Spring is coming early in 3/4 of national parks, according to a new study. Awesome? Not so much. As flowers bloom earlier every year, it’s disrupting the link between the wildflowers and the arrival of birds, bees, and butterflies that feed on and pollinate the flowers. In Shenandoah, an earlier spring is giving invasive plants a head start, and they’re displacing native wildflowers, leading to costly management issues.
Before the 1960s almost everything about living openly as a lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) person was illegal. New York City laws against homosexual activities were particularly harsh. The Stonewall Uprising on June 28, 1969 is a milestone in the quest for LGBT civil rights and provided momentum for a movement.
Vine Creek Ranch at Death Valley National Park. Steady drought and record summer heat make Death Valley a land of extremes. Towering peaks are frosted with winter snow. Rare rainstorms bring vast fields of wildflowers. Lush oases harbor tiny fish and refuge for wildlife and humans. Despite its morbid name, a great diversity of life survives in Death Valley.
Located 2,600 miles southwest of Hawaii, the National Park of American Samoa is the most remote unit of the National Park System and the U.S. National Park south of the Equator. The Park spreads across three islands, 9,500 acres of tropical rainforest, and 4,000 acres of ocean, including coral reefs. While remote, the islands of American Samoa, true to the meaning of the word Samoa (Islands of Sacred Earth), are welcoming and offer beautiful landscapes and centuries of culture and history.
The conference agreement includes the following legislative riders:
BLM Grazing Permit Renewals. The conferees adopted the Senate version of the bill that requires the renewal by the BLM of grazing permits and leases expiring in 2001 until the Secretary completes processing of the permit or lease. The House version of the bill had provided that temporary renewal of grazing permits undergoing environmental compliance was discretionary with the Secretary.
Hardrock Mining/3809 Regulations. The conference agreement continues last year's requirement that new hardrock mining rules be "not inconsistent with" the National Research Council Report on "Hardrock Mining on Federal Lands". Report language states that the conference committee does not agree with a December 8, 1999 Solicitor's opinion interpreting last year's provision.
Reallocation of Alaska Tribes TPA. The Senate bill contained a provision that required TPA funds for Tribes in Alaska with less than 25 members to be provided to an Alaska Native Regional Corporation instead of directly to the Tribe. The conference agreement continues this provision, with changes to make clear that small tribes are to have no say in use of TPA funds that they would otherwise receive.
Interior Columbia Basin Ecosystem Management Project (ICBEMP). The bill contains a provision requiring the Departments of the Interior and Agriculture to bring the ICBEMP analysis into conformance with NEPA's requirements regarding "new circumstances or information" that have developed from the impact of this year's fires on the ecosystem, before completing a Record of Decision. The House version of the bill contained a provision prohibiting the use of funds to implement the final record of decision for the Interior Columbia Basin Ecosystem Management Project unless BLM and the Forest Service comply with rulemaking procedures under the Regulatory Flexibility Act.
Prohibition on Establishing Kankakee NWR (IL). The conferees included language in the House version of the bill that continues last year's provision limiting establishment of the Kankakee refuge in Indiana that is inconsistent with the Corps of Engineer's efforts to control flooding and siltation in that area.
Linear Rights-of-Way. The bill includes a provision that prevents the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service from issuing a rule that would permit collecting fair market value when granting right-of-way requests for fiber optic cable.
Prohibition on Closure of Backcountry Landing Strips. The bill includes a provision prohibiting the permanent closure of landing strips "officially recognized" by State or Federal officials without consulting with State and Federal aviation officials and obtaining approval from the FAA, where authorized.
Nye County Land Conveyance. The bill amends the Nye County, Nevada, land transfer provision of last year's Omnibus bill to allow the land to be transferred to the County for eventual conveyance to a nonprofit entity that will manage the conveyed land.
The conference agreement contains several other legislative provisions that appeared in last year's Interior and Related Agencies Act, including provisions relating to: lead mining in the Mark Twain National Forest; use of the Huron Cemetery in Kansas City , Kansas; a fee to trust acquisition for the Shoalwater Bay Indian Tribe in Clark County, Washington; and a limitation on the Secretarial Order concerning the ESA and tribal treaty rights.
The conference agreement includes a number of authorizing provisions, including the following:
Rec Fee Demo Program. Continues the recreation fee demonstration program for an additional year, through the end of FY 2002.
Umpqua Land Exchange. Funds the Umpqua Land Exchange Project in Oregon at $4.3 million and requires developed of an Umpqua land exchange plan.
The First Ladies National Historic Site Act of 2000. Establishes the First Ladies National Historic Site in Canton, Ohio.
Abraham Lincoln Interpretative Center. Authorizes $50 million in grants for establishment of an Abraham Lincoln interpretative center in Springfield, Illinois.
Palace of the Governors Annex Act. Authorizes grants of $15 million to assist construction of an annex to the Museum of New Mexico in Sante Fe.
Southwestern Pennsylvania Heritage Preservation Commission. Extends the authorization for the Commission for 10 years.
National Underground Railroad Freedom Center Act. Authorizes grants to support establishment of a National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Tribal School Construction Demonstration Program. Authorizes 50 percent grants to tribally controlled schools to support construction of new facilities.
Wheeling National Heritage Area Act of 2000. Authorizes the Wheeling, West Virginia, National Heritage Area.
Cuyahoga. The name of the Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation Area is changed to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
Blue Ridge Parkway. The park headquarters building at Hemphill Knob is named for Gary E. Everhardt, the longtime parkway superintendent and one-time Director of the National Park Service.
Chincoteague NWR. The visitors center is designated as the Herbert H. Bateman Educational and Administrative Center to honor recently deceased Representative Herbert Bateman.
Not included in the conference bill are several legislative provisions included in the House or Senate versions of the Interior bill or in the initial conference agreement.
Snake River Dams. The final agreement does not contain a provision added in conference that prohibited removal or breaching on day dam in the Federal Columbia River power system, as well as engineering or designing removal of any dam in the system or studying methods of mitigating the economic or cultural impact of the removal or breach of any such dam.
Indian Gaming. The final agreement drops a Senate-passed provision prohibiting the publication by the Secretary of class III gaming procedures to resolve State-Tribal disputes during 2001.
Tribal Contracting and Compacting. A House-passed moratorium on 638 contracting and compacting was dropped.
Prescribed Fire. A House floor amendment prohibiting the Interior Department and the Forest Service from changing the prescribed burn provisions of the 1995 Federal Wildfire policy was dropped.