The Morning Report

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Recent Editions  

INCIDENTS



Editor’s Desk
No Reports Today

No new incident reports have been received.

NEWS AND NOTES



Denali National Park & Preserve (AK)
Denali Holds First Bug Bio-Blitz

Seven arthropod researchers were invited to Denali National Park and Preserve in July to conduct the park’s first “Bug Bio-Blitz,” an intensive effort to catalog the biodiversity of several invertebrate taxa within just a few days.

Scientists hailed from Alaska and across the rest of the United States – Logan Mullen from the University of Alaska Fairbanks (rove beetles); Dan Bogan from the Alaska Natural Heritage Program at University Alaska Anchorage and Luise Woelflein from the BLM Campbell Creek Science Center (aquatic insects); Whitney Nelson, Joseph O’Neill, and Cameron Cheri from the University of Arkansas (aquatic mites); and Jessica Rykken, affiliated with the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University (bees and flower flies).

The goals of the Denali Bug Bio-Blitz were to engage the public with scientists collecting and examining lesser-known realms of biodiversity in the park and encourage invertebrate taxonomists to  catalog the diversity of their focal taxa and lay foundations for future collaborative research. These were no small aspirations in a park known and visited primarily for its charismatic mammalian megafauna.

The public outreach day on July 26th was filled with events encouraging visitors and local area residents to join scientists in biodiversity discovery. These included:

  • Collection activities with scientists on the park’s frontcountry trails;
  • An indoor “lab” session at the Murie Science and Learning Center, where visitors could get an up-close view of specimens that had been collected that morning and talk one-on-one with the scientists;
  • A catch-and-release outdoor session with younger children and their parents; and
  • An evening presentation where each scientist explained his or her research focus and provided some background about the organisms studied.

The scientists then headed into further into the park for three days (July 27th to July 29th) for collecting. The aquatic group headed to the end of the 92-mile long park road so that they could sample kettle ponds and streams with mining legacies as well as pristine streams for aquatic mites. The aquatic mite researchers collected species representing at least 10 genera. These collections represent some of the first official water mite samples ever collected in Alaska, and could include species currently unknown to science.

The terrestrial group headed up into the high country in search of accessible snow fields and alpine flowers in bloom.  After one unsuccessful day of searching in the wind and rain for Phlaeopterus, a genus of rove beetles that live near snow patches on which they prey upon windblown insects, a search up a steep, shady stream on the back side of Sable Mountain the following day yielded two specimens that are members of a new Phlaeopterus species yet to be described. Sunshine produced more pollinators also. It was a highly productive few days for scientific discoveries.

Funding for the Denali Bug Bio-Blitz was provided by the Natural Resources Advisory Commission of the National Park Service, Denali National Park and Preserve, and Alaska Geographic. 

The event was designed and coordinated by Jessica Rykken and Sierra McLane, NPS coordinator for the Murie Science and Learning Center.  For more information please contact Sierra McLane at sierra_mclane@nps.gov or (907) 683-6436.

[Submitted by Jessica Rykken]


Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore (IN)
Scientists Investigate Mystery Holes At Indiana Dunes

On August 11th, scientists began the second phase of research into the mysterious holes that have been appearing in the Mount Baldy sand dune at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.

Mount Baldy is the site where a six-year-old boy fell into a hole last July. The boy made national and international news when he survived despite being buried under 11 feet of sand for three-and-a-half hours. Since that time, the 123-foot-tall dune has been closed to the public and six additional holes have been observed.

An interdisciplinary team of geologists, geo-archaeologists and other scientists from the National Park Service, the Indiana Geological Survey and Indiana University is employing sophisticated ground-penetrating radar and taking core samples from the dune to better understand the geomorphology at work. This data will be used to create a virtual, three dimensional model of the internal structure of Mount Baldy.

Naturally-occurring holes are something previously not found in the scientific literature on sand dunes. Mount Baldy has moved 394 feet in the last 70 years, covering portions of a forest along with at least one house and other structures. Some evidence points to the possibility that these holes are a result of rotting trees leaving voids in the sand. While work is being done to test organic material found in some holes, other theories have not been ruled out.

Due to the continued heavy interest in the Mount Baldy story, the park hosted a media event to highlight the research being conducted on the dune. Camera crews and reporters from at least 26 local, Chicago and national outlets were escorted to a safe zone on the dune where they interviewed three of the research scientists and viewed core sampling activities. 

No decision on reopening the Mount Baldy site will be made until the research is completed and the geologic processes occurring on the dune are better understood.  Park staff has continued restoration of native vegetation on Mount Baldy during the research work.

[Submitted by Bruce Rowe, Public Information Officer]


Whiskeytown National Recreation Area (CA)
Secretary Jewell Visits Whiskeytown

On August 12th, Secretary Jewell met with staff at Whiskeytown during a visit to northern California to get an update on firefighting operations in the region.

Secretary Jewell visited the Northern California Geographic Coordination Center (North Ops) in Redding, California. North Ops serves as the area coordination center for mobilizing resources for wildland fire and other incidents throughout Northern California. 

During her stop, she met with interagency fire staff from Cal Fire, U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service and other agencies to learn about the current fire situation, tour on-the ground fuels projects, and express support for the National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy. 

During an all-employees meeting with Interior Department employees, she complimented employees for the interagency cooperation exhibited in this area, not only in managing wildland fire but in cooperative land management where multiple agencies have differing organizational missions.

After touring nearby urban interface fuels reduction projects, Secretary Jewell made a stop to visit the staff at Whiskeytown National Recreation Area. 

