A rugged, whitewater river flowing northward through deep canyons, the New River is among the oldest rivers on the continent. New River Gorge National River in West Virginia encompasses over 70,000 acres of land along the New River, is rich in cultural and natural history, and offers an abundance of scenic and recreational opportunities.
Big Southern Butte is one of two domes rising from a sea of basalt near the center of the eastern Snake River Plain in Idaho. The butte is one of the largest volcanic domes in the world, but at 300,000 years old it is also one of the youngest. Hikers who trek to the 7,550-foot high summit are rewarded with spectacular panoramic views. Photo by Devin Englestead, BLM Upper Snake Wildlife Biologist.
First light at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico. Established in November 22, 1939, the refuge has provided a critical stopover and wintering spot for thousands of sandhill cranes, geese and other waterfowl for 75 years. Bosque del Apache's sandhill crane population has multiplied from 18 birds in the 1840s to more than 20,000 birds today. Photo by Kim Hang Dessoliers (www.sharetheexperience.org).
"…provide the Department of the Interior (Department) with science-based assessments and interdisciplinary scenarios of environmental crises affecting Departmental resources; rapidly assemble trained teams of scientists to conduct such work during environmental crises; and, provide the results of this work to the Secretary and Departmental leadership to support decision making during crises."
It is at the discretion of the Secretary to identify the appropriate crises to deploy the SSG. The following are "triggering" criteria for identifying crises for which the SSG may be deployed:
an acute event of immediate, significant impact and of relatively defined duration,
an event for which the SSG can add value, using a strategic approach of scenario development to assist decisionmakers,
unanticipated, improbable events with multiple, synergistic or cascading environmental, economic, and social consequences, and
events with a potential high degree of risk or loss (social/economic/environmental).
The Secretary may direct the SSG to assist other Federal, State, local, or tribal agencies, and may direct the SSG to provide international assistance as necessary, subject to applicable authorities and availability of appropriations.