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.
Salazar: Repealing the Affordable Care Act Would Set Indian Country Back
Office of the Secretary
Last edited 4/25/2016
WASHINGTON, DC: Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today released the following statement regarding the proposal in the House of Representatives to repeal the Affordable Care Act and the Indian Health Care Improvement Act
“The Affordable Care Act is a vital tool for Native American communities that are working to improve quality of life, overcome health care disparities, and improve wellness and health in Indian Country,” said Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. “A vote to repeal the Affordable Health Care Act would only turn back the clock on the real progress we are making toward ensuring that Native Americans have access to quality, affordable health care.”
“The Affordable Care Act included landmark legislation that permanently reauthorizes the Indian Health Care Improvement Act, which is so important to modernizing and improving the health care provided by the Indian Health Service to American Indians and Alaska Natives,” added Salazar. “Without the Affordable Care Act, Native Americans will continue to face escalating costs, deep health care disparities, and growing health challenges.”
In addition to permanently reauthorizing the Indian Health Care Improvement Act, the Affordable Care Act:
Includes important tax exclusions for individual Native Americans whose tribes have opted to purchase health insurance for their members.
Allows tribes who operate programs under the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act to purchase federal insurance for employees.
American Indians and Alaska Natives are exempt from tax penalities for not enrolling in an exchange plan.
Expands Medicaid coverage to individual with incomes up to 133% of the poverty level starting in 2014.