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.
There are two sources of funds for the NRDA Restoration Program – “appropriated funds” received annually from the Congress and “recoveries” received from the entities responsible for natural resource injuries. These funds are maintained and managed in the DOI Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration Fund (Restoration Fund).
In February of each year, the President sends a budget request to Congress listing the funds that the government needs to operate its various programs for the following year. The NRDA Restoration Program is no exception. The Program's budget is organized into four components: damage assessment, restoration support, inland oil spill preparedness, and program management. The most recent budget request is summarized in the table below and can be found in its entirety in the2017 Budget Justification.
Fiscal Year 2017 Budget Request to Congress (Dollars in Thousands)
Inland Oil Spill Preparedness
In addition, the Program receives money, called “damages” in the NRDA Restoration legal setting, from responsible parties. These recovered damages include funds used to restore the injured natural resources, as well as funds recovered as a reimbursement for the cost of performing damage assessments. The money received from responsible parties for restoration of natural resource injuries is used to address the injuries from a specific damage assessment case. Such recoveries are used for the planning, implementation, management, and monitoring of projects to restore, replace, or acquire the equivalent of the injured resources. Since 2006, the Program has disbursed approximately $30 million annually to the Department's Bureaus and its co-trustees for restoration activities.
Recovered assessment costs supplement the appropriated damage assessment money and can be used anywhere nation-wide to address new or continuing damage assessment cases. Over the past five years, the Program has utilized between one and two million dollars annually in recovered assessment costs. Additionally, in some instances where the Department is conducting a damage assessment with cooperative responsible parties, funds may be provided in advance by the responsible parties to cover the costs of agreed-to studies and activities conducted by the Department and its bureaus.