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.
Salazar Lauds Proposed Early Restoration Projects Under Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment
Eight projects – first set to come of $1 billion agreement with BP to fund early restoration - expected to help restore Gulf Coast's environment and strengthen economy
NEW ORLEANS -- Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today commended the Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) Trustees for proposing an initial set of restoration projects in the Gulf Coast region as part of the agreement with BP to fund $1 billion in early restoration projects. The first phase of projects – made available for public comment today – is comprised of eight projects in four Gulf Coast states that total more than $57 million and include initiatives to restore oyster beds, marshes, dunes and nearshore reefs.
“These initial projects demonstrate our determination to hit the ground running when it comes to restoring the Gulf of Mexico after the catastrophic Deepwater Horizon spill,” Secretary Salazar said. “We know that this is just a beginning of what will be an important process to ensure that those responsible for the spill are held fully accountable, and this is a solid start to our restoration efforts.”
Salazar made the comments while touring the P&J oyster company, a family-owned business that has been harvesting oysters in New Orleans' French Quarter for 130 years. Salazar noted that one of the two projects proposed for the state of Louisiana is approximately $14 million for an oyster cultch project that involves the placement of oyster cultch onto approximately 850 acres of public oyster seed grounds throughout coastal Louisiana, as well as construction of an oyster hatchery facility that would produce supplemental larvae and seed.
“By restoring oyster beds, we are ensuring a way of life continues along the Gulf Coast and bolstering the local economy that was hard hit by the Deepwater Horizon spill,” Salazar said.
Today's announcement builds upon efforts by the Obama Administration's Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force that is working to develop a comprehensive, long-term strategy to return the health and strength back to the Gulf Coast's wetlands, beaches, reefs and other habitats, and to address the decline to the region's natural resources in decades past.
Following the announcement, Salazar met with local community leaders in New Orleans to discuss the challenges and potential solutions for developing the Lafitte Corridor Greenway and Revitalization Project, a proposed pilot site identified under the Urban Waters Federal Partnership.
Additional information on today's NRDA Trustee announcement is available HERE.