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News Filed Under Natural Resources

A pile of large gray rocks stretches across a ditch in a country setting.
March 16, 2018 - Filed Under: Environment, Water Quality

This time of year seems to be a never-ending battle with Mother Nature. As the rain pours down, water levels in ditches, creeks, rivers and storm drains rise rapidly, increasing flood risk in urban and rural areas.

Man waters garden flowers from a water hose.
March 9, 2018 - Filed Under: Environment, Water

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- How much water do we use each day? This may sound like a simple question until we consider the direct and indirect ways we use water.

Direct water use includes the indoor and outdoor water that we physically use when we turn on a faucet in our bathrooms, kitchens or gardens. It is what most of us think of when we are asked how much water we use, but the truth is that we consume a lot of water indirectly too.

March 8, 2018 - Filed Under: Natural Resources

Teachers who want to provide hands-on learning about nature can bring students to a March 29 field day at the Mississippi State University Crosby Arboretum in Picayune.

March 7, 2018 - Filed Under: Commercial Fruit and Nuts, Green Industry, Organic Fruit and Vegetables, Other Vegetables, Corn, Cotton, Nuts, Peanuts, Soybeans, Equine, Goats and Sheep, Poultry, Lawn and Garden, Forestry, Seafood Economics, Seafood Harvesting and Processing

ELLISVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi State University representatives met with agricultural clients in Ellisville recently to discuss research and education needs for 2018. More than 115 individuals attended this year's event.

A mother duck floats with her four babies on a pond.
March 2, 2018 - Filed Under: Wildlife

Valentine's Day may be over but not the romance. Spring is just around the corner, and that means the start of the breeding season for wildlife. The chirps and trills of spring peepers and chorus frogs now rise into the night. Bird song greets the morning. A new season of growth and life has begun.

Ring of fire from a planned burn surrounds pine trees in a forest.
March 2, 2018 - Filed Under: Forestry, Forest Ecology

March is a good time for landowners to take steps to prevent wildfires, not only because it is Wildfire Prevention Month, but also because more fires occur this month.

Heather Alexander, an assistant professor in the Mississippi State University Forest and Wildlife Research Center, said March sees more wildfires than summer months because it is a time of transition between winter and spring.

Several dead catfish and other fish species float clustered along  the edge of a pond.
February 23, 2018 - Filed Under: Environment, Fisheries

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- From February through April, calls begin coming in about sick and dying fish in backyard ponds.

A thin, eight-point buck stands beside a wall with drool coming from his mouth.
February 16, 2018 - Filed Under: Chronic Wasting Disease, White-Tailed Deer

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Shock. Disbelief. Denial. Anger. Acceptance. Get busy. This pretty much sums up my range of emotions after the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks released a statement that a 4-year-old buck tested positive for chronic wasting disease, or CWD, in Issaquena County last week.

Several ripe persimmons hang from tree branches surrounded by green leaves.
February 9, 2018 - Filed Under: Plants and Wildlife, Trees, White-Tailed Deer

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Deer season is over, and prescribed fire, timber management, planting food plots and other habitat improvements come later in the year, but one activity that's perfect for February and early March is planting trees.

A partially filled pond with minimal plant life visible around the banks.
February 2, 2018 - Filed Under: Environment, Fisheries

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Terms like climate change or global warming may elicit different responses depending on your political viewpoints, but one thing is certain: Our weather is changing.

Four people pose for a photo with the award presented to the Mississippi State University Extension Service for its support of the Wildflower Trails of Mississippi Project.
February 2, 2018 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Forages, Grasses, Management - Forages, Natural Resources, Environment

RAYMOND, Miss. -- The Mississippi State University Extension Service recently received a national award from Keep America Beautiful for its role in the Wildflower Trails of Mississippi Project.

Two sturdy wire gates are raised in the large round corral trap. An automatic feeder on a tall tripod is inside the pen.
January 26, 2018 - Filed Under: Nuisance Wildlife and Damage Management

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Late winter is the peak time for trapping wild hogs, and the door or gate is a vitally important component in the construction of any enclosure.

