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News Article | May 27, 2017
Site: www.theenergycollective.com

This weekend is Memorial Day – the unofficial start to summer. That means kids across the country – and adults too – are counting down the days until summer vacation. Whether your plans include going to a beach, visiting a national park, or just letting your kids play outside in the sprinklers, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) plays an important role in making your summer healthier and safer – in ways you might not realize. Here are four examples of how EPA improves summers for all Americans: Smog comes from pollution emitted from cars, power plants, and other sources. It can lead to asthma attacks, heart attacks and even deaths. The summer smog season has already started in most parts of the country. A number of “code orange” days – the terms for days when the air may be too dangerous for some people, like children with asthma and seniors with heart conditions, to be outdoors – have already been issued. Smog has improved significantly in recent decades, thanks to EPA and state leadership, but air quality in the U.S. continues to be a serious problem that can jeopardize public health and limit many individuals’ freedom to spend time outdoors. The American Lung Association estimates that more than a third of Americans live in areas with unhealthy levels of smog. EPA has worked for decades to reduce smog, most recently when the agency issued new standards for smog in 2015. Once they’re in effect, those standards will prevent 230,000 asthma attacks among children every year. That doesn’t include the benefits for California, which EPA calculated separately – the smog standards will prevent another 160,000 asthma attacks among children in that state alone. Unfortunately, smog standards are under attack in Congress. Several bills to delay and fundamentally alter how these and other air pollution standards are set are now moving through the Senate. Additionally, President Trump’s proposed budget for 2018 cuts funding for the air monitoring that warns families about “Code Red” and “Code Orange” days – the days when air quality reaches unhealthy levels – by almost one third. Many of us look forward to summer for the opportunity to spend time on the beach. Last year, U.S. beach attendance was almost 360 million (more than the entire U.S. population!). Unfortunately, beaches can be shut down by pollution – including raw sewage, which can expose swimmers to harmful microorganisms called “pathogens” that can make people sick. An analysis done by the Natural Resources Defense Council a few years ago looked at water samples from 3,485 coastal U.S. beaches – and found that 10 percent of them were above EPA’s benchmark for swimmer safety. The analysis also notes that an estimated 3.5 million people are sickened every year from contact with raw sewage. EPA – in partnership with states, local governments, and others – works to protect our nation’s beaches. The agency enforces laws and administers programs that regulate sources of water pollution at beaches, conducts leading scientific research on pathogens and sets national standards and criteria, funds grants to states and local governments to help protect our beaches, provides information to the public about water quality, and more. This work helps ensure that America’s beaches stay safe, clean, and open for visitors. Here are a few examples of beach monitoring and cleanup grants distributed by EPA: President Trump’s proposed budget for EPA would eliminate the beach monitoring grants program, among many other things that could impact the health of our nation’s beaches. National parks are a popular destination for summer vacationers across the country. According to the National Park Service, there were over 307 million visits to our national parks last year and those visitors spent $16.9 billion in surrounding communities. This spending supported 295,000 jobs and contributed $32 billion to economic output nationally. EPA and other agencies monitor visibility at 155 national parks and wilderness areas across the country. Unfortunately, many national parks suffer from haze – a form of pollution – that can tarnish scenic vistas and create health problems for visitors. EPA’s program to reduce haze and other pollution harming our parks has led to measurable improvements in visibility. However, according to the National Parks and Conservation Association, three out of four of our most iconic national parks struggle with unhealthy air, and visitors miss about 50 miles of scenery because of haze. EPA’s work to reduce the pollution affecting our parks is under threat by Administrator Scott Pruitt, who sued EPA over a plan to reduce haze when he was Attorney General of Oklahoma. Climate change affects virtually every facet of our lives and can exacerbate all of the problems listed above – more smoggy days, rising sea levels and more pathogens potentially spreading at beaches, and worse haze in our parks. Extreme summer heat can also cause illness and death, and climate change is increasing the frequency and severity of those potentially deadly heat waves. EPA has provided essential leadership to address climate change – including setting standards that would reduce pollution from power plants, cars, trucks, oil and gas operations, and more. Actions underway by EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and severe budget cuts in President Trump’s proposed EPA budget could significantly harm the progress we’ve made and delay urgently needed protections for public health and our climate. President Trump and Administrator Pruitt have indicated they will seek to unravel numerous climate protections, including the Clean Power Plan. Their proposed budget for EPA and other agencies undermines climate research and policies, including by zeroing out the U.S. Climate Action Plan. Protecting the things that we love about summer EPA’s work protects our air, our water, our beautiful beaches and parks – and most important, the health and safety of our families. As you enjoy your summer, please remember how important it is to protect the qualities that make summer great. We need a strong EPA – now and all year long. More than just our summers are at stake.


