Caleb McAdoo, Nevada Department of Wildlife biologist, takes us on a tour through disappearing sagebrush country. The Martin Fire, the biggest wildfire in Nevada state history, burned through 435,000 acres in 2018. After fires, sagebrush has to contend with a faster growing plant, cheatgrass. The loss of sagebrush is bad news for the Greater Sage-Grouse, a highly endangered bird. Get the full story on BirdNote Presents.
Written by Ashley Ahearn
This is BirdNote.
Caleb McAdoo has lived in Nevada all his life. He’s a biologist with the state’s department of wildlife, and he loves sagebrush country. He grew up here hunting, fishing and spending time with his family.
But it’s a landscape that is changing before Caleb’s eyes. The sagebrush he knew as a boy is burning.
[Car ambi enters]
We’re driving through an area that burned in the Martin Fire two years ago — the biggest wildfire in Nevada state history. Almost 700 square miles burned.
Caleb McAdoo: Those fires keep getting bigger and bigger and bigger, and it’s an exponential loss. And growing up here in Nevada, you see it. It’s not a sea of sagebrush anymore. We are losing it. It is going away, and it is vastly altered. It’s really depressing.
It’s not just the fires that are changing the landscape, it’s what comes after. An invasive plant known as cheatgrass is moving in. It grows faster and burns more regularly than sagebrush, and it’s taking over.
But the sagebrush is a crucial habitat for a weird, wonderful bird, the Greater Sage-Grouse — and it’s in a lot of trouble these days.
Join me for a trip to Nevada sage-grouse country to find out what fire means for these amazing birds on the latest episode of Grouse. Subscribe to BirdNote Presents wherever you get your podcasts, or head to BirdNote.org. I’m Ashley Ahearn.
Producer: John Kessler
Production Manager: Allison Wilson
Editor: Ashley Ahearn
Producer: Mark Bramhill
Associate Producer: Ellen Blackstone
BirdNote’s theme was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
© 2020 BirdNote September 2020 Narrator: Ashley Ahearn
ID# GRSG-05-2020-09-22 GRSG-05