A rugged, whitewater river flowing northward through deep canyons, the New River is among the oldest rivers on the continent. New River Gorge National River in West Virginia encompasses over 70,000 acres of land along the New River, is rich in cultural and natural history, and offers an abundance of scenic and recreational opportunities.
Big Southern Butte is one of two domes rising from a sea of basalt near the center of the eastern Snake River Plain in Idaho. The butte is one of the largest volcanic domes in the world, but at 300,000 years old it is also one of the youngest. Hikers who trek to the 7,550-foot high summit are rewarded with spectacular panoramic views. Photo by Devin Englestead, BLM Upper Snake Wildlife Biologist.
First light at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico. Established in November 22, 1939, the refuge has provided a critical stopover and wintering spot for thousands of sandhill cranes, geese and other waterfowl for 75 years. Bosque del Apache's sandhill crane population has multiplied from 18 birds in the 1840s to more than 20,000 birds today. Photo by Kim Hang Dessoliers (www.sharetheexperience.org).
DOINews: New Report Predicts Creation of 'Megalopolis' in Southeast U.S.
Researchers from the Department of the Interior's Southeast Climate Science Center and North Carolina State University have found from a new study that urban areas in the Southeast U.S. may double in size in the next 45 years unless there are significant changes to the current pattern of land development.
“If we continue to develop urban areas in the Southeast the way we have for the past 60 years, we can expect natural areas will become increasingly fragmented,” said Adam Terando, a research ecologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, adjunct assistant professor at NC State, and lead author of the study. “We could be looking at a seamless corridor of urban development running from Raleigh to Atlanta, and possibly as far as Birmingham, within the next 50 years.”
As the report describes, this large amount of urban growth could cause extra stress to an already stressed relationship between people and wildlife and ecosystems in these urbanized areas.
“Unless we change course, over the next 50 years urbanization will have a more pronounced ecological impact in many non-coastal areas of the Southeast than climate change," said Jennifer Costanza, a research associate at NC State and a co-author of the study. “It's impossible to predict precisely what the specific ecological outcomes would be, but so far, the projections are not good in terms of biodiversity and ecosystem health.”
“Given that urbanization poses significant challenges to this region, decision makers will need to begin serious, long-term discussions about economic development, ecological impacts and the value of non-urban spaces,” she added.