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.
Summary: Conference Action on the FY 2002 Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill
Conferees met to complete work on the 2002 Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations bill on October 10, 2001, and filed a conference report on Thursday, October 11, 2001. House and Senate floor action are expected to occur very soon.
In total, the Interior bill provides $19.1 billion, compared to the $18.7 billion Senate bill and the $18.9 billion House-passed bill. The conference bill is $185.9 million or one percent over the 2001 enacted level of $18.9 billion and $1.0 billion or 5.6 percent over the 2002 President's budget request of $18.1 billion. The bill provides a total of $2.2 billion for Interior and Forest Service to implement the National Wildland Fire Plan, including $400.0 million in contingent emergency funding.
For the Department of the Interior, the conference bill provides $9.4 billion. This is $268.7 million or 2.9 percent above the President's budget, and $48.8 million or 0.5 percent above the 2001 enacted level. The 2001 enacted level includes $72.4 million in supplemental funding. Excluding this supplemental funding from the comparison, the 2002 conference bill is $121.2 million or 1.3 percent above the 2001 enacted funding level.
For the priorities requested in the President's budget, the conference bill provides the following:
$144.0 million for Land and Water Conservation Fund State Grants. The Congress did not adopt the President's budget proposal for an expanded LWCF grants program funded at $450.0 million, but reduced funding for State grants and restored funding to a number of wildlife grant programs and the Urban Parks and Recreation Recovery program.
$50.0 million for Landowner Incentive and Stewardship Grants. Th is a reduction of $10.0 million from the President's budget request of $60.0 million, the level included in both the House and Senate marks.
$455.9 million is included in the conference bill for NPS construction and repair and rehabilitation, $16.3 million higher than the President's budget request.
$49.5 million for the NPS Natural Resource Challenge. This includes an increase of $20.0 million over the 2001 enacted level, consistent with the President's budget and the House and Senate marks.
$292.5 million for Bureau of Indian Affairs education construction, $3.0 million less than the Senate and the same as the House and the budget request. This includes $122.8 million for six replacement schools, the same as the House and Senate and the President's budget.
$545.1 million for BIA education programs, the same as the Senate and an increase of $2.0 million above the House mark and the President's budget request. The $2.0 million increase is for tribal community colleges.
$60.9 million for Indian land and water settlements, the same as the President's budget request and the amount included in both House and Senate bills.
$228.6 million for trust reform including $118.4 million in BIA programs and $110.2 million in the Office of the Special Trustee. This is the same as the amount requested in the President's budget.
$29.0 million in increases over the 2001 level for energy programs including an increase of $19.0 million for BLM and $10.0 million for MMS' Outer Continental Shelf program.
$678.4 million for wildland fire management. This includes $20.0 million above the request in the President's budget for burned area rehabilitation. The appropriation for wildland fire management includes $54.0 million in contingent emergency funding.
A comparison of funding levels in the conference bill for bureaus is provided as Attachment 1. Attachment 2 provides a comparison of key numbers in the conference mark.
The conferees provided $9.0 million for endangered species listing, an increase of $524,000 above the President's request, and adopted House language establishing a separate spending 'subcap' for critical habitat designation. This differs from bill language proposed in the President's budget to allow FWS to expend listing funds to comply with existing court orders and according to a biologically-based priority system.
The bill includes $1.32 billion for the Conservation Spending Category. This is $112 million more than last year and $62 million more than the President's request. Within this amount there is a total of $1.0 billion for Interior programs, including:
$144 million for LWCF State grants;
$279.2 million for Federal land acquisition;
$85.0 million for State wildlife grants of which $5.0 million is for competitive Tribal grants;
$30.0 million for Urban Parks and Recreation Recovery;
$43.5 million for the North American Wetlands Conservation Fund;
$74.5 million for NPS historic preservation including $30.0 million for the Save America's Treasures program;
$50.0 million for the new FWS Landowner Incentive and Stewardship programs; and
$96.2 million for the Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund.
A summary of funding for CSC is provided in Attachment 3.
The conferees fund Payments in Lieu of Taxes at $210.0 million, $60.0 million above the President's request of $150.0 million.
The conference bill funds Departmental Management at $67.7 million. At this funding level, the $9.0 million cut made in House floor action is restored, and an increase of $3.6 million over the
President's budget is provided for fixed costs.
The conferees agree to funding increases for operational programs, including:
Bureau of Land Management operations are funded at $880.8 million, an increase of $23.5 million over last year.
Fish and Wildlife Service's Resource Management programs are funded at $850.6 million, an increase of $43.8 million over last year.
National Park Service operations including the U.S. Park Police are funded at $1.5 billion, an increase of $76.5 million over 2001.
The conferees agreed on a two-year extension, through 2004, of the Recreation Fee Demonstration program.