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Environment

What's Playing In The Planetarium This Weekend?

on December 13, 2016 - 7:36am

PEEC News:

Scientists are still learning more about exoplanets and frequently finding new ones. This Friday at 7 p.m., a local astronomer will present the latest information about exoplanets and show images of known exoplanets on the Los Alamos Nature Center planetarium dome. 

Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m., We are Stars will play on the full planetarium dome. This exciting, family-friendly film connects us to the evolution of the Universe and explores the secrets of our cosmic chemistry.

The Los Alamos Nature Center will be closed Dec. 23-24 and Jan. 1 for the holidays.

Prescribed Burn Planned On Santa Fe National Forest

on December 13, 2016 - 6:44am

Prescribed pile burn planned as early as Wednesday on the SFNF's Cuba Ranger District. Courtesy/NPS

SFNF News:

SANTA FE – Fire managers on the Santa Fe National Forest are planning a prescribed pile burn on the Cuba Ranger District.

The 20-acre Ojitos prescribed pile burn, located just northeast of Rancho Del Chaparral Girl Scout Camp, may begin as early as Wednesday, Dec. 14, only if conditions, including air quality and weather forecasts, are favorable. Fire managers expect to complete ignitions in one day.

Prescribed fires are one of the most effective tools available to resource

Udall, Heinrich, Luján, Lujan Grisham On Bill Passage To Expedite Gold King Mine Spill Recovery

on December 12, 2016 - 7:55am
CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION News:
 
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich and U.S. Representatives Ben Ray Luján and Michelle Lujan Grisham have announced that a bipartisan measure to expedite reimbursements to Tribal, local and state governments for costs incurred in responding to the Gold King Mine spill has passed both Houses of Congress as an amendment to the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA).
 
The amendment — authored by Senators Udall and Heinrich on the Senate side and introduced by Luján on the House side, and supported by all four of the lawmakers —

Jewell's Nationwide Tour Underway Highlighting Progress On Conservation, Energy, Tribal Issues

on December 11, 2016 - 6:34am

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell
USDI News:
 
WASHINGTON, D.C.  U.S.

USDA Announces New Conservation Opportunities To Improve Water Quality And Restore Wildlife Habitat

on December 11, 2016 - 6:28am
USDA News:
 
DES MOINES, IOWA  Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will offer farmers and ranchers more opportunities to participate in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP).
 
The announcement includes new CRP practices to protect water quality and adds an additional 1.1 million acres targeted to benefit wildlife, pollinators and wetlands.
 
“The Conservation Reserve Program is an extremely popular voluntary program that offers producers and landowners a wide variety of opportunities to prevent erosion, protect wildlife habitat

Proposed Joint Fossil Regulation Announced For Interior Department’s Managed Lands

on December 11, 2016 - 6:24am
USDI News:
 
WASHINGTON, D.C.  The U.S. Department of the Interior announced a proposed rule to further facilitate implementation of the Paleontological Resources Preservation Act of 2009.
 
The proposed rule provides standards for a coordinated approach to the management of paleontological resources on lands managed by four Interior Department Bureaus: Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation), Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), and National Park Service (NPS). It will also clarify how these bureaus manage paleontological resources to ensure they are available

McQuiston: How To Prepare Your Home For Winter

on December 10, 2016 - 9:01am
By ALLEN MCQUISTON
The Jemez Agency
 
December is here and along with it comes the familiar reminders that winter is quickly approaching.
 
Turn on the radio and Christmas music is blaring, go to the store and see decorations and lights lining the shelves. It’s also that time of year again when you have to prepare your home for freezing temperatures. Here are a few items that you can start with to help winterize your home this season.
 
Cover patio furniture—patio furniture wears easily in climate change. If possible, I recommend storing patio furniture in a shed or garage.

PEEC's Top 10 List Continues: #4

on December 10, 2016 - 8:57am

Volunteers, participants, donors, and other community members are a vital part of PEEC. Quite frankly, we need our community! Thus, the number 4 reason why people support PEEC is because without them, PEEC wouldn't be possible. Support PEEC. You make PEEC possible! Courtesy/PEEC

Udall On Trump's Nominee For EPA Administrator

on December 10, 2016 - 8:53am
SENATE News:
 
WASHINGTON, D.C.  U.S. Sen. Tom Udall responded to President-elect Trump expected nomination of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to serve as EPA Administrator:
 
“Global warming is one of the greatest threats to public health, our environment and our national security. And New Mexico is in the bull's eye, as farmers and anyone who relies on water and weather know all too well. The American people accept that the science is real; the facts can't be denied, and we need to take urgent action to stop the impacts from growing worse.
 
