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.
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.
Science Article Describes Innovative Scenario-Building Technique that is Assisting Planning for Recovery from BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill
Office of the Secretary
Last edited 4/25/2016
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Some of America's best scientists are helping develop an innovative scenario-building technique to plan environmental and economic recovery from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, according to an article in this week's Science.
Shortly after the April 2010 spill, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar created an inter-disciplinary Strategic Sciences Working Group of scientists from federal, academic, and non-governmental organizations to develop a science-based assessment of the long-term effects of the spill on the ecology, economy, and people of the Gulf of Mexico.
The results of the working group are designed to provide information useful to decision makers, resource managers and other professionals developing and managing the existing response plans--such as the Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) leaders and staff. The results are not designed to replace or direct these pre-existing procedures.
The first results of the working group are outlined in the Science essay, “Scenario-Building for the Mississippi Canyon 252/Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill,” to be published in the magazine on August 27. The essay was co-authored by Dr. Gary Machlis, Science Advisor to National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis, and Dr. Marcia McNutt, Director of the U.S Geological Survey. Dr. Machlis serves as Lead Scientist on the Working Group, and Dr. McNutt oversees the group's activities.
The focus of the Science article is the scenario-building technique. The scenarios in the article are considered preliminary results and have already changed since the article was written based on new information on parameters such as flow rates and time periods, which have changed with events in the Gulf and continuing research by scientists. The technique, however, is helping to identify possible policies and actions to reduce negative impacts of the spill and speed up and sustain the recovery process.
“We are treating the ecology, economy, and people impacted by the spill as a whole,” emphasized Team Leader Machlis, “and our challenge has been to understand what is happening and what might happen from that broad perspective.”
One scenario in the Science article examined how long-term decline of plants, particularly in the wetlands, is a probable consequence of the spill, and if extensive, could impair both fisheries recovery and resistance to hurricane damage, with further consequences from the re-release of “sequestered” oil. Other scenarios dealt with impacts upon the oyster fishery, health issues of workers, impacts on the tourism industry, and more.
“Team members come from many scientific disciplines, with experience on oil spills and other environmental events, and many are from the local region”, said USGS Director McNutt. “All of those on this DOI team have worked hard to understand the long-term impacts—what we call ‘cascading effects' –of the spill and opportunities for sustainable recovery.” (The team includes modelers, ecologists, oceanographers, social scientists, and other experts.)
The group first met in Mobile, Alabama for five intense days in May 2010, for scenario-building based on expert opinion and the available scientific literature; the group will reconvene in New Orleans in September.
Since its first session, the working group has briefed the Mobile Unified Command, Department of Interior officials, NRDA staff, and others involved in Gulf restoration and recovery.
Secretary Salazar has directed the group to continue its work. Scenario-building sessions of the working group will continue at the September meeting, and additional, updated scenarios will be prepared. Work will be ongoing at least through the fall. Hence, it is a “work in progress.”