Saturday, December 24, 2016

Jaguars in North America

Jaguar (photo credit: USFWS)

An iconic species, the jaguar is North America's largest cat.

Although jaguars have been exterminated in much of their historical range, a recovery is possible, according to a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) - binational Jaguar Recovery Team draft jaguar recovery plan.

The draft plan sets goals for improving the species’ status through its entire 19-country range and provides a framework for achieving recovery.

The draft plan focuses on the cat’s northwestern population in Mexico and the southwestern United States.

The jaguar recovery plan will allow agencies and organizations, particularly in the U.S. and Mexico, to align their efforts to make meaningful advances in sustaining and improving the status of this iconic species.

USA Jaguars

Since 1996, as many as seven individual jaguars have been documented in the U.S.

Jaguar sightings in the USA have consisted of male jaguars in southern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico.

These jaguars are believed to be coming from the nearest core area and breeding population, which is approximately 130 miles south of the U.S.-Mexico border in Sonora.

Jaguar re-introductions in the USA are not planned for the short term. Instead, the plan focuses on efforts to sustain habitat, eliminate poaching, and improve social acceptance of the jaguar to accommodate jaguars that disperse into the U.S.

Long Term Jaguar Recovery

The plan cites habitat loss, direct killing of jaguars, and depletion of prey as primary factors contributing to the jaguar’s current status and decreasing population trend.

The plan calls for a minimum timespan of 50 years to achieve a jaguar recovery in North America.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Black Elk Peak - South Dakota

Black Elk Peak - Black Hills National Forest

The highest peak east of the Rocky Mountains will now be called Black Elk Peak on federal maps.  Located in South Dakota, the summit had been labeled Harney Peak on federal maps since 1896.

The feature is located in the Black Elk Wilderness of Black Hills National Forest in Pennington County in southwestern South Dakota.

The name change was approved August by the U.S. Board on Geographic Names (BGN). The name Black Elk Peak was formally proposed to the BGN in October 2014.

The BGN sought opinions from the U.S. Forest Service and the South Dakota Board on Geographic Names (SDBGN), which in turn sought opinions from the county government, numerous local, State, and Tribal organizations, and the general public.

The new name is now considered official for use in federal maps and publications. State and local governments as well as commercial entities generally follow the federal use of geographic names.

photo credit: Gary Chancey - Black Hills National Forest

source: U.S. Geological Survey

Monday, July 4, 2016

DOI Economic Report for 2015

The U.S. Department of the Interior recently released its Economic Report for Fiscal Year 2015.

The report highlights a variety of Interior investments in recreation, conservation, water, and renewable energy.

According to the report, DOI investments led to $106 billion in economic output, and supported 862,000 jobs.

The report includes information regarding the economic and culture value of U.S. public lands.

The report found that national parks, national wildlife refuges, national monuments, and other public lands managed by Interior hosted an estimated 443 million visits, supporting $45 billion in economic output and about 396,000 jobs.

In total, the report identifies about $300 billion in economic output and 1.8 million jobs supported through Interior’s activities including: tourism and outdoor recreation at parks, monuments and refuges, water management, energy and mineral development on public lands and waters, wildlife conservation, hunting and fishing, support for American Indian tribal communities and U.S. island territories, as well as scientific research and innovation endeavors.

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell noted that many of Interior’s activities have economic values that are not easily calculated, and are not included in the report’s totals.

“Much of the value of our lands and historic sites cannot be expressed in dollars,” said Secretary Jewell. “Beyond their contributions to clean air, clean water and wildlife habitat, many are priceless treasures that belong to all Americans and help define our cultural heritage for present and future generations.”

The DOI report differs from other economic contribution studies in that it is a comprehensive analysis of the economic impacts from DOI activities. This report includes data from reports produced by Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the National Park Service (NPS) that focus on impacts from specific agencies and activities.

A separate economic analysis of the U.S. outdoor recreation sector is being compiled by the Federal Recreation Council and the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis.

That report will document the industry’s value and contributions to the national economy, specifically shedding light on the role public lands and waters play, and will develop a baseline for informing future decision-making, governance and long-term management of public lands and waters.

source: U.S. Department of the Interior

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Greenland Facts and Information

This article includes a brief overview of Greenland as well as variety of facts, statistics, and other information.

Greenland is the world's largest island. The majority of the land is ice-capped and unsuitable for human habitation.

In its native language, Greenland is called Kalaallit Nunaat, which means “the Country of the Greenlanders”.

Greenland is a self governing country that is part of the kingdom of Denmark.

Greenland has political and cultural ties with Denmark, Norway, and Iceland.

The currency of Greenland is the Danish krone (DKK).

Greenland withdrew from the European Union in 1985. Its relations with the EU are now guided by a special agreement. Greenland's exit from the EU is sometimes known as "Grexit."