News Article | May 23, 2017
Site: www.prweb.com

President Donald Trump proposed a $1.097 billion Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18) budget for the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation. The budget supports the Administration’s and Interior’s goals of ensuring the efficient generation of American energy, provision of secure water supplies, varied use of resources, celebration of America’s recreation opportunities and fulfilling commitments to tribal nations. “President Trump promised the American people he would cut wasteful spending and make the government work for the taxpayer again, and that's exactly what this budget does,” said U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. “Working carefully with the President, we identified areas where we could reduce spending and also areas for investment, such as addressing the maintenance backlog in our National Parks and increasing domestic energy production on federal lands. The budget also allows the Department to return to the traditional principles of multiple-use management to include both responsible natural resource development and conservation of special places. Being from the West, I've seen how years of bloated bureaucracy and D.C.-centric policies hurt our rural communities. The President's budget saves taxpayers by focusing program spending, shrinking bureaucracy, and empowering the front lines."     As the nation’s largest wholesale water supplier and second-largest producer of hydroelectric power, Reclamation’s projects and programs are an important driver of economic growth in the western States. Its mission is to manage, develop, and protect water and related resources in an environmentally and economically sound manner in the interest of the American public. Reclamation manages water for agricultural, municipal and industrial uses, and provides flood risk reduction and recreation for millions of people.   “President Trump’s budget for Reclamation shows his strong commitment to our mission of managing water and producing hydropower in the West,” Acting Commissioner Alan Mikkelsen said. “Reclamation’s infrastructure needs are also high in priority to keep dams safe for the public they serve.” Reclamation's expenditures are offset by current receipts in the Central Valley Project Restoration Fund of $41 million, resulting in net discretionary budget authority of $1.056 billion. The budget proposal for permanent appropriations in FY18 totals $97.5 million. The proposal for Reclamation’s Water and Related Resources account of $960.0 million provides for five major program activities: Water and Energy Management and Development ($313.7 million), Land Management and Development ($44.2 million), Fish and Wildlife Management and Development ($153.0 million), Facility Operations ($296.0 million), and Facility Maintenance and Rehabilitation ($153.2 million). The funding proposed in Reclamation’s FY18 budget supports key programs important to the 17 Western States. It emphasizes Reclamation's core mission of reliable water delivery and hydropower generation to address the water demands of a growing population in an environmentally responsible and cost-efficient manner; and to assist states, tribes and local entities in solving water resource issues. It also emphasizes the operation and maintenance of Reclamation facilities in a safe, efficient, economic and reliable manner — ensuring systems and safety measures are in place to protect the public and Reclamation facilities.   The budget also supports water rights settlements to ensure sufficient resources to address the requirements of legislation passed by Congress to settle litigation. The request includes amounts for specific Indian water rights settlements that support tribal nations, including the newly enacted Blackfeet Water Rights Settlement.     The FY18 budget will continue to support and emphasize activities designed to prevent and combat the infestation of quagga and zebra mussels across Reclamation states. These invasive species are rapidly reproducing and have infested multiple operational areas of Reclamation facilities, impacting pumping capabilities for power and water operations, blocking water intake structures and affecting the ecosystems by feeding off existing algae resulting in a shift in native species and a disruption of the ecological balance. Research is continuing to find ways to impede the quagga and zebra mussels’ populations. Increased funding in FY18 will support Reclamation mussels’ activities framework established in the Quagga–Zebra Mussel Action Plan (QZAP) for Western U.S. Waters. This work is being pursued in close cooperation with the Western Governors Association, and includes a focus on working with states and tribes to keep invasive mussels from infecting the Columbia River Basin in the Pacific Northwest.   Reclamation’s dams, water conveyances and power generating facilities are critical components of the Nation’s infrastructure. Effectively managing these structures is among the many significant challenges facing Reclamation over the next several years and beyond. Reclamation’s FY18 budget reflects a very deliberate approach to addressing mission priorities.    