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.
Interior Settles Natural Resource Damage Claims Arising from August 2008 Oil Spill in Wayne County, Illinois
Last edited 4/26/2016
Aerial view of oil spill response operations in August 2008 during the Marathon Pipe Line LLC pipeline crude oil spill in Wayne County, Illinois, showing the affected surrounding habitat. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service worked with Marathon during this emergency response to select the locations of temporary roads and equipment staging areas to avoid harming the endangered Indiana bat and migratory birds. Photo credit: Mike Coffey, FWS.
On February 15, 2012, the U.S., on behalf of the Secretary of the Department of the Interior, settled natural resource damage claims against Marathon Pipe Line LLC for injuries to natural resources and natural resource services caused by an August 10, 2008 crude oil spill from a pipeline near Mount Erie, in Wayne County, Illinois. Department of the Interior, acting through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, was the only natural resource trustee involved in this incident. This settlement was embodied in a Consent Decree entered by the U.S. District Court for the District of Southern Illinois, Benton Division.
The oil spill released an estimated 5,000 barrels of crude oil from a subsurface pipeline into the floodplain of Elm Creek. Natural resources injured by the incident include freshwater wetland habitat and the plant and wildlife species using that habitat.
The Consent Decree calls for Marathon Pipe Line LLC to:
Finance and implement the restoration projects as specified in the Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan; and,
Pay $90,629.03 to Department of the Interior for past assessment costs and future costs for oversight and monitoring of restoration projects.
The publicly-reviewed Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan, entitled “Natural Resource Damages Assessment and Restoration Planning (DARP) Report,” has been incorporated in the Consent Decree as Appendix A. The restoration projects to be implemented, beginning this spring, include: restoration of 7.1 acres of palustrine forested wetlands directly impacted by the oil spill; restoration of 14.2 acres of adjacent agricultural fields owned by Marathon Pipe Line LLC; and, installation of two bat houses for endangered Indiana bats and ten nesting boxes for migratory wood ducks.