Several brown and multicolored adult and young hogs sniff the ground inside and outside a round wire pen with a wooden door suspended over the opening.
January 19, 2018 - Filed Under: Nuisance Wildlife and Damage Management, Operation HOG

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Wild hogs are a tremendous problem for farmers and landowners throughout the state of Mississippi.

A drainage ditch with moving water, limbs, and trash.
January 12, 2018 - Filed Under: Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Most people who enjoy nature and being outdoors are careful to avoid littering -- not only because it is unsightly, but also because it can harm natural resources. Bottles, for example, can become death traps for small critters seeking food and water. Bottles and other trash can clog drainage ditches and waterways, creating additional challenges, especially if they contained toxins or other pollutants.

January 12, 2018 - Filed Under: Crops, Weed Control for Crops, Farming, Environment

ROLLING FORK, Miss. -- The Mississippi State University Extension Service invites producers, landowners and professionals in the Delta to a Cover Crop Field Day Jan. 19.

A gray squirrel pauses as it climbs a tree.
January 5, 2018 - Filed Under: Housing and Homebuyer, Wildlife Economics and Enterprises

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- The coldest days of winter do not seem to slow squirrel activity.

One significant reason is that mating season for eastern gray squirrels lasts through January, and babies arrive about six weeks later.

Most squirrels build nests for these babies in the forks of tree branches or in the hollows of tree trunks. Their nests are created mostly out of dry leaves and twigs.

Three varieties of milkweed grow in four containers inside a greenhouse at the Mississippi State University South Mississippi Branch Experiment Station in Poplarville.
January 5, 2018 - Filed Under: Flower Gardens, Landscape and Garden Design, Environment

Mississippi gardeners who plan to incorporate more pollinator plants into their landscapes can consider native milkweed and begin gathering seed for indoor propagation.

A sign nailed to a pine tree in a wooded area that reads, “POSTED PRIVATE PROPERTY.”
December 29, 2017 - Filed Under: Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- When you invite guests to your private property for outdoor recreation, there are several ways to reduce potential liability concerns that could arise.

First, your duty as a landowner depends on the status of the visitor who is on your property. A landowner owes no duty to trespassers other than not to intentionally harm them.

Graphic illustration showing economic impact of wild hog damage to Mississippi agriculture: $298,000 to repair damage, $209,000 for control measures, $160,000 labor costs and $85,000 in lost crops.
December 22, 2017 - Filed Under: Nuisance Wildlife and Damage Management, Operation HOG

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- In recent years, wild pigs have been a controversial topic in wildlife and agricultural discussions from top government officials to local farmers talking over the fence.

Wild pigs are considered nuisance animals in Mississippi because of their ability to create widespread and devastating damage. Many researchers and wildlife managers have suggested that wild pigs could be North America’s most threatening invasive mammal species in terms of agricultural damage, disease transmission, native plant survival and water quality.

 Forestry year-end harvest values from 1940 through 2017, 1940 = $27.3 million, 1950 = $117.5 million, 1960 = $66.8 million, 1970 = $122.6 million, 1980 = $525.5 million, 1990 = $737.5 million, 2000 = $1.3 billion, 2010 = $1 billion, 2017 = $1.4 billion
December 19, 2017 - Filed Under: Forestry, Forestry Impacts, Marketing, Timber Prices, Forest Pests, Timber Harvest

RAYMOND, Miss. -- Despite a slow housing market and other lingering effects of the recession, Mississippi’s forests remain the state’s second most valuable agricultural commodity for 2017.

John Auel, an assistant Extension professor of forestry at Mississippi State University, estimates the value of forest products is $1.4 billion, which is a decrease of 8.6 percent from 2016. However, 2017 numbers are almost 40 percent higher than they were in 2009, when the industry experienced its lowest valued harvest of the 2007-2009 recession.