Tribal Nations – Within Water and Related Resources in FY18, Reclamation is requesting a total of $151.3 million to support tribal nations’ efforts and initiatives. To meet Interior’s trust and treaty obligations, Reclamation’s budget request sets Indian water rights settlements among the highest priorities. In FY18, $98.6 million is requested for the Indian water rights settlements authorized under several legislative statutes, including the Claims Resolution Act of 2010, the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 and the newly enacted Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act of 2016. This includes funding of $67.8 million for the Navajo-Gallup Water Supply Project, $12.8 million for the Crow Tribe Water Rights Settlement, $8.0 million for the Aamodt Litigation Settlement, and $10.0 million for the Blackfeet Water Rights Settlement. The funding for the Blackfeet Water Rights Settlement represents Reclamation’s first contribution towards meeting its required contribution of $246.5 million by January 2025. In addition to requesting funding consistent with current activity, these settlements will draw on available mandatory funding to continue project activities. In FY18, the discretionary funds are requested within Water and Related Resources, as opposed to a separate appropriations account as requested in prior years.   Funding to support tribal nations is also included within a number of projects, including the Mni Wiconi Project for the required tribal operation and maintenance ($13.5 million), the Nez Perce Settlement within Columbia and Snake River Salmon Recovery Project ($7.1 million), the San Carlos Apache Tribe Water Settlement Act ($1.6 million) and the Ak Chin Indian Water Rights Settlement Act ($16.2 million).   Other aspects of the FY18 budget proposal include: Central Valley Project Restoration Fund – This fund was established by the Central Valley Project Improvement Act, Title XXXIV of P.L. 102-575, Oct. 30, 1992. The budget of $41.4 million is expected to be offset by discretionary receipts totaling $41.4 million, which is the maximum amount that can be collected from project beneficiaries under provisions of Section 3407(d) of the Act. The discretionary receipts are adjusted on an annual basis to maintain payments totaling $30 million (October 1992 price levels) on a three-year rolling average basis. The budget of $41.4 million for the CVPRF was developed after considering the effects of the San Joaquin River Restoration Settlement Act (P.L. 111-11, March 30, 2009) which redirects certain fees, estimated at $2 million in FY 2018, collected from the Friant Division water users to the San Joaquin Restoration Fund. Dam Safety Program – The safety and reliability of Reclamation dams is one of Reclamation’s highest priorities. The Dam Safety Program is critical to effectively manage risks to the downstream public, property, project, and natural resources. The budget of $88.1 million for the Safety of Dams Evaluation and Modification Program provides for risk management activities at Reclamation’s high and significant hazard dams where loss of life or significant economic damage would likely occur if the dam were to fail. The budget also includes preconstruction and construction activities for several ongoing and planned Dam Safety modifications. In addition, funding is included in the budget for Interior’s Dam Safety Program, which Reclamation oversees.   Desalination and Water Purification Research Program – This program supports desalination research, development and demonstrations for the purpose of converting unusable waters into useable water supplies. The FY18 request of $2.9 million supports new and continued projects in the three funding areas: laboratory scale research studies, pilot-scale testing projects and full-scale testing projects. Funding also supports the operation and maintenance of Reclamation’s Brackish Groundwater National Desalination Research Facility, which supports testing of pilot-scale and full-scale testing projects, as well as potentially supporting work from Cooperative Research and Development Agreements that are in development, including one focused on produced waters from oil and gas extraction activities.   Science and Technology Program – The FY18 request at $11.1 million supports continued science and technology projects, water and power technology prize competitions, technology transfer, and dissemination/outreach activities addressing critical water and power management technical obstacles in water management, hydropower generation, infrastructure management and environmental compliance. The S&T Program also continues to develop improved methods for monitoring, detection and control of invasive mussels that continue to spread in the West, infesting Reclamation dams, power plants, and facilities of other water providers.   The Site Security program – The budget will continue Reclamation’s ongoing site-security program at $26.2 million, which includes physical security upgrades at key facilities, guards and patrols, anti-terrorism program activities and security risk assessments.   WaterSMART Program – The President’s proposed budget for Reclamation calls for $59.1 million for the WaterSMART Program — Sustain and Manage America’s Resources for Tomorrow — to assist communities in optimizing the use of water supplies by improving water management. The WaterSMART Program components include: WaterSMART Grants funded at $23.4 million; Basin Studies Program, $5.2 million; Title XVI Water Reclamation and Reuse Program, $21.5 million; Water Conservation Field Service program, $4.0 million; Cooperative Watershed Management program, $1.75 million; and the Drought Response program, $3.25 million.   The Bureau of Reclamation, throughout the 17 western states, is committed to helping meet the many water and power challenges of the West. Reclamation’s water and hydropower projects and activities throughout the western United States are a foundation for essential and safe water supplies, providing renewable hydropower energy and sustaining ecosystems supporting fish and wildlife, recreation and rural economies.     To view Reclamation’s budget request, see http://www.usbr.gov/budget.


