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 and Energy Sign MOU to Spur Offshore Renewable Energy Projects
Office of the Secretary
Last edited 4/25/2016
WASHINGTON, DC - The Department of the Interior and the Department of Energy today announced a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that will strengthen the working relationship between the two agencies on the future development of commercial renewable offshore energy projects on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf (OCS).
“Renewable energy development holds great promise for our clean energy future and our economy,” said Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. “This joint framework with DOE will bring together resources and expertise from both agencies as we pursue the environmentally responsible development of these valuable renewable energy resources.”
“We have a major opportunity to tap the energy in waves and offshore wind. Increasing cooperation between our agencies will help make clean, renewable energy a reality," said Secretary Steven Chu.
Together, DOI and DOE will use this agreement to spur the development of future commercial-scale offshore wind and water energy projects. The wind and water resources off the United States' coasts offer a vast yet largely untapped energy potential. According to DOE's 20% Wind Energy by 2030 report, offshore wind alone has the potential to produce 54,000 megawatts by 2030. The MOU between DOI and DOE will facilitate the development of these domestic energy resources by pursuing priority leasing and efficient regulatory processes for sites with high, commercial-scale offshore wind and water power development potential.
The two agencies will exchange information on resources and technologies, conduct stakeholder engagements, and collaborate on research projects. These activities will augment the scientific and technical exchanges that already occur between the two Departments. By facilitating the development of offshore clean energy, this agreement will further the Obama Administration's goals of creating clean energy jobs, expanding the nation's renewable energy portfolio and easing America's reliance on fossil fuels.
The MOU states that within 30 days of its signing, an interagency working group will develop an Action Plan covering the following areas:
• Development of attainable deployment goals for offshore wind and marine and hydrokinetic energy on the OCS