Segment Number: 201

The Colorado River brings drinking water, irrigation, recreation and livelihood to millions of people in the West. But it’s clear now that there’s not an unlimited supply of this precious resource. Business owners on and near the river are working to make sure their neighbors, and policy makers in Washington, get a complete picture of how critical this river is. Traveling through Arizona and northern Mexico, Bruce Burkhardt shows us there’s a lot that needs to be done to protect these waters now and for the future.

Different hikers get different inspiration from the Cherokee National Forest in Tennessee. An artist takes photos that she will later paint; a woodworker studies how trees grow to get ideas for the furniture he builds; and a retired Marine gives back to his community by clearing fallen limbs from the trail. They all support a Congressional designation of this beautiful area as wilderness, so it will be preserved from development for future generations. From the amphibians to the wildflowers to the fishes—the array of diversity in the southern Appalachian forest is just astounding!

Shy, smart, curious and vulnerable: Manatees are slow-moving marine mammals that have not had it easy in recent decades. Diseases and red tide, but mostly strikes from boats and propellers, have killed and injured hundreds of them. Both Florida and federal authorities are stepping up protection of manatees, especially in their winter sanctuaries on the state’s west coast. Veterinarians and volunteers conduct physicals on these gentle giants to gauge their health and long- term outlook. Our host Caroline Raville swims with some manatees to bring us the story!

Removing a dam can cause big changes to a community, and to the environment. Before cities make the decision to take down a dam that’s either deteriorating or no longer needed, they must be prepared. Researchers at Dartmouth College use sophisticated tools to study river systems to help predict what will happen when the dam is gone. It’s all about “shoring up” what we know about how rivers flow, in order to make smart choices when it is time for a dam to come down.