Wildlife in South Sudan, which is home to the world's second-largest land mammal migration, includes species of global importance, such as elephant, giraffe, lion, and hippopotamus. WCS conducted the aerial survey in 2015-16 as part of a project funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and part of the Great Elephant Census, funded by philanthropist and Microsoft cofounder Paul G. Allen. WCS previously conducted aerial surveys of South Sudan's wildlife and protected areas in 2007, 2008, 2009-10 and 2013. The 2015-16 aerial survey covered the areas of Boma, Badingilo, Nimule, Southern, and Shambe National Parks, and the proposed Loelle protected area. A combination of aerial survey methods (systematic surveys and recce surveys) were employed with a total of 17,934 km flown (98 hours of flight time) and an estimated 20,845 sq. km surveyed systematically. The survey confirmed a minimum of 730 elephants in the surveyed zone. However, about 50 percent of previously documented important wildlife areas—including the northern part of South Sudan's vast wetland, the Sudd—were inaccessible due to conflict, preventing a comprehensive assessment. Earlier surveys and applied research conducted by WCS and the South Sudan Wildlife Service estimated an elephant population of some 2,300 in the country prior to the civil war, which began in December 2013, down from an estimated 79,000 in the 1970's. Elephants face continued and expanded threats. Giraffe are in very low numbers—down from some 13,000 in the early 1980's to only hundreds remaining now and at risk of local extinction. Migratory tiang and other antelopes are vulnerable due to annual migration between Badingilo National Park and the Sudd. The survey documented northern giraffe Kordofan subspecies in Shambe National Park area and hippopotamus and Uganda kob in Nimule National Park. Endangered northern giraffe Nubian subspecies, reedbuck, common eland, Beisa oryx, ostrich and wild dog were observed in Badingilo, Boma, and Loella areas. The white-eared kob and Mongalla gazelle were found to be the most dominant species in Badingilo and Boma. Important transboundary conservation linkages between South Sudan and neighbouring Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda were also documented. Hon. Jemma Nunu Kumba, Minister, Ministry of Wildlife Conservation and Tourism stated: "These surveys are important for our country as they show the world that South Sudan is still home for many iconic wildlife species. However, some of these species have become endangered. I want to appeal to the people of South Sudan to take special care in protecting these endangered animals so that the next generation will continue to benefit from their presence. These animals serve and will serve as an import source of ecotourism for the country." "The United States Government is supporting wildlife conservation in South Sudan because it is a priceless resource for the people of South Sudan and our shared global heritage," said USAID South Sudan Mission Director Jeffrey Bakken. "Our assistance has helped provide employment opportunities, helped resolve local conflicts and promoted knowledge sharing with local communities about the importance and benefits of protecting their wildlife heritage. South Sudan's wildlife and natural resources can directly contribute to peace and sustainable development." Said Cristián Samper, WCS President and CEO: "There is still hope for wildlife in South Sudan even as conflict rages on. But there must be actions taken, including strengthening protected areas, to ensure the protection of South Sudan's natural heritage which is vital for wildlife and communities alike. Healthy wildlife populations and well managed Parks can improve livelihoods and security, and stabilize the region."


