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A little girl and a mammoth tusk

Tom and Sissy Olney, Bureau of Land Management grazing permittees in New Mexico, reported that a possible mammoth tusk was eroding out of an arroyo bank on BLM land within their grazing allotment.

(More story and photos:

BLM New Mexico State Paleontologist Phil Gensler and Gary Morgan of the New Mexico Museum of Natural History in Albuquerque partially excavated and stabilized the tusk. Gensler and Morgan, with assistance from the Olneys and their seven-year-old granddaughter Jenna Rose, finished excavating the tusk on June 26. The tusk was then taken to the Natural History Museum in Albuquerque for further stabilization and analysis. 

The nearly complete tusk is about 5 feet long, which probably means that it was from a juvenile male or a female mammoth. Tusks of full-grown males can reach 10 feet in length. Though there is no way to determine the age of this tusk, mammoths went extinct in North America about 11,000 years ago. 

Story and photos by BLM New Mexico:

#science   #mammoth  
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This (Early) Week at Interior
Nevada's Dry Lake Solar Energy Zone goes up for auction.
Duck Stamps! As ever, more than just gorgeous.
Yosemite's Sesquicentennial (We hear that 150 is the new 35).
And a Bison Bonus: restoring a great beast from the edge of extinction.

#twai   #bison   #buffalo   #duckstamp  
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This year's canvas back #duckstamp  is fantastic.
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Our friendly neighborhood sage grouse has been in DOI news a bit lately; so why not give ol' SG center stage?

Enjoy the cover photo!

#conservation   #sagegrouse  
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This Week at Interior
The Wood Stork: Back from the brink of extinction
Nature vs Carbon: Sequestration in natural ecosystems
Earthquake in Alaska: The Strongest in more than a decade
Poverty Point, on Point: The World takes notice
Plus, fishing: Seriously -- check out the fishing.

#carbonemissions   #earthquake   #povertypoint   #fishing  
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Biological Carbon Storage Assessment Now Available
Plus, Visualization Tool to Help Land Managers Make Informed Landscape-Level Decisions

As promised yesterday, a comprehensive assessment of biological carbon storage and sequestration by ecosystems in the eastern US, online:

The +U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) also unveiled a new web tool to allow users to see the land carbon storage and change in ecosystems between 2005 and 2050 in the lower 48 states: 

With today’s report on the eastern United States, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has completed the national biological carbon assessment for ecosystems in the lower 48 states – a national inventory of the capacity of land-based and aquatic ecosystems to naturally store, or sequester, carbon, which was called for by Congress in 2007.

Together, the ecosystems across the lower 48 states sequester about 474 million tons of carbon a year (1,738 tons of CO2), comparable to counter-balancing nearly two years of U.S. car emissions, or more than 20 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions EPA estimates the country emits each year.

The assessment shows that the East stores more carbon than all of the rest of the lower 48 states combined even though it has fewer than 40 percent of the land base.  Under some scenarios, USGS scientists found that the rate of sequestration for the lower 48 states is projected to decline by more than 25 percent by 2050, due to disturbances such as wildfires, urban development and increased demand for timber products.

Biological carbon storage – also known as carbon sequestration – is the process by which carbon dioxide (CO2) is removed from the atmosphere and stored as carbon in vegetation, soils and sediment.  The USGS inventory estimates the ability of different ecosystems to store carbon now and in the future, providing vital information for land-use and land-management decisions.  Management of carbon stored in our ecosystems and agricultural areas is relevant both for mitigation of climate change and for adaptation to such changes.

The area studied for the eastern U.S. carbon assessment was defined by similarities in ecology and land cover. The study area extends eastward from the western edge of the Great Lakes and the Mississippi floodplains, across the Appalachian Mountains, to the coastal plains of the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. The major ecosystems USGS researchers evaluated were terrestrial (forests, wetlands, agricultural lands, shrublands and grasslands), and aquatic (rivers, lakes, estuaries and coastal waters).

