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News Filed Under Natural Resources

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.

A drainage pipe, with stones leading to the creek bed, emptying into Catalpa Creek.
December 8, 2017 - Filed Under: Environment, Water

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- All of us live in a particular town, county, state and country. Just as importantly, we also live in a specific watershed.

Everyone on earth resides in and interacts with a watershed on a daily basis. Watersheds are natural landscape boundaries that define an area that drains into a stream, river, lake, reservoir or ocean. Watersheds can range from a few acres to thousands of square miles. They are also nested, meaning smaller watersheds make up larger watersheds.

 A closeup of the official Monarch Waystation sign is shown in the revitalized children's educational garden at the MSU Crosby Arboretum
December 4, 2017 - Filed Under: Master Gardener, Plants and Wildlife, Places for Wildlife, Urban and Backyard Wildlife

A project by the Pearl River County Master Gardeners aims to help increase populations of monarch butterflies by providing habitat and educating the public.

This past spring, the group revamped a portion of the children’s educational garden at the Mississippi State University Crosby Arboretum to serve as an official, certified Monarch Waystation. Master Gardener members recently dedicated the garden with the placement of a sign from Monarch Watch, the nonprofit organization that manages the waystation program.

Hunter wearing camouflage secures a portable platform to the side of a tree.
December 1, 2017 - Filed Under: 4-H Safety Programs, White-Tailed Deer

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Although they are beneficial as a hunting tool to increase visibility, elevated tree stands come with many safety concerns.

Fortunately, it is easier than ever to hunt safely from trees. When using a tree stand, design choice and placement location are your most important decisions. Finding a healthy, large tree with no visible signs of damage or rot is essential when using fixed, permanent or ladder-style tree stands. These stands require a sturdy base to mount and climbing gear to reach ideal hunting height.

A group of adults gather outside a metal corral with electronics attached to it with a speaker inside the trap.
November 22, 2017 - Filed Under: Nuisance Wildlife and Damage Management, Operation HOG

Hunting season preparation is done to increase our odds of harvesting some of the special and iconic native species that we are fortunate to have in Mississippi, whether we're targeting white-tailed deer, small game, waterfowl or a combination of quarry.

Whatever we hunt throughout the rifle season, we all want to increase the success of our outdoor, sport-hunting experience -- while at the same time, decreasing the available space in our freezers.

Close-up photo of a brown and white owl as it looks off to the right.
November 17, 2017 - Filed Under: Wildlife Youth Education, Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. – What do Harry Potter, Winnie the Pooh, the U.S. Forest Service, Tootsie Pops and Xyzal have in common? All prominently feature owls in their stories and marketing campaigns.

Some owls help sell products such as lollipops and allergy medications. Others sell ideas, like the Forest Service's Woodsy Owl -- "Give a Hoot, Don't Pollute." Harry had a pet owl named Hedwig, and Winnie had a friend named Owl.

A pair of hands pull rich soil from the ground with green grass around it.
November 10, 2017 - Filed Under: Crops, Farming, Natural Resources, Environment

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- A recent survey revealed that thousands of farmers are planting cover crops and reporting benefits from the practice.

While only a few respondents to the fifth annual cover crop survey were from Mississippi, the study revealed more landowners appreciate the practice of growing crops to protect and enrich the soil. Most respondents were from the Midwest in the survey conducted by the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program and the Conservation Technology Information Center.

November 6, 2017 - Filed Under: Agricultural Economics, Environment

The Mississippi State University Extension Service invites producers interested in protecting natural resources on their land to attend an upcoming conservation landowner workshop.

Bats roosting in the cavity of large tree.
November 3, 2017 - Filed Under: Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Cooler fall weather leads bats and other wildlife in search of shelter for the winter months.

Bats are an integral part of Mississippi’s ecosystem balance, consuming large quantities of unwanted insects and supporting forest communities. However, they can become nuisances when groups of bats, called colonies, take up residence in homes or other buildings.

Two young men wearing camouflage sit in a small boat with a black dog, all looking out on the water on a sunny day.
October 27, 2017 - Filed Under: Wildlife

Hunting is a wonderful, fulfilling pastime that helps friends and family forge lifetime relationships that might not emerge to the same extent in other settings.

In addition to a withdrawn and disconnected outdoor user base, we have a wide diversity of ideals and beliefs of the people who participate in outdoor activities.

A teenage boy proudly holds up a catfish on his fishing line.
October 20, 2017 - Filed Under: Wildlife, Urban and Backyard Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- The first settlers of North America did not realize all that they were going to find in the New World.

When European settlers came to North American, they wanted things to be different in their new country. History books tell us the promise of religious freedom, cheap land and economic opportunities gave them courage to make the long, dangerous and expensive trip. 

October 20, 2017 - Filed Under: Nuisance Wildlife and Damage Management, Operation HOG

Wild hogs are known to cause external damage to land, property and wildlife, but the internal diseases they carry are equally dangerous.

More than 40 known diseases are traced to wild hogs, but the two most common in Mississippi are pseudorabies and swine brucellosis. Each can be deadly to livestock and domestic animals. The best way to prevent these infections is to trap and kill hogs rather than simply building fences to keep them out.

The cut across the tip of this gray cat’s right ear is visible as it looks at the camera while standing in a barnyard.
October 13, 2017 - Filed Under: Wildlife

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Feral cat control has been hotly debated in recent years because of concerns over lethal measures to limit the numbers of animals many consider to be pets.

Many of us have experienced the feel-good act of feeding or housing a stray cat. With so many cats roaming freely, how can we tell if a cat is wandering, homeless or feral? Knowing the difference can allow you to take the most humane action in helping the cat. 

An orange wild hog with large black spots stands in a trap with two black wild hogs in the background.
October 13, 2017 - Filed Under: Nuisance Wildlife and Damage Management, Operation HOG

The first rule of transporting wild hogs is to not transport wild hogs. Bronson Strickland is the Mississippi State University Extension Service wildlife biologist and management specialist. He said the best way residents can help eradicate wild hogs is to hunt them while also trapping and killing them. Hunters who bring wild hogs into the state or relocate them for hunting, however, are committing a crime.

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