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).
Central Gulf of Mexico Lease Sale 208 Attracts $ 703,048,523 in High Bids
New Orleans, LA - Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced that the Central Gulf of Mexico Oil and Gas Lease Sale 208, held today in New Orleans, attracted $703,048,523 in high bids. The sale was conducted by Interior's Minerals Management Service (MMS) and had 70 companies submitting 476 bids on 348 tracts comprising over 1.9 million acres offshore Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. The sum of all bids received totaled $ 933,649,315.
"Today's lease sale will help us make a wise addition to our nation's energy supply," said Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. "The responsible energy development resulting from today's sale will be a part of our nation's comprehensive energy plan, which will include a renewed emphasis on conservation and an aggressive effort to develop our renewable energy resources, so we can move our nation toward energy independence."
The highest bid received on a tract was $ 65,611,235 submitted by Shell Gulf of Mexico Inc. for Mississippi Canyon, Block 721.
There was a total of 13 tracts receiving bids in the "181 South Area" of the Central Gulf of Mexico, Salazar noted, and the high bids for these tracts totaled $6,476,545. The states of Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas will share in 37.5 percent of the high bids on these tracts as well as all future revenues generated from this acreage leased today in the "181 South Area." The enhanced revenue sharing program was mandated by the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act of 2006.
In addition, 12.5 percent of revenues from the "181 South Area" tracts will be deposited into the Land and Water Conservation Fund for use by states to enhance parklands and for other conservation projects.
Each high bid on a tract will go through an evaluation process within MMS to ensure the public receives fair market value before a lease is awarded.
Sale statistics for Central Sale 208 are posted on the MMS website at