The U.S. Forest Service is making strides in monitoring energy and water consumption at several of the Agency’s facilities by installing software called the Advanced Metering Program, which accurately reports water and energy consumption.
The project is being lead by the U.S. Forest Service’s National Sustainable Operations Team. In the near future, monitoring devises will be installed at most Forest Service facilities that are larger than 10,000 square feet, or have electrical energy costs that exceed $40,000 per year. Software will collect the data and make it available for viewing online. Read more »
The Spotted Bear Ranger Station at the Flathead National Forest in western Montana generates electricity using micro-hydropower. Like a traditional hydro dam, this small water system converts the energy of flowing water into electricity. When the water level of Addition Creek on the ranger station is adequate, the micro-hydropower system produces enough electricity to supply the entire compound which consists of 31 small buildings. Read more »
Jumping out of planes via parachutes to put out remote wildland forest fires isn’t your typical American job and it isn’t for the faint of heart. Since 1939, the technique called smoke jumping has attracted physically fit, courageous and adventurous firefighters and has helped keep communities safe.
By the 1940s, the smoke jumping program was a valuable asset to the U.S. Forest Service. Unfortunately, with the country’s men drafted during World War II, the Forest Service experienced a significant loss in federal personnel which impacted the fire program. Read more »
Cross posted from the White House blog:
This week, I served as keynote speaker for a special conference in Great Falls, Montana, convened by Rural Dynamics Incorporated. The theme of the conference was “Mobilizing Rural Communities” and included participants representing a host of private, public, and non-profit participants. It has been less than three months since President Obama signed an Executive Order creating the first White House Rural Council. The Great Falls conference provided an opportunity to connect with many great folks from the Northern Plains Region, who are working on a daily basis on local projects and local partnerships to further the economic development and vitality of rural areas.
The group was very interested to learn more about the work of the White House Rural Council. We discussed President Obama’s priority of ensuring that rural areas have additional opportunities for economic investment and available working capital. We also discussed the need for innovation in the areas of high-speed Internet, renewable energy opportunities, as well as enhancements in education and health care. Topics involving natural resource-related business enterprises, public works, and forestry – all key focus areas for the White House Rural Council—were also discussed. Read more »
Cattle ranchers and their herds tough it out during the cold winter. (Photo Credit: Ryan T. Bell)
U.S. cattle ranching has evolved over time to bring together the cultural traditions of the West with new technology to produce quality U.S. livestock products. But did you ever think that these ways of the west could benefit a new frontier halfway around the world?
In 2007, USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) worked with USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to negotiate health certificates for the export of U.S. livestock and genetic material to Russia. The protocol was signed in 2008, allowing first-time U.S. exports of live cattle, semen, embryos, horses and swine. U.S exports of cattle, bull semen and cattle embryos to Russia were valued at nearly $12 million in 2010. From January to May 2011, trade increased nearly fivefold compared to the same period last year. Read more »
Ross Racine, Intertribal Agriculture Council executive director, and Undersecretary Ed Avalos, attend the 60th Annual North American Indian Days Celebration on the Blackfeet Reservation in Montana on July 8.
The view of teepees and campers across the countryside, the enticing aroma of food and the distant beat of the drums were all part of the North American Indian Days celebration. I was in Browning – home of the Blackfeet Nation to listen and learn about agriculture in Indian Country. On the Blackfeet Nation there are 22,000 cows, 300,000 acres of grain crops, 17,000 acres of irrigated hay and grain, and over 360 Indian producers. Read more »