“Attorney General Scott Pruitt has

WIPP Update: DORR Team Provides Preliminary Report

on December 10, 2016 - 8:47am
WIPP News:
 
The DOE Operational Readiness Review (DORR) Team provided an initial briefing of their findings to the senior leadership from DOE and Nuclear Waste Partnership (NWP) Dec. 2.
 
The DOE ORR team concluded that upon satisfactory closure of the pre-start findings and approval of corrective action plans for the post-start findings, the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) can be authorized to safely restart waste emplacement in accordance with DOE standards.
 
The ORR identified 21 pre-start findings, those issues that will have to be resolved and validated before waste

Secretary Vilsack Appoints Members To Council For Native American Farming And Ranching

on December 10, 2016 - 8:31am
USDA News:
 
WASHINGTON D.C.  Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the appointment of six new members and the re-appointment of five members to the Council for Native American Farming and Ranching.
 
As a discretionary advisory committee, the Council provides recommendations to the Secretary of Agriculture on changes to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) regulations and other measures that would eliminate barriers to program participation for Native American farmers and ranchers.
 
"The Council for Native American Farming and Ranching strengthens our partnerships with tribal

Honoring Military Families During 'Not Forgotten Outreach Appreciation Week'

on December 10, 2016 - 8:29am
Courtesy photo

TAOS SKI VALLEY News:

Since 2014 Taos Ski Valley (TSV) & Not Forgotten Outreach, Inc. (NFO) has been providing Military Families an affordable ski vacation.

The Appreciation Ski Week is a Free event, Taos Ski Valley would like to thank the men and women and Families of the Armed Services. The 4th Annual Not Forgotten Outreach Week is Jan. 17-22. 
 
We would like to invite active duty military, Gold Star families, veterans and any family member with a military ID to come ski for $30/day.

EM Names Sue Cange New Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary

on December 10, 2016 - 8:25am
EM Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Sue Cange
 
DOE News:
 
WASHINGTON, D.C.  EM announced Dec. 8 that Sue Cange has been named its principal deputy assistant secretary.
 
“Sue is a trusted and effective leader with a deep understanding of EM’s cleanup mission and passion for advancing our mission,” EM Assistant Secretary Monica Regalbuto said. “With a strong track record of leading organizations to complete cleanup work safely and efficiently, she will be integral to our progress.”
 
Cange has nearly three decades of DOE leadership experience, serving most recently as manager of

Fresh Holiday Trees At Valles Caldera National Preserve This Week!

on December 9, 2016 - 4:13pm
LAVC News:
 
Los Amigos de Valles Caldera's Holiday Tree forest restoration project has been so successful that we needed to cut more trees!
 
Unfortunately, we ran out of trees last weekend (we apologize to those who drove up and couldn't get a tree), and we were only able to cut 40 more for this week. Snow in the restoration area has prevented further cutting, so this week, ending Dec. 11, will be our last week at the Valle Grande Staging Area, off Hwy 4 between mile marker 39 and 40.
 
The trees are mostly White Fir of varying sizes from about 4 feet to 18 feet.

Family Night At Los Alamos Nature Center Dec. 13

on December 9, 2016 - 10:36am

A child plays on the drum he made during Family Night with Melissa Mackey at the Los Alamos Nature Center. Courtesy/PEEC

PEEC News:

Tuesday, Dec. 13 is Family Night at the Los Alamos Nature Center. Enjoy an evening of games and hands-on activities 6-7 p.m. with Mesa Public Library’s Melissa Mackey. The nature center will be open until 8 p.m. for exploring the exhibits. 

The second Tuesday of every month is Family Night at the nature center. Thanks to a generous sponsorship from the Kiwanis Club of Los Alamos, this program is free for all.

For more information about this and other programs

Udall Welcomes EPA Proposal To Ban TCE In Dry Cleaning Under Lautenberg Chemical Safety Law

on December 9, 2016 - 9:35am
U.S. Sen. Tom Udall 
 
U.S. SENATE News:
 
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Tom Udall issued the following statement about the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) proposed rule to ban uses of the toxic chemical trichloroethylene (TCE) under the newly reformed bipartisan chemical safety law.
 
It is the EPA's first effort to ban an existing chemical since it failed in its attempt to ban asbestos in the early 1990s. Used as a degreaser and spot remover in dry cleaning, TCE is a neurotoxin linked to cancer, developmental impacts and liver toxicity.