Bear M128, a sub-adult male bear who foraged extensively on the railway,manipulates a screen used by researchers to measure grain spilled fromhopper cars. Credit: Niels de Nijs Spilled grain, rail-killed ungulates, and the effects on other species of increased light and warmth may all attract grizzly bears to forage along railways in Canada's mountain parks, which could increase their risk of being hit by trains, according to a study published May 24, 2017 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Maureen Murray from the University of Alberta, Canada, and colleagues. Trains frequently kill wildlife along railways worldwide but little is known about what attracts animals to the rail area. Potential attractants include agricultural products that leak from train cars, vegetation that benefits from light and disturbance, and scavenging opportunities from rail-killed animals. To assess these effects, collaborators in Canada's Banff and Yoho National Parks fitted 21 bears with GPS collars. The U of A team then measured stable isotopes and analyzed 230 grizzly bear scats collected over three years, some of which could be attributed to GPS-collared bears. Isotope analyses focused on 15N, which reflects dietary animal protein and 34S, which showed an increased amount of railway vegetation for rail-using bears in a previous study. The researchers found that 19 of the 21 collared bears used the tracks at least once while collared, but only four used it more than a fifth of the days they were monitored. Unexpectedly, the isotopes of nitrogen and sulfur did not vary with amount of rail use, but 15N increased with body mass in male bears and scats containing sulfur pellets also contained grain. Scats found within 150 m of the rail were six times more likely to contain nutrient-rich grains, including wheat, barley, canola seeds, and lentils. Scats near the rail also contained more ant parts and ungulate hair, while scats containing grain also contained a greater diversity of both plants and animals. Colleen Cassady St. Clair, PI of the study, said she was surprised by the large variation among bears in rail use and the apparent diversity of their foraging targets. "We could attribute scats containing grain to only four of the GPS-collared bears; three skinny teenagers plus the biggest, most dominant male bear." To reduce the risk of trains killing the bears, the researchers recommend that managers continue to remove grain and ungulate carcasses from the railway, reduce grain spills from trains, and target mitigation on the specific bears and locations that generate high rates of rail-based foraging. Explore further: Measuring the impact of a changing climate on threatened Yellowstone grizzly bears More information: Murray MH, Fassina S, Hopkins JB III, Whittington J, St. Clair CC (2017) Seasonal and individual variation in the use of rail-associated food attractants by grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) in a national park. PLoS ONE 12(5): e0175658. doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0175658


News Article | May 28, 2017
Site: www.sciencedaily.com

Spilled grain, rail-killed ungulates, and the effects on other species of increased light and warmth may all attract grizzly bears to forage along railways in Canada's mountain parks, which could increase their risk of being hit by trains, according to a study published May 24, 2017 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Maureen Murray from the University of Alberta, Canada, and colleagues. Trains frequently kill wildlife along railways worldwide but little is known about what attracts animals to the rail area. Potential attractants include agricultural products that leak from train cars, vegetation that benefits from light and disturbance, and scavenging opportunities from rail-killed animals. To assess these effects, collaborators in Canada's Banff and Yoho National Parks fitted 21 bears with GPS collars. The U of A team then measured stable isotopes and analyzed 230 grizzly bear scats collected over three years, some of which could be attributed to GPS-collared bears. Isotope analyses focused on 15N, which reflects dietary animal protein and 34S, which showed an increased amount of railway vegetation for rail-using bears in a previous study. The researchers found that 19 of the 21 collared bears used the tracks at least once while collared, but only four used it more than a fifth of the days they were monitored. Unexpectedly, the isotopes of nitrogen and sulfur did not vary with amount of rail use, but 15N increased with body mass in male bears and scats containing sulfur pellets also contained grain. Scats found within 150 m of the rail were six times more likely to contain nutrient-rich grains, including wheat, barley, canola seeds, and lentils. Scats near the rail also contained more ant parts and ungulate hair, while scats containing grain also contained a greater diversity of both plants and animals. Colleen Cassady St. Clair, PI of the study, said she was surprised by the large variation among bears in rail use and the apparent diversity of their foraging targets. "We could attribute scats containing grain to only four of the GPS-collared bears; three skinny teenagers plus the biggest, most dominant male bear." To reduce the risk of trains killing the bears, the researchers recommend that managers continue to remove grain and ungulate carcasses from the railway, reduce grain spills from trains, and target mitigation on the specific bears and locations that generate high rates of rail-based foraging.


