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.
WASHINGTON – In response to President Obama’s call to improve efficiency in government buildings and operations, the U.S. Department of the Interior today announced its strategic space plan for the Denver Federal Center (DFC), a joint initiative with the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA). The plan is designed to improve the quality of work life for federal employees and to make more economical use of space for the future.
“In an unprecedented partnership, DOI and the GSA developed a plan to help get Federal employees out of expensive commercial leases and into modernized federally-owned offices with shared, better-utilized space,” said Kristen J. Sarri, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management, and Budget at DOI, responsible for the space consolidation effort. “Investment in and management of our facilities is inherent to successful implementation of Interior’s mission. As rising rents outpace our budgets, we must find efficiencies in space management and continue to develop innovative approaches to consolidate work space.”
The DFC partnership stems from a government-wide initiative to reduce the footprint of office space occupied by federal agencies. Over the last year, DOI and GSA leaders jointly staffed a working group to develop a long-term, DOI-wide plan for the DFC based on an analysis of mission needs, personnel count, and space requirements. The group also examined how to improve the work lives of DOI employees, including expanding child care services and offering a broader variety of food service options. By eliminating multiple commercial leases and consolidating and sharing administrative services, DOI seeks to realize a reduced physical footprint, improved energy efficiency and cost avoidance and savings.
Once all of the space savings and consolidation activities have been completed, DOI expects to achieve a rent savings or avoidance of approximately $6.4 million per year.
In addition, DOI has secured $15 million in GSA's FY16 space consolidation funding for a Bureau of Reclamation project on the DFC. This project saves $1.6 million in annual rent and consolidates space for over 1,000 employees.
The DFC Plan is a starting point for collaboration nationwide to reduce space and consolidate among Interior bureaus and offices. Effective implementation of these efforts will require continued collaboration with GSA, and, as a result, Interior employees will benefit from working in more modern, efficient, quality, federally-owned space that helps improve mission delivery at a lower cost.
A new working group was recently chartered for the greater Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia metropolitan area (DMV), and is developing a strategic plan for Interior-managed office space, primarily the Stewart Lee Udall Building, the South Interior Building and the John Wesley Powell Building. Once the group completes this plan, they will engage GSA to develop a comprehensive plan for all office and warehouse space in the greater DMV.