#science     #climatechange     #climatescience     #carbondioxide  
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+US Department of the Interior Thanks for the link. 
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Ah, you've seen the POV Polar Bear cam, right?
This video, which is the first ever from a free-ranging polar bear on Arctic sea ice, shows an interaction with a potential mate, playing with food (don't be surprised!), and swimming at the water’s surface and under the sea ice.
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I wished the potential mate had been fitted with a Cam. Would have been interesting to see  her reaction. Good video, liked the explanations... thanks!
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Freedom, history, tradition, independence...
We also do fireworks
Here's a taste of what you could see tonight on the National Mall:

#independenceday2014   #fourthofjuly   #nationalpark   #fireworks
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Interior to Auction Nearly 80,000 Acres Offshore Maryland for Wind Energy Development   

tldr version: We're holding an auction in August, for space off the Maryland coast. Expect the winner(s) to put up turbines and generate power.

Now, with details:
Nearly 80,000 acres offshore Maryland will be offered for commercial wind energy development in an August 19, 2014 competitive lease sale. 

To date, BOEM has awarded five commercial wind energy leases off the Atlantic coast: two non-competitive leases (Cape Wind in Nantucket Sound off Massachusetts and an area off Delaware) and three competitive leases (two offshore Massachusetts-Rhode Island and another offshore Virginia). Competitive lease sales have generated more than $5 million in high bids for more than 277,500 acres in federal waters. BOEM is expected to hold additional competitive auctions for Wind Energy Areas offshore Massachusetts and New Jersey in the coming year. 

Sixteen companies have qualified to participate in the auction for the  Maryland Wind Energy Area. According to analysis prepared by the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, if fully developed, the Maryland Wind Energy Area could support between 850 and 1450 megawatts of commercial wind generation, enough electricity to power 300,000 homes.

More on:
The "Smart from the Start" wind energy initiative:
BOEM's "Proposed Sale Notice":
The Maryland Wind Energy Area:
and The President's Climate Action Plan
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Thinking about a new profile image...

Perhaps something from the world of renewable energy -- or a bison -- or a goat.  Not sure yet.  Happy Monday.
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We'll bet you've never seen one of these
BLM has a "Solar Energy Zone Auction" going on right now.
It might be worth checking out!

And here's a quick backgrounder:

#solar   #solarpower   #solarenergy  
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Wood Stork Down-listing from Endangered to Threatened
Thirty-Year Recovery Effort Has Brought Bird Back from Brink of Extinction

+U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is down-listing the wood stork from endangered to threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell made the announcement at the Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge, home to the largest wood stork rookery in Georgia.

Under the ESA, a species is considered endangered when it is at risk of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range. It is considered threatened when it is at risk of becoming endangered throughout all or a significant portion of its range. 

When wood storks were listed as endangered in 1984, their population was dropping a precipitous 5 percent a year. Since then, the U.S. breeding population has shown substantial improvement in the numbers of nesting pairs as a whole and an expansion of its breeding range. 

Since 2004, the three-year averages (2003 to 2012) for nesting pairs ranged from 7,086 to 10,147, all above the 6,000 three-year average identified in the 1997 recovery plan as the threshold to consider reclassifying the species to threatened status. However, the five-year average of 10,000 nesting pairs, identified in the current recovery plan as the threshold for delisting, has not yet been reached.

When the Service originally listed the U.S. breeding population, the wood stork’s range included Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama. Breeding was primarily in Central and South Florida.  Historically, the Florida Everglades and the Big Cypress ecosystems supported large breeding colonies. Since listing, its range has expanded north and west, and now includes portions of North Carolina and Mississippi, with significant nesting in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina.  

The down-listing of the wood stork to threatened status follows a comprehensive review by Service biologists of the best available scientific and commercial information about the wood stork’s status as required by the ESA, and after peer and public reviews, that shows conservation efforts under the Act have helped increase populations and reduce threats.  

The down-listing recognizes the wood stork’s ongoing recovery and the positive impact that collaborative conservation efforts over the last two decades are having on the status of the breeding population. With continued population growth, breeding range expansion and the minimization or removal of threats, the species could approach the biological milestones where it could be considered for delisting.  

