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This Week at Interior July 25, 2014


July 25, 2014


Secretary Jewell on Capitol Hill to call for full and permanent funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund; Deputy Secretary Mike Connor in Colorado for a tour of the Colorado-Big Thompson Project; the water level at Lake Mead reaches historic lows; USGS has a new Coastal Change Hazards Portal that lets users track the changes on the coastline through the past, present, and future; a new natural national landmark is designated at Albany Pine Bush New York; and the bull trout are once again spawning in the Clackamas River basin after a 50-year absence 


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THIS WEEK, AT INTERIOR…

 

SECRETARY JEWELL ON CAPITOL HILL THIS WEEK TO CALL FOR FULL AND PERMANENT FUNDING FOR THE LAND AND WATER CONSERVATION FUND, WHICH WAS PASSED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES 50 YEARS AGO THIS WEEK. THE SECRETARY JOINED MONTANA SENATORS JON TESTER AND JOHN WALSH, OREGON SENATOR RON WYDEN AND NATIONAL HUNTING AND FISHING GROUPS TO DISCUSS THE FUND’S WIDESPREAD SUCCESS IN INVESTING IN OUR NATION’S LAND, WATER AND WILDLIFE HERITAGE. THE IDEA IS THAT OPEN SPACES, INCLUDING HUNTING AND FISHING ACCESS POINTS, AMONG OTHERS, ARE FUNDED BY A SMALL PORTION OF REVENUES FROM OIL AND GAS DRILLING IN WATERS OWNED BY THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. ONLY ONCE SINCE ITS CREATION IN 1964 HAS IT BEEN FULLY FUNDED BY CONGRESS. 

 

THE VALUE OF THE LAND AND WATER CONSERVATION FUND TO SPORTSMEN, TO ACCESS, TO LOCAL COMMUNITIES, TO RURAL ECONOMIES IS SO IMPORTANT TO THE HEALTH OF THE RURAL UNITED STATES. THIS PROGRAM IS ALSO THE BRIDGE THAT GETS PEOPLE INTO THOSE LOCAL PARKS, THAT GETS THEM OUT INTO OUR BROADER PUBLIC LANDS AND MAKES THEM SPORTS MEN OR WOMEN WHO ARE GOING TO CARRY THIS CONSERVATION LEGACY FORWARD.

 

DEPUTY SECRETARY MIKE CONNOR IN COLORADO THIS WEEK, FOR A TOUR OF THE COLORADO-BIG THOMPSON PROJECT… CONNOR’S VISIT COMES ONE YEAR AFTER INTERIOR AND THE U-S DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE SIGNED AN AGREEMENT AIMED AT REDUCING THE NEGATIVE EFFECTS OF WILDFIRES ON OUR NATION’S WATER SUPPLY. THE DEPUTY SECRETARY TOURED THE PROJECT AND SALUTED ALL THE FEDERAL, STATE, TRIBAL AND LOCAL AGENCIES WORKING TOGETHER IN COLORADO AND THROUGHOUT THE REGION. 

 

THE WESTERN DROUGHT IS TAKING A TOLL ON LAKE MEAD, WHERE THE WATER LEVEL BEHIND THE HOOVER DAM HAS FALLEN TO ITS LOWEST WATER LEVEL SINCE THAT DAM’S CONSTRUCTION IN THE 1930’S. THE WATER STANDS AT JUST OVER ONE THOUSAND 81 FEET DEEP… THE BUREAU OF RECLAMATION ESTIMATES THE LAKE LEVEL WILL FALL ALMOST ANOTHER FOOT BY NOVEMBER. DESPITE THE DROP RECLAMATION SAYS THE DAM WILL STILL MEET ALL ITS WATER REQUIREMENTS FOR FOLKS DOWNSTREAM.

 

ON THE COASTS IT’S SOMETIMES A CASE OF TOO *MUCH* WATER..AND THIS WEEK THE USGS HAS A NEW TOOL TO TRACK CHANGES ON THE U-S COASTLINES, HOME TO 40 PERCENT OF OUR POPULATION… THE USGS COASTAL CHANGE HAZARDS PORTAL ALLOWS ANYONE TO INTERACTIVELY SEE WHAT THEIR COAST LOOKS LIKE NOW, WHAT IT LOOKED LIKE 50 OR EVEN 150 YEARS AGO, AND PERHAPS MOST IMPORTANTLY, WHAT IT MIGHT LOOK LIKE IN THE FUTURE, AS A RESULT OF RISING SEA LEVELS FROM CLIMATE CHANGE, OR IN THE WAKE OF AN EXTREME STORM. YOU CAN FIND THAT PORTAL AT USGS.GOV.

 

THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE THIS WEEK ANNOUNCED THE DESIGNATION OF ALBANY PINE BUSH IN EASTERN NEW YORK AS A NATIONAL NATURAL LANDMARK… ALBANY PINE BUSH IS 

ONE OF THE WORLD’S BEST EXAMPLES OF AN INLAND PINE BARREN ECOSYSTEM… IT PROVIDES A HABITAT FOR MORE THAN 1300 PLANT SPECIES, AND 156 BIRD SPECIES AMONG OTHERS… IT’S ALSO HOME TO THE ENDANGERED KARNER BLUE BUTTERFLY. ALBANY PINE BUSH JOINS 596 OTHER SITES ACROSS THE COUNTRY DESIGNATED FOR THEIR SPECIFIC BIOLOGICAL OR GEOLOGICAL FEATURES.

 

AND AFTER A 50-YEAR ABSENCE THE BULL TROUT ARE ONCE AGAIN SPAWNING THROUGHOUT OREGON’S CLACKAMAS RIVER BASIN… ONCE ABUNDANT IN THE REGION, THE BULL TROUT VANISHED IN THE EARLY 1960’S AND THE FISH WAS LISTED AS THREATENED IN THE LATE 1990’S. FOUR YEARS AGO THE FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE BEGAN A LONG-TERM RE-INTRODUCTION PROJECT, TRANSFERRING FISH INTO THE CLACKAMAS FROM AREAS WHERE THEY STILL LIVE IN HEALTHY NUMBERS. THE FIRST SPAWNING IN THE CLACKAMAS WAS REPORTED LATER THAT YEAR… NOW FOUR YEARS INTO THE PROJECT, SCIENTISTS SAY THE BULL TROUT IS ONCE AGAIN FLOURISHING IN THE CLACKAMAS AREA, RESTORING A KEY COMPONENT OF THE RIVER’S ECOSYSTEM.

 

THAT THIS WEEK, AT INTERIOR.