Spilled grain, rail-killed ungulates, and the effects on other species of increased light and warmth may all attract grizzly bears to forage along railways in Canada's mountain parks, which could increase their risk of being hit by trains, according to a study published May 24, 2017 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Maureen Murray from the University of Alberta, Canada, and colleagues. Trains frequently kill wildlife along railways worldwide but little is known about what attracts animals to the rail area. Potential attractants include agricultural products that leak from train cars, vegetation that benefits from light and disturbance, and scavenging opportunities from rail-killed animals. To assess these effects, collaborators in Canada's Banff and Yoho National Parks fitted 21 bears with GPS collars. The U of A team then measured stable isotopes and analyzed 230 grizzly bear scats collected over three years, some of which could be attributed to GPS-collared bears. Isotope analyses focused on 15N, which reflects dietary animal protein and 34S, which showed an increased amount of railway vegetation for rail-using bears in a previous study. The researchers found that 19 of the 21 collared bears used the tracks at least once while collared, but only four used it more than a fifth of the days they were monitored. Unexpectedly, the isotopes of nitrogen and sulfur did not vary with amount of rail use, but 15N increased with body mass in male bears and scats containing sulfur pellets also contained grain. Scats found within 150 m of the rail were six times more likely to contain nutrient-rich grains, including wheat, barley, canola seeds, and lentils. Scats near the rail also contained more ant parts and ungulate hair, while scats containing grain also contained a greater diversity of both plants and animals. Colleen Cassady St. Clair, PI of the study, said she was surprised by the large variation among bears in rail use and the apparent diversity of their foraging targets. "We could attribute scats containing grain to only four of the GPS-collared bears; three skinny teenagers plus the biggest, most dominant male bear." To reduce the risk of trains killing the bears, the researchers recommend that managers continue to remove grain and ungulate carcasses from the railway, reduce grain spills from trains, and target mitigation on the specific bears and locations that generate high rates of rail-based foraging. In your coverage please use this URL to provide access to the freely available article in PLOS ONE: http://journals. Citation: Murray MH, Fassina S, Hopkins JB III, Whittington J, St. Clair CC (2017) Seasonal and individual variation in the use of rail-associated food attractants by grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) in a national park. PLoS ONE 12(5): e0175658. https:/ Funding: We are grateful for funding to conduct this project from the Joint Initiative for Grizzly Bear Conservation by Parks Canada and Canadian Pacific and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Council of Canada, grant number File CRDPJ 441928 - 12, url: http://www. . The funders had no role in study design, data analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript, but Parks Canada provided the hair samples used for the SIA analysis. Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.


The first aerial assessment of the impact of South Sudan's current civil war on the country's wildlife and other natural resources shows that significant wildlife populations have so far survived, but poaching and commercial wildlife trafficking are increasing, as well as illegal mining, timber harvesting and charcoal production, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) said in a report issued today. Wildlife in South Sudan, which is home to the world's second-largest land mammal migration, includes species of global importance, such as elephant, giraffe, lion, and hippopotamus. WCS conducted the aerial survey in 2015-16 as part of a project funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and part of the Great Elephant Census©, funded by philanthropist and Microsoft cofounder Paul G. Allen. WCS previously conducted aerial surveys of South Sudan's wildlife and protected areas in 2007, 2008, 2009-10 and 2013. The 2015-16 aerial survey covered the areas of Boma, Badingilo, Nimule, Southern, and Shambe National Parks, and the proposed Loelle protected area. A combination of aerial survey methods (systematic surveys and recce surveys) were employed with a total of 17,934 km flown (98 hours of flight time) and an estimated 20,845 sq. km surveyed systematically. The survey confirmed a minimum of 730 elephants in the surveyed zone. However, about 50 percent of previously documented important wildlife areas -- including the northern part of South Sudan's vast wetland, the Sudd -- were inaccessible due to conflict, preventing a comprehensive assessment. Earlier surveys and applied research conducted by WCS and the South Sudan Wildlife Service estimated an elephant population of some 2,300 in the country prior to the civil war, which began in December 2013, down from an estimated 79,000 in the 1970's. Elephants face continued and expanded threats. Giraffe are in very low numbers -- down from some 13,000 in the early 1980's to only hundreds remaining now and at risk of local extinction. Migratory tiang and other antelopes are vulnerable due to annual migration between Badingilo National Park and the Sudd. The survey documented northern giraffe Kordofan subspecies in Shambe National Park area and hippopotamus and Uganda kob in Nimule National Park. Endangered northern giraffe Nubian subspecies, reedbuck, common eland, Beisa oryx, ostrich and wild dog were observed in Badingilo, Boma, and Loella areas. The white-eared kob and Mongalla gazelle were found to be the most dominant species in Badingilo and Boma. Important transboundary conservation linkages between South Sudan and neighbouring Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda were also documented. Hon. Jemma Nunu Kumba, Minister, Ministry of Wildlife Conservation and Tourism stated: "These surveys are important for our country as they show the world that South Sudan is still home for many iconic wildlife species. However, some of these species have become endangered. I want to appeal to the people of South Sudan to take special care in protecting these endangered animals so that the next generation will continue to benefit from their presence. These animals serve and will serve as an import source of ecotourism for the country." "The United States Government is supporting wildlife conservation in South Sudan because it is a priceless resource for the people of South Sudan and our shared global heritage," said USAID South Sudan Mission Director Jeffrey Bakken. "Our assistance has helped provide employment opportunities, helped resolve local conflicts and promoted knowledge sharing with local communities about the importance and benefits of protecting their wildlife heritage. South Sudan's wildlife and natural resources can directly contribute to peace and sustainable development." Said Cristián Samper, WCS President and CEO: "There is still hope for wildlife in South Sudan even as conflict rages on. But there must be actions taken, including strengthening protected areas, to ensure the protection of South Sudan's natural heritage which is vital for wildlife and communities alike. Healthy wildlife populations and well managed Parks can improve livelihoods and security, and stabilize the region."


