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.
WASHINGTON– U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell today commended the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council for issuing its initial list of proposed projects for meaningful and lasting natural resource restoration for Gulf Coast communities in the wake of the tragic Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
The RESTORE Council today proposed using approximately $139.6 million from the recent settlement with Transocean Deepwater, Inc. to support restoration projects in key regional watersheds. Interior’s role in these projects is primarily focused on resiliency building efforts across the Gulf Coast.
“From Texas to Florida, the RESTORE Council is committed to recovering the health and resilience of the Gulf of Mexico,” said Jewell. “These important projects are focused on improving both water quality and wildlife habitat. Because of the direct connection between the environment and the economy in the Gulf region, these projects also help provide long-term economic benefits to local communities.”
The RESTORE Council was created under the 2012 Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability Tourist Opportunities and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States Act (RESTORE Act), which directed the Council to dedicate 80 percent of all Clean Water Act penalties relating to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill to the fund it oversees.
As a member on the Council, Interior was actively engaged in developing restoration proposals for the first draft of the Initial Funded Priorities List (FPL) of projects.
Some of the projects reflect Interior’s priorities for building climate resilient habitats, which include efforts to conserve existing habitat, restore and rebuild degraded habitat, support tribal responsibilities and provide science-based information to ensure future projects are built on a solid foundation.
The projects also focus on investments in water quality improvements and hydrologic restoration across the Gulf, which will provide direct benefits to millions of migratory birds and hundreds of federally-listed, at-risk species that call the Gulf home.
Additional proposed projects include: important restoration work to plug 11 abandoned oil and gas wells, backfill more than 16 miles of abandoned oil and gas canals, establish minimum monitoring and data standards for restoration work and develop conservation planning tools to assist in the identification and evaluation of future land conservation proposals in the Gulf Coast region.
Interior also plans to partner with Council members to create a proposed $8 million Gulf Coast Conservation Corps, which would provide job skills, training and education to youth in the region. Also, under this restoration-related corps plan, $500,000 would be set aside to create a tribal youth conservation corps along the Gulf Coast.
“While the primary goal is to restore the Gulf, it is also our responsibility to restore opportunity to the people who have been most impacted by the spill,” Jewell said. “Providing job training skills can enhance people’s ability to engage in the long-term Gulf restoration effort to help families, bolster local economies, and lead to a more resilient coast.”
The Council is inviting the public to comment on the draft Initial Funded Priorities List of projects and to attend public meetings that will be held across the Gulf Coast region. For more information on the specific projects and public meetings or to comment on the Initial Funded Priorities List, please visit www.RestoretheGulf.gov.
For more information on the Department of the Interior’s post-oil spill restoration work, and the Department’s approved and proposed projects, please visit www.doi.gov/DeepWaterHorizon.