Mount Rushmore National Memorial under construction.
The workers had to endure conditions that varied from blazing hot to bitterly cold and windy. Each day they climbed 700 stairs to the top of the mountain to punch-in on the time clock. Then 3/8 inch thick steel cables lowered them over the front of the 500-foot face of the mountain in a "bosun chair." Despite the dangers, no one was killed during the project.
Otters in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, Alaska.
The sea otter population of Glacier Bay has increased dramatically in the past 20 years. Ecologists consider sea otters a keystone species here. Otters consume vast quantities of clams, urchins, crabs, and other invertebrates and their presence creates ripples through the ecosystem. NPS photo.
Every day someone like you becomes a wildland wildfire fighter, a teacher, a trail-builder, a museum curator, or a park ranger. Discover your opportunities in national parks. Come to play. Come to learn. Come to serve. Develop your environmental leadership skills. Find a job. Be the next generation to preserve and protect these great places.
With more than 80% of Americans living in urban areas, urban parks are more important than ever. The father of American landscape architecture, Frederick Law Olmsted, said of urban parks:
It is one great purpose of the Park to supply to the hundreds of thousands of tired workers, who have no opportunity to spend their summers in the country, a specimen of God's handiwork that shall be to them, inexpensively, what a month or two in the White Mountains or the Adirondacks is, at great cost, to those in easier circumstances.
Additional 1.5 Million Megawatt-hours of Renewable Energy Could Be Generated through Hydropower at Existing Reclamation Sites
Newest report shows hydropower generation at canal sites in Colorado, Oregon, Wyoming and other western states could power more than 30,000 homes
WASHINGTON, D.C. – As part of President Obama's all-of-the-above strategy for American energy, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Assistant Secretary for Water and Science Anne Castle announced today that the department has identified 373 existing Bureau of Reclamation canals and conduits that have the combined potential of generating an additional 365,219 megawatt-hours of hydropower annually.
This finding builds upon the 191 existing Reclamation dam and reservoir sites identified in 2011 with a potential of 1.2 million MWh annually. Reclamation has now identified a potential for 1.565 million MWh of additional electricity that could be generated annually at existing Reclamation conduits.
"Hydropower is an important part of President Obama's initiative to generate 80 percent of electricity in this country from a diverse set of clean energy sources by 2035," Salazar said. "Identifying and developing hydropower potential at existing facilities is one way we're putting the all-of-the-above strategy to develop American energy sources into practice."
The new March 2012 report, Site Inventory and Hydropower Energy Assessment of Reclamation Owned Conduits, prepared by the Bureau of Reclamation, supplements a March 2011 report, Hydropower Resource Assessment at Existing Reclamation Facilities. The 2011 report estimated that additional hydropower capabilities could create enough renewable energy to annually power more than 104,000 households. The 2012 report adds the potential from canals and conduits. The 2011 and 2012 reports are available www.usbr.gov/power.
"Developing hydropower in existing publicly owned canals gives us an additional source of consistent, sustainable and reliable energy supplies in the West, with minimal impact on other natural resources," Castle said. "Adding power generation to these canals would provide power for up to 32,500 households. Combined with the generation potential at existing dams and reservoirs, up to 136,500 households could be served. These reports highlight the exciting potential for new, environmentally sustainable hydropower development and creation of related jobs at existing facilities throughout the western United States."
The assessment released today on canals shows that about 70 percent of the potential capacity is located in three states: Colorado, Oregon and Wyoming, although 13 of the 17 western states have new generation potential from conduits.
This assessment provides information to Reclamation and potential private developers so they can determine whether to study these sites for development. The report includes the capacity, energy potential and proximity to distribution/transmission lines for each site. The report also provides site maps.
Development of hydropower at the identified sites would proceed along one of Reclamation's normal hydropower development processes—either through Reclamation's Lease of Power Privilege process or the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's licensing process, depending on which entity has jurisdiction over a particular project.
If a project is developed under Reclamation's Lease of Power Privilege process, the project may be eligible to proceed through an existing Categorical Exclusion from NEPA requirements which should save the developer time and money. Reclamation recently issued a temporary directive and standard for its Lease of Power Privilege requirements and process. It is also available for public review and comment at www.usbr.gov/recman.
The Bureau of Reclamation manages more than 47,000 miles of canals, laterals, drains, pipelines and tunnels. Sites included in this supplemental report as having potential for hydropower development have a drop of at least five feet, operate for at least four months of the year, and have a generation potential of at least 50 kW based upon flow rate of canal and the drop height. Not all of Reclamation's canals meet these criteria.
Both the 2011 and 2012 reports support the 2010 Memorandum of Understanding among the Department of the Interior, the Department of Energy, and the Army Corps of Engineers that enhances the coordination of their efforts to provide the nation with affordable, reliable and environmentally sustainable hydropower.
To download both the 2011 and 2012 reports, visit Reclamation's website at www.usbr.gov/power.