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.
Trustees Release Amendment to Final Restoration Plan for Natural Resources Injured by Hazardous Substances Releases in Housatonic River, Connecticut
Last edited 4/20/2016
On August 20, 2013, the federal and State natural resource trustees released the publicly-reviewed “Final Amendment to the Housatonic River Basin Final Natural Resources Restoration Plan, Environmental Assessment, and Environmental Impact Evaluation for Connecticut.” This Amendment selects seven, additional, preferred aquatic natural resource restoration projects to be undertaken in Connecticut.
The natural resource trustees involved in this case include:
State of Connecticut, represented by Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection;
U.S. Department of Commerce, represented by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; and,
U.S. Department of the Interior, represented by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Housatonic River flows south from the Berkshire Mountains through western Massachusetts and Connecticut, eventually emptying into Long Island Sound. From the late 1930s to the late 1970s, General Electric Company operated a facility in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, for the manufacture of electrical transformers. Hazardous substances from this facility -- including PCBs, dioxins, furans, volatile organic compounds, semi-volatile organic compounds and metals -- were released to Housatonic River.
Sediments, floodplain soils, river banks and former river oxbows in the Housatonic River watershed, from Pittsfield to Long Island Sound, were contaminated by these hazardous substances. Natural resources and natural resource services were injured by these releases.
Natural resource damage claims against General Electric were settled in a Consent Decree entered by the U.S. District Court on October 27, 2000. In this settlement, General Electric agreed to clean-up the contamination and pay $15 million for natural resource restoration projects. Approximately half of this amount was directed to projects specifically in Connecticut. The trustees released a publicly-reviewed Restoration Plan in July 2009 selecting 27 preferred restoration projects in Connecticut, totaling $7 million, to restore these injured natural resources and natural resource services.
A portion of these settlement funds were reserved for future aquatic natural resource restoration projects to be determined by amending the 2009 Restoration Plan. With accrued interest, these reserved funds have grown to more than $2 million.
This publicly-reviewed Amendment to the Restoration Plan selects seven aquatic natural resource restoration projects to be funded with these reserved funds, including:
Power Line Marsh habitat restoration;
Restoration of River and stream continuity in northwest Connecticut through culvert replacement;
Long Beach west tidal marsh habitat restoration;
McKinney National Wildlife Refuge, Great Meadows Unit, conceptual marsh restoration;
Old Papermill Pond Dam fish passage;
Pin Shop Pond Dam removal; and,
Tingue Dam bypass channel.
These restoration projects are designed to improve estuarine wildlife habitat and increase habitat for migratory fish. The trustees will monitor and evaluate the implementation of these projects.