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.
Approximately 80 percent of the rainfall on the Cape Verde Islands is estimated to be lost to evaporation and runoff to the sea. If a portion of the "lost" rainfall can be stored as recharge to the groundwater system, a more sustainable water supply can be provided to support increased agricultural productivity. Community-based water management plans and the construction of various structures to help retain surface water runoff contribute to a sustainable water supply to support agriculture on the islands.
In order to establish effective monitoring of the water-retention schemes in providing sustainable recharge to the groundwater system, a network is needed. Such a network includes wells, rain gauges, and spring measurements. Monitoring the water table with a network of existing wells, as well as monitoring spring discharge, provides a measure of the success of the water retention and recharge schemes. Monitoring is done at a local level so that the communities take ownership of the program and will carry or adopt responsibility for its success. Experience in designing and maintaining a monitoring network is lacking at the community level; therefore training and equipment are provided.
Specifically, DOI's U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) accomplishes the following:
Provides training, equipment, and manuals to Cape Verdean counterparts who operate the ground-water monitoring network;
Works with Cape Verdean counterparts, conducting an inventory of existing wells and springs, and assessing their suitability for use in a ground-water monitoring network, in six watersheds on three islands;
Assists in the design of a ground-water monitoring network (including determining frequency of measurements);
and Establishes baseline conditions of the ground-water system prior to construction of the water-retention schemes.
Funding: Millennium Challenge Corporation
Tanzania - Active
Protected Area Management:
Since 1997, DOI-ITAP has partnered with USAID/Tanzania to provide technical assistance to the Government of Tanzania. This partnership sustainably improves natural resources management in a number of Tanzania's protected areas, including national parks, game reserves, and marine protected areas. DOI-ITAP has provided a wide array of technical assistance and training, focusing on such areas as:
wildlife anti-poaching (e.g., patrolling strategies, surveillance, crime scene investigation, case preparation, personal safety, and emergency response),
visitor services infrastructure design, management, and operation;
visitor interpretation and education;
roads design and maintenance;
radio systems design and installation;
patrol boat delivery and training;
general assessments of land and marine parks and game reserves;
park signs design and construction;
park management study tours for Government of Tanzania managers to DOI sites in the United States (e.g., national parks, national seashores, national coral reef monuments, national wildlife refuges).
Further, DOI-ITAP has delivered a variety of equipment critical to the effective management of protected areas, including: radios, park guard uniforms, boots, camping gear, binoculars, cameras, compasses, maps, GPS units, medical kits, and basic fire fighting tools.
Wildlife Management Area Conservation Corps
The global financial crisis has resulted in an overall decline of tourist arrivals to Tanzania, thereby decreasing expected revenues for local communities in communally-managed Wildlife Management Areas. This decrease in revenues exacerbates environmental degradation, as rural communities move toward over-use of natural resources in order to sustain their livelihoods. In partnership with USAID/Tanzania, DOI-ITAP provides technical assistance related to infrastructure development and training to support conservation and provide opportunities to rural households to earn income.
Namibia - Completed
Natural Resource Tourism DevelopmentDOI-ITAP worked with the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) to provide technical assistance to the Government of Namibia to promote tourism and natural resource conservation as part of its larger economic development and growth plan. The MCC enlisted the expertise of DOI to provide a due diligence assessment and technical assistance in several areas, including:
Establishment of 11 tourism and information hubs;
Building of bush-access and 4x4 game-viewing tracks;
Creation of five new high value game breeding camps;
Development of 11 new tourism and natural resource management service centers;
Management of boundary conflict using improved fencing and development of wildlife water points;
Recovery of natural resource assets;
Creation of a tourism house.
Funding: Millennium Challenge Corporation
Uganda - Completed
Mgahinga & Bwindi National Parks:
Mgahinga and Bwindi National Parks, in southwestern Uganda, are home to the remaining 600 or so mountain gorillas left in the world. Both parks also have a wide variety of animal and plant life and both offer excellent hiking in spectacular scenery. Both parks are pockets of wilderness surrounded by densely populated farmlands. Most conservation problems are a result of conflicts over the use of resources -- the community and wildland interface. DOI-ITAP provided technical assistance related to tourist infrastructure, park interpretation and fire management to African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) projects in Mgahinga and Bwindi National Parks.
Funding: African Wildlife Foundation
Queen Elizabeth National Park:
An international biosphere reserve, Queen Elizabeth National Park is one of Uganda's oldest and most visited national parks. It encompasses a wide range of species and habitats, including forest, grassland, wooded savanna, volcanic craters, lakeshore, and a wetland that is protected by the Ramsar Convention. DOI-ITAP worked to improve Queen Elizabeth National Park visitor services and to increase revenue generation through tourism. It trained and equipped field personnel within Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) and Peace Corps Volunteers to engage in park interpretation and to conduct basic biological inventories and monitor user impacts. DOI-ITAP also worked to promote conservation education programs in targeted communities near selected protected areas, including community-level initiatives which encouraged park-compatible economic development adjacent to Queen Elizabeth National Park. The DOI-ITAP visitor satisfaction survey was the first standardized questionnaire used throughout Uganda's national parks.