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.
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.