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).
Departments of the Interior, Homeland Security Announce $6.8 Million in Conservation Projects
Office of the Secretary
Projects to Benefit Environment on the Southwest Border
Washington, DC – The U.S. Department of the Interior and U.S. Customs and Border Protection have completed the first InterAgency Agreement under the 2009 Memorandum of Agreement to fund environmental mitigation projects that will benefit several species of fish and wildlife affected by border security projects in the Southwest. Signed September 28, the agreement will fund $6.8 million in projects and represents the first of a series of efforts designed to mitigate impacts from the construction of fencing and other security measures along the U.S. Border with Mexico.
“CBP is committed to protecting our country's natural resources and wildlife while performing our security mission,” said CBP Deputy Commissioner, David Aguilar. “CBP is responsible for sound environmental stewardship and energy conservation as an integral part of their mission activities.”
“The projects we are announcing today are, in effect, part of a down payment on mitigating the impact on wildlife and its habitat from the on-going effort to secure our southern border,” Assistant Secretary Rhea Suh said. “In the future, we will continue to work with U.S. Customs and Border Protection to fund new projects that ensure threatened and endangered species and other wildlife along the border are conserved and the fragile ecosystems they depend upon are protected.”
The initial mitigation projects include funding to restore habitat for lesser long-nosed bats in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Arizona; re-establish the Aplomado falcon in New Mexico; install a fish barrier at San Bernardino National Wildlife Refuge, Arizona to preclude competition with invasive species; study movement of bighorn sheep in California; survey and monitor jaguars and their habitat in Arizona.
Customs and Border Protection is funding these projects under a 2009 Memorandum of Agreement between CBP and the Department of the Interior for mitigation of unavoidable impacts to natural and cultural resources due to construction of border security infrastructure. Under this agreement, CBP will fund DOI up to $50 million over the next few years for mitigation needs.
Over the past three years, CBP has constructed about 670 miles of fence along the southwest border as an integral part of the nation's strategy to improve border security. CBP has committed to responsible environmental stewardship throughout the life-cycle of the tactical infrastructure, from construction through operations and maintenance.
The First Mitigation Projects:
Sasabe Biological Opinion
Organ Pipe Cactus NM Biological Opinion
San Bernardino Valley Mitigation
Rio Yaqui Fish Studies
Peninsular Bighorn Sheep Study
Coronado NM Agave Restoration
Northern Aplomado Falcon Reintroduction and Habitat Restoration
Border-wide Bat Conservation
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of U.S. borders at and between official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the United States while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.