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.
Interior Settles Natural Resource Damage Claims Arising from July 2007 Hazardous Substances Release into North Fork Roanoke River in Montgomery County, Virginia
Last edited 4/26/2016
Aerial view of North Fork Roanoke River and associated riparian corridor as it passes through the Blacksburg Country Club in Blacksburg, Montgomery County, Virginia. Photo credit: Blacksburg Country Club.
On April 25, 2012, the U.S., on behalf of the Secretary of the Department of the Interior, settled natural resource damage claims against Blacksburg Country Club, Inc. for injuries to natural resources and natural resource services caused by a hazardous substances release from its golf course in Blacksburg, Virginia. Department of the Interior, represented by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, was the only natural resource trustee participating in this settlement. The settlement was embodied in a Consent Decree entered by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia.
On July 9, 2007, hazardous substances, including chlorothalonil, were released from the grounds of the Blacksburg Country Club's golf course when a tank being filled with fungicides and a plant growth inhibitor overflowed. The release entered the North Fork Roanoke River and resulted in injury to the aquatic ecosystem of the River and the mortality of resident fish. An estimated 10,335 fish, including 169 Roanoke logperch -- a freshwater darter listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 -- were killed.
The final settlement calls for Blacksburg Country Club, Inc. to:
Finance and implement a Restoration Plan, called “River Restoration Plan for the North Fork Roanoke River Fish Kill,” dated December 2011, which is incorporated in the Consent Decree as Appendix A;
Pay $18,964.34 plus accrued interest to Department of Justice for past natural resource damage assessment costs and for future restoration oversight costs; and,
Pay all future travel costs of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for restoration projects implementation and monitoring.
Implementation of natural resource restoration projects as specified in the Restoration Plan is to begin soon.