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.
Interior Department Releases Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan
Office of the Secretary
For the first time, plans include strategies for climate change preparedness
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Department of the Interior and other federal departments today released their 2012 Strategic Sustainability Performance Plans. The sustainability plans continue the Obama Administration's commitment to lead by example and cut waste, pollution, and costs in federal operations.
President Obama signed Executive Order 13514 on Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance in October 2009, setting aggressive targets for reducing waste and pollution in federal operations by 2020. Interior's 2012 Sustainability Plan builds on three years of progress under the Executive Order and provides an overview of how the agency is saving taxpayer dollars, reducing carbon emissions, cutting waste and saving energy.
Examples of performance reported in Interior's 2012 Sustainability Plan include: • Decreasing certain greenhouse gas emissions by 6.5 percent in FY 2011 relative to the FY 2008 baseline—putting the department on track to meet the reduction target goal of 20 percent by 2020; • Reducing potable water intensity by 11.2 percent in 2011, relative to the FY 2007 baseline—putting Interior on track to meet the reduction target goal of 26 percent by 2020; and • Exceeding the FY 2011 goal for use of 5 percent of electricity from renewable sources.
This year, Interior's Sustainability Plan also includes the Climate Change Adaptation Plan for FY 2013, which outlines initiatives to reduce the vulnerability of Interior's programs, assets, and investments to the impacts of climate change, such as sea level rise or more frequent or severe extreme weather.
The plan, which is being released for a 60-day public comment period, facilitates the Department of the Interior's internal efforts in adapting natural and cultural resource management activities to changing conditions, avoiding or minimizing impacts to people and built assets, working with tribes in their adaptation efforts, and providing scientific information and tools to support the range of activities and programs we oversee in the face of climate change.
Executive Order 13514 requires Federal agencies to submit their Sustainability Plans to the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and approval. Agencies annually update Sustainability Plans, prioritizing activities that help to meet energy, water, and waste reduction goals based on a positive return on investment for the American taxpayer. In addition to the Climate Change Adaptation Plans, this year's Sustainability Plans include two other new components, Fleet Management Plans and Bio-based Purchasing Strategies.
All of the federal agency adaptation plans build on the Administration's commitment to promoting climate change preparedness and resilience, including launching the Interagency Climate Change Adaptation Task Force in 2009, to coordinate measures across the Federal Government and support local and regional adaptation efforts.
Interior's plan is consistent with a new Department-wide climate change adaptation policy finalized in December 2012, which provides guidance to all bureaus and offices to ensure accountability, engender a consistent approach, foster internal and external coordination, and allow for monitoring and evaluation of climate change adaptation efforts. Implementation of the new policy is underway requiring the bureaus and offices to anticipate and address climate change impacts to their individual mission, programs, and resources.
Comments on the Climate Change Adaptation Plan may be submitted no later than April 12, 2013, to: firstname.lastname@example.org, or Kim Magraw, Office of Policy Analysis, 1849 C Street NW, Mail Stop 3530, Washington, DC 20240