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Posts Tagged ‘FWS’

Louisiana’s Wildlife Refuges Before the BP Oil Assault

Posted by Laurie Frost on May 25, 2010

Deepwater Horizon 24Hr Trajectory Map Icon 2010-05-24-2000A good source of information about the areas in Louisiana where the BP oil spill has reached is the US Fish and Wildlife Service [FWS]. They have links to NOAA’s Emergency Response pages, which include PDF maps released daily showing the spread of the spill. To the right is a photo of one of these, not much use in itself, but if you go to this NOAA page, you’ll be able to download the PDF. There are some pictures at these sites of what is happening, but what I have today are images of what is being lost at a few of the 32 refuges FWS manages. 

The brown pelicans of Breton Refuge suffered from the natural disasters of Tropical Storm Arlene and Hurricane Katrina in 2005; what progress had been made in re-establishing their populations will likely be entirely lost by this manmade disaster.

Young brown pelican in nest. Breton National Wildlife Refuge. FWS photo by Donna Dewhurst. Item ID SL-03554

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Animals, Fish and Wildlife Service, Places, Plants | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Louisiana’s Wildlife Refuges Before the BP Oil Assault

Color Transparencies by Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Photographers, or Photographic Legacy of New Deal Stimulus Plan, continued

Posted by Laurie Frost on November 2, 2009

It seems like a good time to visit the Library of Congress’s American Memory Collection again, this time to sample some of the color transparencies produced by the photographers working for the Farm Security Administration or Office of War Information between 1939 and 1945 during the  New Deal era (see previous post, Photographic Legacy of New Deal Stimulus Plan).

The Library of Congress estimates that while 164,000 black and white negatives (and 107,000 prints) from this effort are in its collection, there are just 1600 color images (only a selection are digitized).

About the color transparencies:

There are 1, 610 color images in the collection which date from between 1939 and 1945. They were produced under the auspices of the Farm Security Administration (FSA) and the Office of War Information (OWI). Most of the 644 images produced by the FSA are 35 mm Kodachrome slides; a few are color transparencies in sizes up to 4×5 inches. These photographs depict life in the United States, including Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, with an emphasis on rural areas and farm labor. The 965 images from the OWI are color transparencies in sizes up to 4×5 inches. These photographs focus on industrial facilities and women employees, railroads, aviation training, and other aspects of the mobilization effort for World War II.

All images courtesy of the Library of Congress’s American Memory Collection. Digital IDs and photographers’ names accompany photos’ captions.

Boys fishing in a bayou, Schriever, La. Cajun children in a bayou near the school. Terrebonne, a Farm Security Administration project. LC-DIG-fsac-1a34362 DLC. By Marion Post Wolcott

Natchez, Miss., 1940. fsac 1a34333. By Marion Post Wolcott

Shepherd with his horse and dog on Gravelly Range, Madison County, Montana, 1942. fsac 1a35022. By Russell Lee

Federal housing project on the outskirts of the town of Yauco, Puerto Rico, 1942. fsac 1a34039. By Jack Delano

Worker inspecting a locomotive on a pit in the roundhouse at the C & NW RR's Proviso yard, Chicago, Ill., 1942. fsac 1a34652. By Jack Delano

Retiring a locomotive driver wheel, Shopton, Iowa. The tire is heated by means of gas until it can be slipped over the wheel. Contraction on cooling will hold it firmly in place. Santa Fe R.R., 1943. fsac 1a34707. By Jack Delano

House, Houston, Texas, 1943. fsac 1a35441. By John Vachon

Posted in Farm Security Administration, Historical, Library of Congress, Places, WPA | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Color Transparencies by Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Photographers, or Photographic Legacy of New Deal Stimulus Plan, continued

CIA World Factbook: Flags, Part 2. Flora and Fauna

Posted by Laurie Frost on October 29, 2009

Continuing to look at the public domain images of flags in the CIA World Factbook , this time we’re moving on from birds to other animals, along with plants, on a selection of flags.

Lions often appear in coats of arms, which are widely included in flag designs. Bermuda’s is one of the more unusual. I can’t figure out how the body parts of this lion hang together, let alone why a sinking ship is what a red lion would want on its shield.

Compare that lion to Sri Lanka’s flag’s:

The Cayman Islands’ also has a lion, but I’m more attracted by its turtle.

Another coat of arms, this one with a sheep, is displayed on the Falkland Islands’ flag:

Then there’s Bhutan’s dragon and Mayotte’s seahorses:

Now look at this one for South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands. A seal and penguin support a shield featuring a lion and topped by a reindeer. A reindeer?  On Antartic islands? Well may you ask. But they’re there, descendants of  herds brought by Norwegian whalers in 1910.  The motto at the base of the coat of arms, LEO TERRAM PROPRIAM PROTEGAT, means Let the Lion Protect its Own Land. I suppose the lion must mean the UK. Certainly there are no lions in these islands, which are also claimed by Argentina.

And here’s another rather odd coat of arms, on the flag for the Turks and Caicos Islands. The light brown thing is fairly obviously a lobster. The pink thing is a conch shell, and once you’re told that, you can probably agree it is one. But what is that black and red thing? A cactus, of course. I’m not making this up. The CIA Factbook says so.