JUBA, SOUTH SUDAN, May 24, 2017 -- The first aerial assessment of the impact of South Sudan's current civil war on the country's wildlife and other natural resources shows that significant wildlife populations have so far survived, but poaching and commercial wildlife trafficking are increasing, as well as illegal mining, timber harvesting and charcoal production, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) said in a report issued today. Wildlife in South Sudan, which is home to the world's second-largest land mammal migration, includes species of global importance, such as elephant, giraffe, lion, and hippopotamus. WCS conducted the aerial survey in 2015-16 as part of a project funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and part of the Great Elephant Census©, funded by philanthropist and Microsoft cofounder Paul G. Allen. WCS previously conducted aerial surveys of South Sudan's wildlife and protected areas in 2007, 2008, 2009-10 and 2013. The 2015-16 aerial survey covered the areas of Boma, Badingilo, Nimule, Southern, and Shambe National Parks, and the proposed Loelle protected area. A combination of aerial survey methods (systematic surveys and recce surveys) were employed with a total of 17,934 km flown (98 hours of flight time) and an estimated 20,845 sq. km surveyed systematically. The survey confirmed a minimum of 730 elephants in the surveyed zone. However, about 50 percent of previously documented important wildlife areas -- including the northern part of South Sudan's vast wetland, the Sudd -- were inaccessible due to conflict, preventing a comprehensive assessment. Earlier surveys and applied research conducted by WCS and the South Sudan Wildlife Service estimated an elephant population of some 2,300 in the country prior to the civil war, which began in December 2013, down from an estimated 79,000 in the 1970's. Elephants face continued and expanded threats. Giraffe are in very low numbers--down from some 13,000 in the early 1980's to only hundreds remaining now and at risk of local extinction. Migratory tiang and other antelopes are vulnerable due to annual migration between Badingilo National Park and the Sudd. The survey documented northern giraffe Kordofan subspecies in Shambe National Park area and hippopotamus and Uganda kob in Nimule National Park. Endangered northern giraffe Nubian subspecies, reedbuck, common eland, Beisa oryx, ostrich and wild dog were observed in Badingilo, Boma, and Loella areas. The white-eared kob and Mongalla gazelle were found to be the most dominant species in Badingilo and Boma. Important transboundary conservation linkages between South Sudan and neighbouring Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda were also documented. Hon. Jemma Nunu Kumba, Minister, Ministry of Wildlife Conservation and Tourism stated: "These surveys are important for our country as they show the world that South Sudan is still home for many iconic wildlife species. However, some of these species have become endangered. I want to appeal to the people of South Sudan to take special care in protecting these endangered animals so that the next generation will continue to benefit from their presence. These animals serve and will serve as an import source of ecotourism for the country." "The United States Government is supporting wildlife conservation in South Sudan because it is a priceless resource for the people of South Sudan and our shared global heritage," said USAID South Sudan Mission Director Jeffrey Bakken. "Our assistance has helped provide employment opportunities, helped resolve local conflicts and promoted knowledge sharing with local communities about the importance and benefits of protecting their wildlife heritage. South Sudan's wildlife and natural resources can directly contribute to peace and sustainable development." Said Cristián Samper, WCS President and CEO: "There is still hope for wildlife in South Sudan even as conflict rages on. But there must be actions taken, including strengthening protected areas, to ensure the protection of South Sudan's natural heritage which is vital for wildlife and communities alike. Healthy wildlife populations and well managed Parks can improve livelihoods and security, and stabilize the region."