Nuuk, the capital, is home to approximately one quarter of Greenland's population.

Fishing is the main industry in Greenland. In addition to commercial fishing, Greenlanders practice subsistence fishing, sealing, whaling, and other activities.

Greenland is home to some of North America's most iconic animals, including seals, walruses, whales, polar bears, arctic foxes, arctic wolves, reindeer, musk oxen, lemmings, snow hares, and many species of birds.

The longest day of the year, June 21, is a national holiday.

Greenland is a member of the Arctic Council, Nordic Council, and other international organizations.

sources: Statistics Greenland, Government of Greenland, CIA World Factbook

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Earth Day 2016

Over one billion people in 192 countries are expected to participate in Earth Day 2016.

Participants are organizing, demanding climate action, performing community services, meeting with elected officials, planting trees, and teaching children to protect the planet.

This year, in a rare and special event, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has invited every world leader to the United Nations to officially sign the Paris Climate Agreement on April 22nd, Earth Day 2016.

“Earth Day is the largest, most recognizable face of the environmental movement,”
said Kathleen Rogers, president of Earth Day Network.

This year, Earth Day Network is emphasizing the need to plant new trees and forests worldwide. Throughout the year, EDN sponsors and takes part in tree plantings across the US and worldwide. Earth Day Network is pledging to plant 7.8 billion trees worldwide in 2016.

Across the world, schoolchildren and teachers will take part in education, civic, and outdoor programs that will teach them about the importance of clean air and water, how to begin a lifelong practice of civic participation, and experience the wonders of nature.

For more information, visit:

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Gulf of Alaska Online Coastal Guide

Terry Johnson, an Alaska Sea Grant marine recreation and tourism specialist, has completed an online guide for recreational boaters interested in the central and western Gulf of Alaska coast.

Johnson compiled information for navigating, anchoring, handling typical weather conditions and other challenges over several years, while operating a variety of recreational boats from a 40-foot tri-cabin trawler to a 15-foot Runabout.

The guide is appropriate for adventurers, fishermen, sailors, and recreational boaters. Although vessel traffic is sparse, communities are few and exposure to the North Pacific is challenging,

“it is a spectacular trip in good weather, with opportunities to experience the scenery, the solitude, geology, human history, wildlife and excellent angling,” said Johnson.

The guide begins at Cape Spencer near Glacier Bay and runs west along the coast all the way to Homer, Alaska.

The Gulf of Alaska Coastal Travel Routes website includes maps, photos, location information, and basic safety tips.

For more information, visit

Monday, March 7, 2016

Ontario Maple Syrup Season

As winter gives way to spring, Ontario’s Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs is encouraging consumers to take a trip to a local maple syrup producer to try sweet, local, and delicious maple syrup.

With the variety of maple products available, there's a maple syrup colour and flavour intensity to please everyone's taste.

During Ontario's maple harvest season, mid-February to early April, more than two million litres of syrup is produced.

Maple Syrup Facts

Maple syrup is made from the sap of primarily sugar, black, soft and red maple trees

Maple syrup is a natural product with no additives, and is a source of several vitamins and minerals.

Each spring Ontario Maple syrup festivals offer fun, family activities.

Ontario Maple Weekend will be held April 2 - 3, 2016 (

On January 1, 2016, amended maple regulations came into effect on how maple syrup is graded, classified and labelled.

source: Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

Monday, February 8, 2016

January 2016 Atlantic Coast Blizzard

The January 22-24 blizzard, which dumped heavy snow from the Mid-Atlantic to southern New England has been rated as a Category 4 or “Crippling” winter storm on NOAA’s Northeast Snowfall Impact Scale, also known as NESIS.

The storm ranked as the fourth most powerful winter storm to impact the Northeast U.S. since 1950.

The snowstorm covered about 434 thousand square miles and impacted about 102.8 million people. Of those, about 1.5 million people had over 30 inches of snowfall; almost 24 million had over 20 inches.

The storm was given a variety of names including Jonas, snowzilla, and others.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Record Floods on USA Rivers

In the final days of 2015, record floods threatened communities throughout the Mississippi River Basin.

In late December, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) field crews recorded 18 preliminary record-high flood measurements along the Meramac River. Additional historic peaks were expected throughout the southern part of the state.

The National Weather Service reported that major flooding was occurring or forecast on the Mississippi and Ohio rivers and tributaries in Missouri, Illinois, and Kentucky, and the Arkansas River & tributaries in Arkansas.

In response to dangerous flooding, the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) issued river closures on the Upper Mississippi River between mile markers 184 and 179 and the Illinois River between mile markers 0 to 50. In other areas, high water safety advisories and high water towing restrictions were in effect.

Floodwaters were predicted to downstream, with significant river flooding expected for the lower Mississippi into mid-January.