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.
Reclamation Awards $102 Million Contract for Overhaul of Third Power Plant at Grand Coulee Dam
Office of the Secretary
WASHINGTON, DC – Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced today that the Bureau of Reclamation has awarded a $102 million construction contract as part of the project to overhaul the generators in the Third Power Plant at Grand Coulee Dam.
The contract was awarded to Andritz Hydro Corporation of Charlotte, N.C. and will be funded by the Bonneville Power Administration—a regional Federal power marketing agency within the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) that is self-funded with ratepayer dollars rather than federal taxpayer dollars.
Located on the Columbia River about 90 miles west of Spokane, Wash., the Grand Coulee Dam provides about one-quarter of the total generation of hydroelectric power for the Columbia River System.
“Overhauling the generators in the Third Power Plant is vital to ensuring adequate electric power in the Pacific Northwest,” said Secretary Salazar. “This is a great example of not only how the Department of the Interior is working to support clean, renewable energy for the American people but also of how working in partnership with DOE and BPA enables us to do so more efficiently.”
Three of the six generating units in Grand Coulee Dam's Third Power Plant will be overhauled. These generating units are more than 30 years old, installed in the mid-1970s. The mechanical parts of these units have never been replaced and are beginning to show wear, which reduces reliability and increases power outages.
The generators and turbines will be dismantled and inspected and components will subsequently be either refurbished or replaced and reassembled. Each unit will take 17 months to replace and only one unit at a time will be overhauled. Work begins in March 2013.
Grand Coulee Dam was completed in 1941, and today serves as a multi-purpose facility providing water for irrigation, recreation, fish and wildlife, hydroelectric power production, and flood control.