The Service continues to work with conservation partners such as the Natural Resources Conservation Service through its Wetlands Reserve Program, to protect natural wetlands and manage public lands to continue the recovery of the wood stork. For example, the Wetlands Reserve Program has restored more than 200,000 acres of wetlands in Florida and more than 115,000 acres in Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina. 

Addressing the threats associated with habitat loss, protecting natural wetlands through partnerships, managing public lands and restoring the Everglades, all remain high priorities for the Service and the Department. In addition, as new information emerges, climate change adaptation measures will be considered to address changes that may be projected in the location of suitable habitat. 

As part of the reclassification decision, the Service also determined that the stork’s U.S. breeding population is a “Distinct Population Segment” under the ESA, separate from wood storks that breed in Central and South America.  The U.S. Distinct Population Segment is protected by the ESA and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA).  Populations breeding in Central and South America are not listed under the ESA, although wood storks in Mexico are protected by that country’s domestic equivalent to the MBTA, pursuant to Mexico's migratory bird treaty with the United States. 

For more information about the wood stork’s status reclassification, including statements from conservation partners and links to images of wood storks and their habitat, please visit

For the full press release (including pullable quotes):

#science   #endangeredspecies   #endangered
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Biological Carbon Storage Assessment Expected Tomorrow
Comprehensive assessment of biological carbon storage and sequestration by ecosystems in the eastern US  

The +U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) will also unveil a new web tool to allow users to see the land carbon storage and change in ecosystems between 2005 and 2050 in the lower 48 states. 

This groundbreaking assessment estimates the natural carbon storage capacities of ecosystems now and in the future.  The research conducted by USGS scientists confirms the important role that our natural landscapes play in absorbing carbon and counteracting harmful greenhouse gas emissions. 

Biological carbon sequestration is the process by which carbon dioxide (CO2) is removed from the atmosphere and stored as carbon in vegetation, soils and sediment. 

We'll share the news here, as soon as we have it. 
#science   #climatechange   #climatescience   #carbondioxide  
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Protecting America’s Great Outdoors and Powering Our Future (with Science & Technology)

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The Department of the Interior (DOI) uses Google+, a non-government third party social networking application, to share information, promote public participation, and enhance communication with the public.  Your use of the Google+ application to communicate with DOI is voluntary, and through your interaction with DOI your personal information may become available.  Generally, personal information is not actively collected by DOI; however, if you request information or submit feedback from interaction with DOI through use of Google+, your profile name, image, contact information, and other information may be used to communicate with you or provide the requested information.  You should know that any comments, images or videos posted on DOI’s official Google+ page may be viewed by any user, and that video hangout sessions may be broadcasted using an online streaming video application operated by a third party to facilitate communication and increase government transparency.  You are subject to Google’s privacy policy and terms of use during your interactions with DOI on Google+.  The Department of the Interior will not share information provided with third parties for promotional purposes.  Please review the DOI Privacy Policy for how information is handled:

Courtesy Follows

In general, we follow the time-honored SocMed practice of courtesy following.  However, we try to avoid link-farmers, purveyors of "adult" material, and other folks that a cabinet agency shouldn't be seen hanging around with. Also, sometimes we just miss a follow, purely by accident. BTW, we're also happy to not follow your account, if that's what you'd prefer.  In any case, we don't keep records on you, your account, nor anything in it, from your use of G+. Check our Privacy Impact Assessment for details.

The #Calendar (No promises, but we're keeping our eyes open for appropriate stories)

Monday: We're still working on it.  #Mondayblues isn't a very good fit, as environmental science is cool even on Mondays.

#TransformationTuesday seems like a good fit for stories about our Bureau of Reclamation.  And let's not forget #TechTuesday and #TriviaTuesday!

#WaybackWednesday explains itself.

As does #ThrowbackThursday -- but two retro days?  Meh.  Needs work.

Fridays, we publish our This Week at Interior video news update.  #twai?

#Caturday.  No promises, but we do have some beautiful pix of wild cats.
#Baturday?  Oh yes.

#ScienceSaturday and #ScienceSunday -- absolutely.