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.
Seasoned backpacker and adventurer Yang Lu earned the grand prize in the 2015 Share the Experience photo contest with this image of a sunburst captured at sunrise in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Utah. Yang has made the outdoors part of his daily life and finds deep connection to the land through his lens.
“My photography is not just for recreation, it is to inspire people to explore these areas." -- Yang Lu
Photo by Yang Lu (www.sharetheexperience.org).
The plantings of cherry trees originated in 1912 as a gift of friendship to the People of the United States from the People of Japan. In Japan, the flowering cherry tree, or "Sakura," is an exalted flowering plant. The beauty of the cherry blossom is a potent symbol equated with the evanescence of human life and epitomizes the transformation of Japanese culture throughout the ages.
The Red River at Fargo-Moorhead crested on April 9 at 38.75 feet above flood stage, the third highest peak in 110 years. Oslo crested at 38.05 ft on April 14 and East Grand Forks is forecast to crest at 50 feet on April 15. Late season accumulating snowfall is likely between April 14 and April 16, total snowfall could be in the 1 to 3 inch range. The stage at Fargo is expected to remain in the major flood category for an additional 2-3 weeks. Numerous county and state roads are closed throughout the Red River Basin. Indications that overland flooding is easing somewhat include a 30-mile stretch of Interstate 29, which had been closed due to flooding since April 10, has reopened for the most part. Presidential Disaster Declarations have been issued for Barnes, Cass, Richland, Traill, Grand Forks, Walsh, Pembina, and Ward Counties in North Dakota. High flows continue in the upper Sheyenne River basin and the hospital in Valley City has been evacuated as a precautionary measure, in case of a levee failure in Valley City. Flows are expected to be at the near record high stages for 7-10 days. In Central and Northwest North Dakota, flows in the upper James River basin are decreasing rapidly. The severity of the flooding Souris River basin continues to increase as the remaining snow pack has melted. Water levels in the Des Lacs River have receded two to three feet from yesterday. The Burlington Dam #1 northwest of Minot is weak but is still holding.
Mississippi River at St. Paul, MN will fall below major flood stage Sunday, April 17. The Mississippi River is forecast to crest at Winona on April 16 and at other mainstem gages downstream along the Minnesota border this weekend. The Minnesota River at Montevideo will fall below major flood stage Saturday, April 16. The Governor of the State of Minnesota declared a State of Emergency for 46 Minnesota counties impacted by spring flooding and has requested joint Preliminary Damage Assessments for the Public Assistance for 20 counties located in the Minnesota River Basin. In Wisconsin the National Weather Service has issued a Flood Warning for the Prairie River. An evacuation is being recommended for residents in the Town of Fairfield (Sauk County) due to water levels rising higher than previously expected. In northeastern Montana, melting snow is causing several streams and rivers to rise with one site in minor flood category, four sites in flood category, and one site in moderate flood category.
Field staff from the North Dakota Water Science Center (WSC), along with field staff from Water Science Centers in Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Montana and Nebraska worked through the weekend to take over 70 discharge measurements in support of the National Weather Service River Forecast Centers. Crews are in the field making discharge measurements in support of flood fighting efforts by Federal, State and local agencies in North Dakota and South Dakota. Another crew is working to process measurements, enter shifts, and ensure that web data is accurate.
The Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) reports that both the Jamestown Dam in Jamestown, North Dakota and the Heart Butte Dam near Elgin, North Dakota remain in a Response Level 1. Response Level 1 is the lowest of Reclamation’s 4 Response Levels.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) personnel began staffing of the North Dakota Joint Operations Center on Friday morning, April 8 in response to a Mission Assignment from FEMA. USFWS Region 6 received a second Mission Assignment from FEMA on Friday evening to “provide watercraft for lifesaving and search and rescue capability to the State of North Dakota in support of disaster operations in the Cass County/Fargo, North Dakota area. Currently, ten U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service airboats are deployed to assist with flooding in eastern North Dakota. The Des Lacs NWR reports that nearly all roads that cross the refuge are closed and under water, and that remaining road may be impassable by tomorrow. Ability to control water has been beyond the Refuge's control since Saturday, when all pools topped emergency spillways.
The Bureau of Indian Affairs, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and other entities have been meeting with the Fort Belknap Tribe about the potential for flooding on the reservation if the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Dam, BR-12, on 15 Mile Creek were to fail. Due to snowmelt and spring runoff the reservoir is full and some internal erosion of the earthen dam has taken place. BLM engineers and contractors are working to mitigate the problem.