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.
Interior Report Assesses Scientific Water-Monitoring and Modeling Systems and Calls for Modernization to Help Sustain Water Supplies
Office of the Secretary Policy Management and Budget
Improvements Needed to Help Water Managers Address Impacts of Climate Change and Other Stressors on Water Resources
WASHINGTON D.C. – The Department of the Interior today released a report that assesses the status of scientific information available to help understand the impacts of climate change and other stressors on U.S. freshwater resources and calls for modernization of systems to help monitor and sustain water supplies.
The report to Congress reviews the state of existing science and identifies strategies for improving systems to collect climate-related data and water monitoring information. The improvements are intended to help water managers predict, respond and adapt to the effects of climate change on the nation's freshwater supplies so that they can help ensure adequate water quantity and quality.
“Assessing and modernizing the tools that help us understand climate change is a critical step in helping decision makers and water resource managers ensure that current and future generations will have sufficient supplies of clean water,” said Assistant Secretary for Water and Science Anne Castle. “Sustainable supplies of water will never cease to play a critical role in public health, as well as irrigation, recreation and other activities that sustain our local communities and power our economies.”
The report underscores the importance of maintaining, enhancing or developing adequate water measuring and monitoring systems to track water availability and quality so that water managers can make decisions about allocations of water and the infrastructure that helps it flow with the best information available.
The report also provides suggestions about ways to modernize data systems, management, modeling and water measurement tools and highlights the need to coordinate data among agencies. Programs highlighted for modernization include: the National Streamflow Information Program, the National Groundwater Monitoring Network, and implementation of the National Water-Quality Monitoring Network.
“Freshwater is under increasing stress from changes in climate, changes in land use, and a growing demand for a variety of services related to the health and well-being of society, a vibrant economy, food production, energy reliability, and national security,” said Dr. Jerad Bales, Chief of Research and Programs for Water at USGS, and one of the lead authors of the report. “Effective management of the nation's water resources will require meaningful action to address many of the shortcomings that were identified in this report on water and climate observational and modeling systems.”
Today's report also builds upon the April 2011 Bureau of Reclamation report assessing the risks and impacts of climate change on western water resources. Reclamation's SECURE Water Act Report, with fact sheets highlighting climate challenges and impacts in the eight western river basins, is available online at www.usbr.gov/climate.
To implement the SECURE Water Act and to help meet the water challenges of the future, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar established Interior's WaterSMART program in February 2010 – designed to identify strategies that will ensure that this and future generations will have sufficient supplies of clean water for drinking, economic activities, recreation and ecosystem health. The program also identifies adaptive measures to address climate change and its impact on future water demands. Through the WaterSMART program, USGS is developing the National Water Census and will continue to work with its partner agencies to support integrated scientific research to benefit water resources.
The SMART in WaterSMART stands for “Sustain and Manage America's Resources for Tomorrow.” More information about WaterSMART is online at http://www.usbr.gov/WaterSMART/