Mercury's surface in "enhanced color," a color scheme created to emphasize color differences. This is not what Mercury would look like to the human eye, but by applying mathematical analysis to images, color differences can be accentuated beyond those visible to a person.
Mount Rushmore National Memorial under construction.
The workers had to endure conditions that varied from blazing hot to bitterly cold and windy. Each day they climbed 700 stairs to the top of the mountain to punch-in on the time clock. Then 3/8 inch thick steel cables lowered them over the front of the 500-foot face of the mountain in a "bosun chair." Despite the dangers, no one was killed during the project.
Otters in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, Alaska.
The sea otter population of Glacier Bay has increased dramatically in the past 20 years. Ecologists consider sea otters a keystone species here. Otters consume vast quantities of clams, urchins, crabs, and other invertebrates and their presence creates ripples through the ecosystem. NPS photo.
Every day someone like you becomes a wildland wildfire fighter, a teacher, a trail-builder, a museum curator, or a park ranger. Discover your opportunities in national parks. Come to play. Come to learn. Come to serve. Develop your environmental leadership skills. Find a job. Be the next generation to preserve and protect these great places.
With more than 80% of Americans living in urban areas, urban parks are more important than ever. The father of American landscape architecture, Frederick Law Olmsted, said of urban parks:
It is one great purpose of the Park to supply to the hundreds of thousands of tired workers, who have no opportunity to spend their summers in the country, a specimen of God's handiwork that shall be to them, inexpensively, what a month or two in the White Mountains or the Adirondacks is, at great cost, to those in easier circumstances.
Secretaries Vilsack and Salazar Announce Readiness for Wildfire Season
Office of the Secretary
Agencies Focused On the Challenge
Last edited 4/25/2016
WASHINGTON -- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar today outlined the federal government's readiness for the wildland fire season to ensure protection for communities and restoration of forests and grasslands across the country.
The Secretaries described federal capability to respond to wildfires that are becoming more complex and extreme due to forest and rangeland health conditions, climate change and population growth near wildlands. They said that more than 18,000 firefighters will be available in 2010, including permanent and seasonal federal and state employees, crews from tribal and local governments, contract crews, and emergency/temporary hires.
“We are ready to meet the challenge,” said Secretary Vilsack. “This national strategy will provide a strong, new blueprint to ensure community safety and the restoration of ecosystems to benefit all Americans, especially those who live in rural areas.
On average, the USDA Forest Service responds to more than 10,000 wildfires per year, suppressing 98 percent of them on initial attack. In order to continue to improve its ability to address this threat, the Forest Service recently provided more than $35 million in grants to state forestry agencies for preparedness, suppression, equipment, and training for more than 42,000 personnel. The agency also provided more than $10 million in grants to local volunteer fire departments for equipment and other support, such as training for more than 24,000 firefighters.
From now to October, federal firefighters, aircraft, and ground equipment are strategically assigned to parts of the country as the fire season shifts across the country. Firefighting experts will continuously monitor conditions and move these assets as necessary to be best positioned for when large fires break out.
Particularly throughout the West, a century of fire exclusion has left forests overstocked and full of hazardous fuels. Work to restore these forest ecosystems will include thinning and prescribed burning operations by federal land managers and their partners across jurisdictions.
“Together with state, local, and tribal partners we are putting additional resources on the ground and making sure the right plans are in place for this wildfire season,” said Secretary Salazar. “Many of our forests have an unnatural accumulation of hazardous fuels, are unable to withstand insect and disease outbreaks, and are facing the impacts of climate change, all of which increase the potential for extreme wildfires. That's why our preparedness efforts - including prescribed burns, community partnerships, additional resources, and thinning of excess vegetation – are so vital to the safety of communities and the health of our lands and waters.”
Wildfire does not stop at property boundaries. In the past ten years, wildfires have destroyed nearly 28,000 homes, businesses, and outbuildings. Wildfires can threaten power grids, interrupt commerce, and put people out of work. Tens of millions of Americans depend on national forest watersheds for drinking water. Repairing damage to watersheds caused by extreme wildfires can cost millions and take a lifetime for vegetation to grow back.
Recent rainfall in the Northwest is expected to increase chances for wildfires in rangelands and push back the start of fire season in forest areas according to National Interagency Fire Center meteorologist Rick Ochoa. “We still expect an active forest wildfire season, but it is likely to begin in August, rather than July in the northern Rockies and portions of Idaho and Wyoming. We expect the Southwest to remain active until monsoons arrive in July.”
Federal land managers are also helping communities prepare for wildfire. Federal partnerships with tribal, state, and local agencies strengthen preparedness programs, such as Firewise http://www.firewise.org/ and Ready Set Go! http://www.iafc.org/readySetGo ! that help families and communities prepare for and survive wildfire.