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.
Secretary Jewell Announces $102 Million in Coastal Resilience Grants to Help Atlantic Coast Communities Protect Themselves from Future Storms
Office of the Secretary
In aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, funds will help strengthen coastal wetlands, restore other natural areas, create jobs
Last edited 4/26/2016
NEW YORK, NY – As part of the Obama Administration's commitment in the Climate Action Plan to make local communities more resilient against future storms, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell today announced $102.7 million in competitive matching grants to support 54 projects along the Atlantic coast. The grants will fund science-based solutions to restore wetlands and other natural areas, better manage stormwater using green infrastructure and assist states, tribes and local communities in protecting themselves from major storms such as Hurricane Sandy, which devastated much of the East Coast in 2012.
“We are taking the lessons learned from this natural disaster to help local communities strengthen natural barriers between themselves and major storms such as Sandy that can cause major flooding and other damage,” Jewell said. “Together with our partners, we are stabilizing beaches, restoring wetlands, and improving the hydrology of coastal areas, both protecting local residents from the next big storm while creating jobs and restoring habitat for wildlife.”
Projects under the Hurricane Sandy Coastal Resiliency Competitive Grant Program will also provide an economic boost, creating hundreds of jobs in local communities. Many of the projects will place special emphasis on engaging and employing youth and veterans.
“These grants have the dual benefit of providing jobs while supporting the goal of President Obama's Climate Action Plan to make communities more resilient to future storms, predicted with a changing climate,” Jewell said. “Using sound science, these innovative projects will help rebuild, restore and research the natural areas along the Atlantic Coast.”
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, which is administering the grant program, helped guide the process that led to Interior's selection of the 54 projects out of 375 proposals submitted after Secretary Jewell announced the availability of the grants last October at an event with U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, U.S. Representative Jim Moran, and other local officials at National Park Service's Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve in Virginia.
“The grants announced today are in many ways symbolic of the core mission of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF. “They address current challenges, but at the same time, they lay the groundwork for addressing community needs and advancing long-term conservation of critical habitat and species. And these grants leverage the initial investment from the Department of the Interior with millions of dollars of additional funding and in-kind contributions, leading to a much greater conservation impact for those regions devastated by Hurricane Sandy.”
Interior's commitment of $100 million was matched with $2.7 million in funding from the U.S. Attorney General's offices in New Jersey and Deleware, as well as donations from Bank of America and Wells Fargo. The $102.7 million grant commitment was further leveraged by $72 million in grantee partner match, making the entire conservation impact of the grant program more than $175 million.
The majority of the projects are in areas severely damaged by Hurricane Sandy, including 24 projects in New York and New Jersey receiving nearly $50 million.
The projects will restore an estimated 6,634 acres of wetlands and marshes, 225 acres of beach, 364 acres of riparian buffers, and 16 miles of streams. The efforts will also open 287 miles of streams to fish passage and restore 147 acres of flood plain.
The competitive grants are part of the $787 million the Department of the Interior received in supplemental appropriations for recovery and resiliency in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. This includes $176 million in internal funds allocated to resiliency projects including projects to restore coastal marshes, wetlands and shoreline, create habitat connectivity, improve flood resilience and undertake other efforts to protect nearby areas from future storms.
A list of the projects announced today under the Hurricane Sandy Coastal Resiliency Competitive Grant Program can be found here.
About the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
Chartered by Congress in 1984, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) protects and restores the nation's fish, wildlife, plants and habitats. Working with federal, corporate and individual partners, NFWF has funded more than 4,000 organizations and committed more than $2.1 billion to conservation projects. Learn more at www.nfwf.org.