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This Week at Interior August 23, 2013


August 23, 2013


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THIS WEEK… AT INTERIOR…

 

FOR THE FIFTH TIME IN THE LAST TEN YEARS, THE NATIONAL MULTI-AGENCY COORDINATING GROUP ELEVATED THE FIRE PREPAREDNESS TO LEVEL 5 - THE HIGHEST LEVEL - TO REFLECT THE HIGH DEGREE OF WILDFIRE ACTIVITY. THE FIRE FORECAST FOR MOST OF THE WESTERN UNITED STATES SHOWS NO BREAK IN HOT DRY WEATHER, CONTINUING ON INTO THE FALL… THIS YEAR, NEARLY 32-THOUSAND WILDFIRES HAVE BURNED NEARLY 3 AND a HALF MILLION ACRES. SECRETARY JEWELL CALLED THIS FIRE SEASON, WHICH HAS SEEN THE DEATHS OF 30 OF OUR NATION'S HEROIC FIREFIGHTERS, DIFFICULT AND TRAGIC… SHE SAYS SHE’S DEPENDING ON EVERYONE TO DO THEIR PART TO help MAKE OUR COMMUNITIES AND HOMES DEFENSIBLE AGAINST THE EXTREME WILD FIRES AND TO FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS OF LOCAL AUTHORITIES TO ENSURE SAFETY.

 

THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE SAYS THE WORK TO COMPLETE A CORRECTION ON THE STATUE HONORING THE REVEREND MARTIN LUTHER KING JUNIOR IS COMPLETE, JUST IN TIME FOR THIS WEEK’S FESTIVITIES COMMEMORATING THE 1963 *MARCH ON WASHINGTON.* AFTER CLOSE CONSULTATION WITH A RANGE OF STAKEHOLDERS, WORK HAD BEEN UNDERWAY SINCE JULY TO REMOVE THE ‘DRUM MAJOR’ QUOTE. THE PLAN TO REMOVE, INSTEAD OF REPLACE, THE QUOTE WAS RECOMMENDED BY THE ORIGINAL SCULPTOR AS THE SAFEST WAY TO ENSURE THE STRUCTURAL INTEGRITY OF THE MEMORIAL WAS NOT COMPROMISED.  

 

THIS WEEK MARKS THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON, AND DR. KING’S IMMORTAL *I HAVE A DREAM* SPEECH… A WEEK’S WORTH OF ACTIVITIES ARE PLANNED AROUND THE NATIONAL MALL, INCLUDING A MODERN DAY MARCH AND RALLY SATURDAY, AND THE GLOBAL FREEDOM FESTIVAL SATURDAY AND SUNDAY…IT ALL LEADS UP TO NEXT WEDNESDAY’S OFFICIAL COMMEMORATION AT THE LINCOLN MEMORIAL, WHERE PRESIDENT OBAMA, AND FORMER PRESIDENTS CLINTON AND CARTER, ARE SCHEDULED TO SPEAK.

 

AND THIS REMINDER FROM THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE… TO HELP CELEBRATE THE PARK SERVICE’S 97TH BIRTHDAY… *ALL* ADMISSION FEES TO NATIONAL PARK SERVICE SITES THIS SUNDAY, AUGUST 25TH, WILL BE WAIVED.  FOR MORE INFORMATION OR TO FIND A PARK NEAR YOU,VISIT WWW.NPS.GOV

 

BUREAU OF RECLAMATION COMMISSIONER MICHAEL CONNOR WAS IN NEW MEXICO THIS WEEK, TOURING IRRIGATION PROJECTS FUNDED BY RECLAMATION IN SANTO DOMINGO AND COCHITI PUEBLOS. DURING THAT VISIT CONNOR ALSO ANNOUNCED AN ADDITIONAL 750-THOUSAND DOLLARS IN PUEBLO FUNDING, AIMED AT FIGHTING BOTH DROUGHT, AND WILDFIRES CAUSED BY DROUGHT. CONNOR CALLS IT CRUCIAL FOR RECLAMATION TO WORK CLOSELY WITH THE PUEBLOS, AND MOVE FORWARD ON WAYS TO MITIGATE THE EFFECTS OF LIMITED WATER SUPPLIES.

 

AND BIOLOGISTS AT BISCAYNE NATIONAL PARK GAVE SOME NEWLY HATCHED BABY TURTLES THEIR VERY FIRST SWIM IN THE OPEN WATER THIS WEEK… THE BIOLOGISTS WERE EXCAVATING A GREEN SEA TURTLE NEST -– THE FIRST DOCUMENTED WITHIN THE PARK – ONLY TO DISCOVER THE 66 HATCHLINGS INSIDE, ABOUT TWO DAYS OLD, APPARENTLY ENTANGLED IN ROOTS AND OTHER VEGETATION. THE BIOLOGISTS HELPED GET THEM FREE, AND GOT THEM TO THE WATER. GREEN SEA TURTLES, ALONG WITH ALL OTHER SEA TURTLES, ARE AN ENDANGERED SPECIES… THE BIOLOGISTS NEEDED A SPECIAL PERMIT TO EXCAVATE THE NEST, AND THEN RESCUE, THE TURTLE HATCHLINGS.

 

THAT’S THIS WEEK, AT INTERIOR.