While in the park, she talked with captain Jesse Brunk and his engine crew about operational challenges and the role of the National Park Service as an interagency initial attack firefighting resource.  She spoke with fire and resource management staff, including park ecologist Jennifer Gibson about forest restoration projects underway that are reducing park fuel loads and improving forest health. She was also briefed by Chris Mengel, the park’s chief ranger, on a recent raid and the eradication of an illegal marijuana cultivation site within the park. 

Secretary Jewell, while on a tight schedule, chose to spend some extra time at Whiskeytown and received a tour of the Kennedy Memorial site from park superintendent Jim Milestone.  The memorial commemorates John F. Kennedy’s September 1963 dedication of Whiskeytown Dam. She listened to a recording of Kennedy’s speech and contemplated how the idea of conservation has changed in the 50 years since that speech was delivered. 

Whiskeytown’s reservoir serves as a monument to the vital role of water in the west and in the world.  The reservoir also stimulates conversation about expanding and often competing demands for water in the face of climate change and an extended drought. As the sun began to set over Whiskeytown Lake, it seemed a fitting place to conclude Secretary Jewell’s northern California visit.

[Submitted by Sean Denniston, Chief, Division of Interpretation and Resources Management]


Lassen Volcanic National Park (CA)
Young Visitor Creates A Wilderness Exhibit

Sometimes getting to know a national park is like falling in love. Captivated by the beauty, excitement, and wonder of a place, you return again and again. When you leave, your mind lingers on the sights and smells of your favorite spot; you daydream about walking through wildflowers or swimming in an emerald lake. For Kristina Lammers, Lassen Volcanic National Park captured her heart when she first visited years ago.  

Kristina and her family make the two and a half hour drive from Reno, Nevada, regularly. From the beginning, the steaming hydrothermal areas, jagged volcanic peaks, and glistening alpine lakes captured her imagination; fueled her burgeoning photography skills; and provided seemingly limitless opportunities for exploration and discovery. This summer, Kristina put her desire to learn more about the park to use by helping develop a new wilderness display.

After several months of research, planning, and development, Kristina Lammers and her family unveiled a new exhibit on the namesake of the park’s largest hydrothermal area. Kristina brought explorer Kendall Bumpass to life in a fact or fiction biography flip book, a detailed diorama, a historical map, and a photo collection. Kristina and her brother are on the autism spectrum and have been able to channel their focus and talent into this carefully constructed exhibit.

Lassen held an exhibit unveiling followed by a ceremony to recognize the Lammers family for their generous contributions to the park. Kristina and her family thanked park staff for their support as well as the park’s official concessioner, California Guest Services, who features Kristina’s photography in the Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center gift shop.

The Kendall Bumpass exhibit helps put a face to Lassen Volcanic Wilderness. Accompanying sections of the display introduce visitors to the nearly 91% percent of the park managed as wilderness. Beginning with the signing of the Wilderness Act in 1964 the exhibit highlights the characteristics of Lassen’s wilderness, invites visitors to explore a wilderness area during their visit, and engages Junior Wilderness Explorers of all ages with hands-on activity. The new wilderness exhibit was made possible with the support of the Lammers family and an Wilderness Mini Grant from the NPS Wilderness Stewardship Program.   

[Submitted by Kevin Sweeney, kevin_sweeney@nps.gov, 530-595-6131]

 More Information...
Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park (GA)
Park Receives Ticket To Ride Grant From National Park Foundation

Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park is one of 65 national parks selected to receive a 2014 Ticket to Ride grant from the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks.

The Ticket to Ride program provides efficient transportation support for over 100,000 students to visit national parks annually and to engage the youth in meaningful activities once there.

Now in its third year, the Ticket to Ride program provides the much-needed funds to make national park field trips possible for schools across the country.

“We know that one of the greatest barriers keeping America’s youth from visiting their national parks is access to transportation,” said Neil Mulholland, president and CEO of the National Park Foundation. “Through our Ticket to Ride program, we eliminate that barrier and open up a world of experiential learning in our nation’s largest classrooms – our national parks – and help inspire stewardship of these treasured places.”

Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park will use the 2014 Ticket to Ride Grant to allow nearly 700 Paulding County fifth grade students to visit the park and learn about the history that was made in their backyards. The park will be their outdoor classroom as they hike in the footsteps of soldiers who fought a key battle in the American Civil War.

Students will see the earthworks the soldiers built and imagine the difficulty of dragging cannons up a mountain while an interpreter shows the students the daily rations and uncomfortable clothes of a civil war soldier and the mechanics of firing a Civil war musket. The students will also hike on the CCC trail and see the ruined structures once used by the Civilian Conservation Corps and will hear stories of the hard working CCC men who helped develop the national park and its trails as it is seen today.

"On behalf of the park staff, we are deeply appreciative of the grant and the opportunity for so many children to explore their park and find a new connection to their history” said Anthony Winegar, chief ranger at Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park.

The 2014 Ticket to Ride grants were made possible, in large part, through the support of Bayer USA Foundation, Disney, and Subaru of America.

For the full list of park grantees, and their projects, visit the Ticket to Ride page on the National Park Foundation website.

[Submitted by Amanda Corman and Alanna Sobel]


CAREER OPPORTUNITIES



George Washington Memorial Parkway (MD)
WS-4749-7 Maintenance Worker Supervisor

Dates: 08/21/2014 - 09/11/2014

George Washington Memorial Parkway is currently recruiting for a supervisory maintenance worker in signs and trails.

The position is located at the parks maintenance facility in Arlington, Virginia. The announcement can be found on USAJobs at the "More Information" link below.

The vacancy will close on Thursday, September 11th.

[Submitted by SROC Hiring, SROCHIRING@NPS.GOV, (877) 554-4550]

 More Information...