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.
As part of our commitment to open, transparent government, the Department of the Interior joins other Federal agencies in posting its fiscal year (FY) 2015 Office of Management and Budget Sustainability/Energy Scorecard, which rates each agency's sustainability and energy performance. This is the sixth year that Federal agencies are posting these scorecards publicly.
This scorecard serves as a benchmark to help us track our progress toward statutory and Executive Order goals. Actions to meet those goals have resulted in reduced pollution and costs.
Interior is meeting goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; reduce energy intensity; increase renewable energy use; and decrease fleet petroleum use:
Greenhouse gas emissions: Reduced scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions by 15.3 percent compared to 2008 and reduced scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions by 22.8 percent compared to 2008.
Energy intensity: Reduced energy intensity by 33.3 percent compared to 2003.
Renewable energy: Obtained 12.3 percent of facility electricity from renewable sources.
Fleet petroleum use: Reduced fleet petroleum use by 22 percent compared to 2005.
Some notable accomplishments from 2015 include:
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s Permanent Operating Facility (POF) in Durango, Colorado finished construction on a high performance and sustainable building that meets 100% of the Guiding Principles for High Performance and Sustainable Buildings for new construction. The combination of a passive solar wall; a high-efficiency heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system; efficient lighting; and natural lighting provide significant energy savings. Efficient plumbing fixtures and fittings and the use of xeriscape and natural landscaping, conserves indoor and outdoor water. All told, the energy efficiency of the PFO is estimated to avoid 52 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Corn Creek Administrative Office and Visitor Center (Visitor Center) at Desert National Wildlife Refuge, Las Vegas, Nevada, completed a net zero energy building. No petroleum products generate heat or electricity. Solar photovoltaic arrays totaling 91.5 kilowatts provides renewable electricity for all the Visitor Center’s energy needs. Total annual renewable energy production is approximately 608.3 million British thermal units (MMBTU). Low-flow plumbing fixtures save approximately 7,100 gallons of water per year and xeriscaping reduces water use by about 663,000 gallons. Overall, the project avoids at least 98 metric tons of GHG emissions annually.
Reducing potable water intensity and increasing the percentage of sustainable buildings are two areas showing a need for improvement.
One of our key strategies to meeting the water conservation requirements is installing life cycle cost effective water efficient technologies to minimize our water use.
One of our key strategies to achieve the sustainable building goal for existing buildings is to conduct building assessments to identify current performance levels and the necessary building programmatic, operational, systems, and envelope changes.
For more information on greening and sustainability, please visit the Greening the Department of the Interior website at: http://www.doi.gov/greening