November is Manatee Awareness Month; but no matter what time of year it is, manatees deserve to be celebrated. These amazing creatures fulfill a unique niche by serving as indicator species for ecosystems across the United States. Because of their reliance on the health of their habitat, manatees often act as a signal of their environment’s well-being. NOAA photo by Michael Buchanan.
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.
Interior Secretary Salazar Lauds Senate's Confirmation of Joseph Pizarchik as Director of Office of Surface Mining
Last edited 4/25/2016
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today praised the Senate's confirmation of Joseph Pizarchik as director of the Department's Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement.
Pizarchik currently is director of the Pennsylvania's Bureau of Mining and Reclamation, part of the state's Department of Environmental Protection. The nomination requires Senate confirmation.
“Joe Pizarchik is a dedicated public servant whose experience in coal production will be invaluable as Director of Office of Surface Mining,” Secretary Salazar said. “I welcome his energy and insight on our policy team to balance the nation's need for continued domestic coal production with protection of the environment,” Salazar said.
Pizarchik joined the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection in 1991. Before becoming its director of the Bureau of Mining and Reclamation in 2002, he served as assistant director of the Bureau of Regulatory Counsel.
Pizarchik was one of the authors of Pennsylvania's Environmental Good Samaritan Act and provided counsel during the development and implementation of the Good Samaritan program, which he currently oversees.
In addition to working on various mining related statutory and regulatory amendments, Pizarchik helped develop Pennsylvania's program for volunteers to clean up abandoned coal refuse sites and helped develop the state's program for mine operator's to establish trust funds as a means of meeting their financial obligations. This ensures funds are available to perpetually treat the discharges caused by mining.
Pizarchik also has worked closely with the Pennsylvania State Police and the Pennsylvania Office of Homeland Security promulgating regulations for security at explosive storage magazines to prevent unauthorized access to the sites.
Prior to joining the Department of Environmental Protection, Pizarchik severed as counsel to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation dealing with contracts, mass transit, aviation, contractor qualifications, and minority business enterprises. He also formerly worked in private practice and for an insurance company.