Friday, June 21, 2013

Spring Plantings for Pollinators Perk Up the Garden

Submitted by: Jessica Gonzales

All gardeners know that spring is the time to give the garden a “face lift” for summer. In our Pollinator Garden, the work began early to prepare for the arrival of beneficial insects and birds eager to forage on nectar and pollen. 

Flowers welcome our wonderful pollinators - Photo credit: Jessica Gonzales (USFWS)
This spring, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), teamed up to add new plants, such as showy penstemon, mountain hollyhock, snow buckwheat, arrowleaf balsamroot and snowberry, and a new thick layer of bark mulch to the office’s Pollinator Garden. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

How Sweet It Is: FWS Teaches Students About Pollinator Conservation

Submitted by: Jeff Chan

On a recent warm, spring day in Olympia, Washington, students at GRuB farm donned space-aged looking suits as they prepared to step into the world of the honeybee. 

Students walk the path to the honey bee hive.  Photo credit: Teal Waterstrat (USFWS)
With the assistance of Teal Waterstrat, a Pathways Technician with the Service, we showed the group the inner workings of a honeybee hive - home to one of our nation's greatest pollinators.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Mysterious Case of the Missing Mussel

Submitted by: Joe Bartoszek, Ph.D., Resource Contaminant Specialist (USFWS)

This is the 3rd installment of this story. To learn more, read "Mussels in a Desert?!" and “What Happened to Pearlshell Mussels in the Hanford Reach?

The western pearlshell, once abundant in the Hanford Reach of the Columbia River in southeastern Washington, can no longer be found. Although the cause for their disappearance is not known, the long-lived mussel (some individuals have been aged at more than 100 years) may have suffered from releases of contaminants from the Hanford Department of Energy site.

      Pearlshell mussel collected from the Eel River, CA. Photo credit: Dr. Chris Barnhart    

The Hanford Natural Resource Trustees would like to understand what happened to mussels in the river by testing potential sensitivity to contaminants released from the site, particularly hexavalent chromium (the contaminant made famous in the Erin Brockovich movie).