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This Week at Interior August 1, 2014


August 1, 2014


Interior joins forces with the AFL-CIO's Union Sportsmen Alliance on projects to renew, rebuild, and restore the nation's public lands; a new report shows up to a quarter of National Park land could be vulnerable to vegetation shifts due to climate change and habitat loss; $3 million in grants are announced to restore the longleaf pine ecosystem; the grand opening of the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden, which is situated near abandoned mines and is home to an active re-mining site; and after 50 years nesting bald eagles have returned to San Clemente Island. 


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THIS WEEK AT INTERIOR…

 

SECRETARY JEWELL THIS WEEK ANNOUNCED THAT INTERIOR IS PARTNERING WITH THE AFL-CIO’S UNION SPORTSMEN’S ALLIANCE, OR *U-S-A*, TO REBUILD, RENEW, AND RESTORE OUR NATIONAL PARKS, WILDLIFE REFUGES, AND OTHER PUBLIC LANDS. THE AGREEMENT PAIRS THE U-S-A’S SKILLED VOLUNTEER LABOR FORCE WITH SHOVEL-READY PROJECTS ACROSS THE COUNTRY. THE VOLUNTEERS WILL WORK ALONGSIDE YOUTH AND VETERANS CONSERVATION CORPS, CREATING WHAT SECRETARY JEWELL CALLED A WIN-WIN. PROJECTS HAVE ALREADY BEEN IDENTIFIED IN ILLINOIS, OHIO, VIRGINIA, MARYLAND, NEVADA, TEXAS, AND WISCONSIN.

 

A NEW REPORT THIS WEEK SHOWS THAT UP TO ONE QUARTER OF ALL U-S NATIONAL PARK LAND COULD BE VULNERABLE TO VEGETATION SHIFTS CAUSED BY A COMBINATION OF CLIMATE CHANGE, AND HABITAT LOSS. THE REPORT, PUBLISHED IN GLOBAL CHANGE BIOLOGY, SHOWS THAT CLIMATE CHANGE, MATCHED WITH HABITAT LOSS CAUSED BY ROADS, URBANIZATION, AGRICULTURE AND DEFORESTATION, IS PUTTING A TREMENDOUS AMOUNT OF LANDSCAPE AT RISK… THE REPORT COULD HELP PROVIDE LANDSCAPE MANAGERS WITH VITAL INFORMATION AS THEY DEVISE ADAPTATION STRATEGIES. YOU CAN FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THAT REPORT AT NPS.GOV

 

DEPUTY SECRETARY MIKE CONNOR JOINED ROBERT BONNIE WITH USDA AND THE NATIONAL FISH AND WILDLIFE FOUNDATION LAST WEEK TO ANNOUNCE MORE THAN THREE MILLION DOLLARS IN GRANTS TO FURTHER RESTORE THE LONGLEAF PINE ECOSYSTEM, WHICH ONCE STRETCHED FROM VIRGINIA TO TEXAS. FIFTEEN PROJECTS ACROSS EIGHT STATES HAVE BEEN SELECTED TO RECEIVE THE FUNDING… ULTIMATELY SOME 11-THOUSAND-EIGHT-HUNDRED ACRES WILL BE RESTORED, AND MORE THAN 116-THOUSAND ACRES OF EXISTING HABITAT WILL BE ENHANCED. THE GRANTS ARE MANAGED BY THE LONGLEAF STEWARDSHIP FUND, A PUBLIC PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP SUPPORTED IN PART BY THE U-S FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE, THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE’S U-S FOREST SERVICE, AND THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE.

 

THE GRAND OPENING THIS WEEK OF THE PITTSBURGH BOTANIC GARDEN, WHICH IS NEAR ABANDONED COAL MINES AND HOME TO AN ACTIVE RE-MINING SITE.  OVER THE LAST SEVERAL YEARS, INTERIOR’S OFFICE OF SURFACE MINING RECLAMATION AND ENFORCEMENT HAS PROVIDED FUNDING AND TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE FOR COMMUNITY PARTNERS TO TREAT SOME OF THE IMPACTS THAT PREVIOUS MINING ACTIVITIES HAD ON THE WATER SOURCES ONSITE. THE SECRETARY SALUTED THE PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP THAT SAW THE PROJECT THROUGH AND WILL CONTINUE TO WORK TOGETHER AT THE 460-ACRE SITE. 

 

AND AFTER 50 YEARS A PAIR OF BALD EAGLES IS NESTING ON SAN CLEMENTE ISLAND. FISH AND WILDLIFE OFFICIALS SAY THAT DISCOVERY MEANS THAT BALD EAGLES HAVE RE-ESTABLISHED THEIR TERRITORIES ON FIVE OF THE EIGHT CHANNEL ISLANDS, AFTER VANISHING FROM THOSE ISLANDS IN THE 1960’S AFTER THE INSECTICIDE D-D-T CONTAMINATED THE LOCAL FOOD CHAIN. THIS YEAR’S OVERALL SEASON YIELDED 16 BREEDING PAIRS OF EAGLES, WITH 14 EAGLE CHICKS JOINING THE POPULATION OF MORE THAN 60 EAGLES LIVING THROUGHOUT THE ISLANDS.

 

THAT’S THIS WEEK, AT INTERIOR.