News Article | May 27, 2017
Site: www.PR.com

America’s #1 selling National Park guidebook, the Passport to Your National Parks is an ideal, economical, and portable way to preserve your fondest memories and experiences at America’s National Parks. Hatboro, PA, May 27, 2017 --( Since 1986, millions of park visitors use the Passport book to log visits to National Park Service units across the United States. Organized by geographic region, this handy travelogue is highly functional, offering color coded regional maps, need-to-know information about parks, an official National Park Service interpretive map, and plenty of space for park cancellations and stamps. The Passport features ample space in each region to collect cancellations and stamps from the parks. Nearly every one of the 400+ National Park Service units offer cancellations for the Passport, and every year a new series of collectible Passport stamp sets are released featuring National Parks from each region. Over the years, the Passport program has grown to include the Collector's Edition, Explorer Edition, Kids' Companion, annual stamp sets, collectible pin, patch, hiking stick medallion and more. From historians to adventurers, casual visitors to explorers, our Passport To Your National Parks program is perfect for people of all ages, and also aids in the preservation and support of our National Parks. When you participate in the Passport To Your National Parks program, you help support America's National Parks. All proceeds from the program are donated to support vital educational and interpretive programs at sites managed by the National Park Service. Visit eParks.com for more information about the Passport To Your National Parks program and start collecting cancellations today. Hatboro, PA, May 27, 2017 --( PR.com )-- Get 25% off the Passport To Your National Parks program. On sale May 25-30, 2017.Since 1986, millions of park visitors use the Passport book to log visits to National Park Service units across the United States. Organized by geographic region, this handy travelogue is highly functional, offering color coded regional maps, need-to-know information about parks, an official National Park Service interpretive map, and plenty of space for park cancellations and stamps.The Passport features ample space in each region to collect cancellations and stamps from the parks. Nearly every one of the 400+ National Park Service units offer cancellations for the Passport, and every year a new series of collectible Passport stamp sets are released featuring National Parks from each region.Over the years, the Passport program has grown to include the Collector's Edition, Explorer Edition, Kids' Companion, annual stamp sets, collectible pin, patch, hiking stick medallion and more. From historians to adventurers, casual visitors to explorers, our Passport To Your National Parks program is perfect for people of all ages, and also aids in the preservation and support of our National Parks.When you participate in the Passport To Your National Parks program, you help support America's National Parks. All proceeds from the program are donated to support vital educational and interpretive programs at sites managed by the National Park Service.Visit eParks.com for more information about the Passport To Your National Parks program and start collecting cancellations today. Click here to view the list of recent Press Releases from eParks


News Article | May 9, 2017
Site: www.prweb.com

June in Yellowstone brings grizzly bears emerging from hibernation with cubs in tow, wolf pups beginning to explore and wrestle outside the den’s confines, and our country’s national mammal the mighty bison tending hungry calves. Moose, elk, pronghorn, foxes and a variety of birds including Bald Eagles and Trumpeter Swans are also nurturing offspring. To celebrate the fun of viewing spring babies, Wildlife Expeditions of Teton Science Schools, known for its ability to spot and share elusive animals in their protected national park habitat, is offering a Wild Discount on its multi-day Spring Wolves & Bears Expedition, June 1 – 3 and June 5 –7, 2017. For a special June-only price of $1,305 per person, the thrilling three-day trip takes visitors on an expert-guided three-day safari through the remarkable wolf and bear habitat known as America’s Serengeti, stopping at such iconic photo-friendly Yellowstone spots as Old Faithful, the colorful Grand Canyon of Yellowstone and the terraces of Mammoth Hot Springs. Trip includes two nights lodging in Cooke City, Montana, for easy park access. Guests travel comfortably in specially customized safari vehicles through the wildlife-rich Lamar Valley, bursting with June-blooming native wildflowers including the bright yellow Arrowleaf Balsamroot. Expeditions start and finish in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, viewing nature’s majesty and educating guests on the history and ecology of the area along the way. A sample itinerary of the spring trip can be reviewed here. About Wildlife Expeditions of Teton Science Schools: With a mission of inspiring curiosity, engagement and leadership through transformative place-based education, Wildlife Expeditions of Teton Science Schools has a well-earned reputation of leading exceptional safaris and locating wild animals in the wilderness in and around Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. Jackson Hole, Wyoming's premier and original safari provider, Wildlife Expeditions offers family-friendly educational tours year-round in a stunning natural environment. The wildlife adventure company has been featured in Conde Nast Traveler, as a Travel Channel.com bucket-list destination and as one of “10 Amazing Adventures” worldwide by USA Today. For more information or to book a Wildlife Expeditions tour, visit http://www.tetonscience.org.

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