This American Land

Fish Lifts for River Herring, Biofuel Start-ups, Fabulous Fungi, Prickly Pear Cactus for Clean Water

Thursday, Nov 26, 10 a.m. on Vermont PBS Plus
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Every spring, on the Saugatucket River in Rhode Island, tens of thousands of river herring try to swim upriver from the Atlantic to spawn, facing dams on the river that block their way. Many fish find it too exhausting to use fish ladders on the dams, and they give up their struggle. But happily there are people who volunteer to help the fish on their journey, using buckets in an effort called a "fish lift" to get the herring over the dams. We look at the new frontier in renewable sources of energy - sources grown as agricultural crops. New biofuel enterprises based on switchgrass, corn stover and wood waste are still in the start-up stage, trying to develop their technologies, scale up their production, and secure a market for their ethanol product with some controversial government support. Living on the San Juan Islands off the coast of Washington State means being conscious about protecting the land, water, and wildlife High school students on Orca Island are keeping their water clean with some help from Mother Nature. Our Science Nation report takes us to a lab where researchers are testing a Mexican folk recipe: using the "goo" inside prickly pear cactus to purify water contaminated by chemicals or oil spills.



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