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  • The rising sun paints a row of mountains beautiful shades of purple.
    Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Photo by Steve Harwood, CC BY-NC 2.0.

    Great Smoky Mountains National Park firewood restrictions

    January 5, 2015 | 2 minute read

    Transcript Greetings and welcome to the Southern Appalachian Creature Feature. 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. Firewood has long been known to be a vector for accidentally moving insects around, which can be a tremendous problem if it happens to be carrying invasive insects – it can very quickly enable those insects to spread their range into virgin territory, to the detriment of native forests.  Learn more...

  • A biologist in snorkle gear holds up a large fish.
    Jay Mays pulls a golden redhorse from the fyke net. Oconaluftee River. Photo by Gary Peeples, USFWS.

    Sicklefin redhorse conservation

    December 29, 2014 | 2 minute read

    Transcript Greetings and welcome to the Southern Appalachian Creature Feature. 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. The sicklefin is no small fish – growing up to 25 inches long, and it’s found only in the western tip of North Carolina and a tiny portion of north Georgia, and it’s a candidate for inclusion on the federal endangered species list.  Learn more...

  • Bright orange and red trees cover a fall landscape of mountains and vallies
    Pisgah National Forest. Photo by Jeff Gunn, CC BY 2.0.

    Hiking challenges

    December 15, 2014 | 2 minute read

    Transcript Greetings and welcome to the Southern Appalachian Creature Feature. 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. Fortunately the folks over at the Carolina Mountain Club present us with wonderful opportunities to exercise, experience all the goodness that comes from being in the great outdoors, and offers us a chance at a sense of accomplishment.  Learn more...

  • Water flows through a lush green forest
    Cold Springs Creek runs through Pisgah National Forest. Photo by Jim Liestman, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

    Pisgah National Forest restoration

    December 8, 2014 | 2 minute read

    Transcript Greetings and welcome to the Southern Appalachian Creature Feature. Nearly 6,000 acres of Pisgah National Forest’s Grandfather Ranger District were restored this past year, thanks to the help of numerous partners. The Grandfather district is a 192,000-acre portion of the forest, stretching from Old Fort to Blowing Rock. The 6,000-acre effort is part of the 10-year restoration effort that will touch 40,000 acres. The project is restoring fire-adapted ecosystems, increasing stream health, controlling non-native species and protecting hemlocks against hemlock woolly adelgids.  Learn more...

  • Ozone

    November 24, 2014 | 2 minute read

    Transcript Greetings and welcome to the Southern Appalachian Creature Feature 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.  Learn more...

  • A river running through a frozen valley.
    Pine Creek at dusk, Lycoming County, as seen from the Pine Creek Rail-Trail. Photo by Nicholas A. Tonelli, CC BY 2.0.

    Future of southern forests

    November 17, 2014 | 2 minute read

    Transcript Greetings and welcome to the Southern Appalachian Creature Feature. The U.S. 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. The Forest Service found that our Appalachian forests aren’t heavily influenced by wood prices, like softwood forests of the Piedmont and coastal plain, however, they do face the threat of conversion into a developed landscape with a growing population.  Learn more...

  • Snail with a large orange and black shell.
    Interrupted rocksnail. Photo by Tom Tarpley, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

    Roadmap to recovery

    November 10, 2014 | 2 minute read

    Transcript Greetings and welcome to the Southern Appalachian Creature Feature. 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. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently came out with a road map for recovering these animals.  Learn more...

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