Daily Postcard: Sunrise Over Pajarito Acres

on December 9, 2016 - 8:10am

Daily Postcard: Sunrise shines over Pajarito Acres. Photo by Doug Reilly

County: Winter Sidewalk Guidelines

on December 7, 2016 - 1:40pm
County reminds residents that it is important to keep sidewalks clear of snow and ice. Courtesy photo
 
COUNTY News:
 
During the winter months, the County would like to remind residents that it is important to keep sidewalks clear of snow and ice so that they remain pass­able for postal workers, children walking to school and others who need to use them.
 
When possible, and depend­ing upon available resources, County crews will conduct sidewalk-clearing operations by removing snow first from the adopted “safe routes to school” and then move to other selected sidewalks.

County Issues Winter Driving Safety Tips

on December 6, 2016 - 11:43am

Los Alamos County issues winter driving safety tips. Courtesy photo

 

COUNTY News:

Winter weather is here, and the County would like to remind residents of some important safety considerations for motorists to take in order to make their travel as safe as possible.

Motorists are encour­aged to equip their vehi­cles with chains and/or snow tires and carry a con­tainer of sand and a shovel in their vehicle.

Join Local Birders In The 117th Annual Christmas Bird Count Dec. 17

on December 5, 2016 - 12:37pm
Enthusiastic bird watchers. Photo courtesy of Beth Cortright
 
PEEC News:
 
In the 1800’s, many in North America participated in a common holiday tradition of going out on Christmas day and competing to kill as many birds as possible.
 
At the turn of the 20th century, American ornithologist Frank Chapman suggested that perhaps it would be a better idea to simply count the birds rather than shoot them. Chapman enlisted the help of 26 like-minded bird enthusiasts and in December of 1900 held the first annual Christmas Bird Count.
 
For the last 116 years, the National Audubon Society

Amateur Naturalist: The Forests Of The Cerros Del Abrigo

on December 5, 2016 - 11:51am
Grasses growing among burnt tree trunks at the start of the Cerro Del Abrigo trail. Photo by Robert Dryja
 
PEEC Amateur Naturalist: The forests of the Cerros Del Abrigo
By Robert Dryja
 
Clear cut logging in the early 1970’s left a large area of the Cerros Del Abrigo a blank slate for plant regeneration.
 
From this starting point different trees and grasses started to regrow. Three variables affecting the regeneration were: (1) the steepness of a slope; (2) more or less moisture; and (3) more or less soil available for growth.

DOE Secretary: U.S. Commits To IAEA Monitoring For Six Metric Tons Of Plutonium Disposition

on December 5, 2016 - 7:14am

U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz

DOE News:

VIENNA – At an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) conference, U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz today announced the United States is embarking on an effort to dilute and dispose of six metric tons of excess plutonium from the Savannah River Site in South Carolina, and that the United States is prepared to work with the IAEA in 2017 to develop a monitoring and verification plan for the disposition process.

Below are Secretary Moniz’ remarks at the conference, which begin with a message from President Obama to the conference:

“Let

NM Natural Resource Trustee & U.S. Fish & Wildlife Seeking Public Comment

on December 5, 2016 - 6:26am
USFWS News:
 
ALBUQUERQUE  The New Mexico Office of Natural Resources Trustee and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (collectively, the Trustees) seek public comment on the Draft Addendum to the Wildlife and Wildlife Habitat Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment (RP/EA) for the Chino, Cobre and Tyrone Mine Facilities in Southwestern New Mexico.
 
The trustees have completed an evaluation of wildlife and wildlife habitat restoration projects that were proposed after holding an informational meeting in Silver City Oct.

U.S. Sen. Tom Udall Welcomes Decision To Reject Easement For Dakota Access Pipeline

on December 4, 2016 - 8:16pm
U.S. Sen. Tom Udall
 
WASHINGTON, D.C.Today, U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, the incoming vice chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, issued the following statement on the decision by the Army Corps of Engineers to reject the current route for the Dakota Access Pipeline and explore alternatives:
 
"I appreciate the president and the Army Corps of Engineers’ decision today to deny an easement for the Dakota Access Pipeline crossing under Lake Oahe in North Dakota and to explore alternate routes.

Tussock Moth Outbreak On Santa Fe National Forest Appears To Be Almost Over

on December 4, 2016 - 9:22am
SFNF News:
 
SANTA FE  The defoliation of Douglas-fir and White fir on several thousand acres on the Pecos/Las Vegas Ranger District of the Santa Fe National Forest appears to be coming to a natural end. 
 
In August, specialists from Forest Health Protection out of the Forest Service’s Southwestern Regional Office in Albuquerque documented an outbreak of the Douglas-fir tussock moth (DFTM), a native defoliating insect that feeds on the trees’ needles, in the Cañada de los Alamos area near Shaggy Peak. 
 
In the most heavily affected areas, defoliation ranged from 90 to 100 percent,

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