be conserved and vegetation would return. The experiment is working. Cleared areas are recovering, promising to put nature back in balance to the benefit of both livestock and wildlife.

Beavers & Salmon – We join a wildlife biologist snorkeling in an icy stream in the middle night, in the middle of winter, in the middle of the Oregon desert, counting steelhead and salmon. The National Oceanic Administration only recently started looking at how the health of desert streams and wetlands affect salmon and steelhead runs. They found this important habitat has been compromised by erosion, grazing, road building and the common practice of straightening of streams. But researchers also noticed that where beaver came in, the fish were making a comeback. See how these seldom-seen dam builders are being enticed to areas in an effort to bring some battered wetlands back to life.

Fish Screens – Hood River and its tributaries is home to nearly every species of salmon and trout native to Oregon. But fish populations once numbering in the thousands are now in the hundreds and even less for some migratory species. Farmers depend on the waters from these rivers and streams to irrigate their crops, but fish get caught in the diversion channels and don’t return to the streams. For years, a series of fish screens provided a solution, although an imperfect one since they were hard to keep clear of silt and debris. When the flood of 1996 destroyed all but one of the 34 screens in the Hood River Farmers Irrigation District and shut down the irrigation systems, farmers had to come up with a solution. In debt and distressed with their plight, they formed an unlikely collaboration with conservationists, scientists, tribal leaders and agencies. See how they worked together to create a homegrown fish-screen technology that’s getting international attention.

Videos of the stories featured on FIELD GUIDE are available at opb.org/programs/ofg/ or watch entire programs at watch.opb.org.

Check out the FIELD GUIDE blog at http://blogs.opb.org/fieldjournal/ or follow us on facebook at facebook.com/oregonfieldguide.

About OREGON FIELD GUIDE
In its 22nd season, OREGON FIELD GUIDE remains a valuable source of information about outdoor recreation, ecological issues, natural resources and travel destinations. OREGON FIELD GUIDE airs Thursday evenings at 8:30pm on the television stations of Oregon Public Broadcasting and repeats on Sundays at 1:30am and 6:30pm. In the Mountain Time zone of Eastern Oregon, the program airs at 9:30pm Thursdays, and at 7:30pm Sundays.

About OPB
OPB is the largest cultural and education institution in the region, delivering excellence in public broadcasting to 1.5 million people each week through television, radio and the Internet. Widely recognized as a national leader in the public broadcasting arena, OPB is a major contributor to the program schedule that serves the entire country. OPB is one of the most-used and most-supported public broadcasting services in the country and is generously supported by 120,000 contributors.

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