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.
Historically, the West Branch of the Wolf River in Northeastern Wisconsin supported a healthy population of native brook trout while also providing wild rice and other food for the residents of the Menominee Indian Reservation. A sawmill was operated along the Wolf River for several decades until flood events in the mid 1900s carried logs a mile downstream from the mill where the logs came to rest in a logjam that altered the natural flow of the river. Instead of the naturally swift flowing trout stream it had been, the West Branch of the Wolf River was transformed into a slow, wide, shallow stretch characterized by sedimentation and warm water – no longer suitable for native populations of trout. Reconfiguring the Wolf River to once again support a healthy trout fishery is one of many projects that the Trustee Council has chosen to restore healthy fish populations in the Fox River/Green Bay watershed to compensate the public for injured fish populations and several years of diminished recreational fishing activities.
The Fox River/Green Bay Natural Resource Trustee Council enlisted contractor support to assist the Menominee Nation and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service staff in implementing this restoration project. Tribal environmental specialists and FWS biologists working on the restoration project described the process of river restoration as a unique interface of science and art. First, the river was surveyed to determine flow rates, the structure and composition of the river bottom, existing water quality, and presence of fish species. During the next phase, the contractor used specialized construction equipment that ran on biodegradable vegetable oil to ensure safe use in the water and on the stream banks. The contractor recycled many of the logs removed from the logjam to stabilize the banks and trap sediment to form natural bends in the stream. In addition, the new stream design included boulders placed to create pools and resting areas in the narrowed channel.
Staff from the Menominee Nation and the FWS will continue to monitor the river for the next two years. Among the key attributes they will assess are water temperature and quality, fish species composition, the status of wild rice beds and other wetland vegetation along the stream banks, and physical characteristics of the stream and the bottom of the river.