So I had a look for why the coat of arms for these Caribbean islands would feature a cactus, and discovered that there is such a thing as the “turks head cactus.” Here’s a picture of a variety found in Arizona from the Fish and Wildlife Service. There’s a picture of one that more closely resembles the thing on the coat of arms over at the Turks and Caicos National Museum website, but it isn’t in the public domain, so you’ll have to go here to see it.

credit: USFWS

More trees than you might expect appear on national flags. Canada’s maple leaf is a familiar plant design on a flag, but here are a few more:

The coat of arms of Equatorial Guinea has a a silk-cotton tree at its center.

Here’s another with some kind of vegetation on a coat of arms, but you might have trouble figuring out what you are seeing. Fiji’s flag:

You got the lion, dove, and palm tree, but how about the others? Give up? Try sugarcane and bananas. As for what the lion is holding, the CIA Factbook didn’t help me. But the website for Fiji High Commission says it’s a cocoa pod.

The Factbook wasn’t much help in figuring out the Pitcairn Islands’ coat of arms, either, other than that a shield with an anchor was part of it.

So I went over to the Picairn Islands website’s store and found that “Surmounting the shield is a helmet crested with a Pitcairn Island wheelbarrow carrying a flowering slip of miro (a local plant).” The territory’s homepage summarizes its history: “With a population of only around fifty, the people of Pitcairn are descended from the mutineers of HMAV Bounty and their Tahitian companions.”

Finally, a few simple designs. A bauhinia flower is the inspiration for Hong Kong’s flag. A lotus is at the center of Macau’s.

Lebanon has a cedar, and Norfolk Island, a Norfolk pine.








Credits for all images of flags: The CIA World Factbook.

Posted in Flags, Places, Plants | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Last of the Polar Bears

Posted by Laurie Frost on July 8, 2009

Polar bears have featured in several of my earlier posts: FWS [Fish & Wildlife Service] Images of Alaska’s Polar Bears, Walruses and Seals; Where the Polar Bears Roam; and Polar Bears and Blue Angels, Submarines and Ships of the US Navy.

Here’s one more set, which are intriguing because they show the size of the bears in comparison to men. The bears are sedated so that they can be tagged by scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA.

First, a statement from NOAA about the public domain status and use of the images in its library:

Restrictions for Using NOAA Images

Most NOAA photos and slides are in the public domain and CANNOT be copyrighted.

Although at present, no fee is charged for using the photos credit MUST be given to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/Department of Commerce unless otherwise instructed to give credit to the photographer or other source.

It’s worth repeating that last line. Remember, you are paying nothing, but you must give credit:

…no fee is charged for using the photos credit MUST be given to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/Department of Commerce

The pictures, then more about NOAA in the Arctic. This one of the bears’ huge padded paws was taken by Captain Budd Christman, NOAA Corps, on Alaska’s Beaufort Sea in May 1982 [credit: NOAA/ US Dept. of Commerce].anim00412

Captain Christman also shot the next two pictures of bear and man. The man is Steve Amstrup of the US FWS. The caption provided for the second picture below notes that the bear’s neck circumference was 45 inches and his estimated weight, 1400 pounds. [credits: NOAA/ US Dept. of Commerce].anim0038

anim0036This last picture shows Cpt. Christman with a bear tagged for monitoring in the Outer Continental Shelf Environmental Assessment Program (OCSEAP) studies [credit: NOAA/ US Dept. of Commerce].anim0035

There are a number of really fine things about the NOAA site, and we will return to those in later posts, but just for now let me direct you to these pages:

The formats represented in this resource include print, CD-ROM, online full-text documents, digital videos, digital images, online cruise data and Web resources. This document provides full-text access, copyright permitting, to significant Polar documents in the NOAA Library collections. There are over one-hundred-and-fifty electronic references to unique historical documents that have been scanned and made available online via NOAALINC, as well as to scientific datasets available online via the National Oceanographic Data Center (NODC) Ocean Archive System.

Now, leaving NOAA and departing from our images in the public domain theme, here’s a resource specifically on polar bears:

You can’t think about the future of polar bears without considering climate change. Here are some sites about the disappearance of the sea ice on which the bears live. Again, we’ve departed from public domain resources:

Posted in Animals, Fish and Wildlife Service, NOAA, Places | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

FWS Images of Alaska’s Polar Bears, Walruses and Seals

Posted by Laurie Frost on June 27, 2009


The Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Digital Library  isn’t all about polar bears and Alaska, but since polar bear is one of the search terms by way of which people land on this blog, and because it is just too hot these days, I decided that selections from its Arctic jpg’s would make a good introduction to the FWS as a source for public domain images.  

 But what we need to get our bearings is a map. Here’s one, an 1897 map from the Library of Congress entitled Millroy’s Map of Alaska and the Klondyke Gold Fields. If you visit the site, you can use the zoom feature.








 If you look right below the tip of Siberia as it reaches into the Bering Strait, close to the Alaska-Russia border, you’ll see the island of St. Lawrence.  This area  is where Ellizabeth Labunski took the  picture of the polar bear above. Elsewhere (?) in the Bering Sea she photographed the seals on which they prey, and another huge carnivore of the Arctic, the walrus, for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.









 The first is a ribbon seal; the other, a bearded seal. These walruses also live in northern Bering Sea.



Head north in the Bering Sea and you reach the setting for a few other FWS pictures of polar bears, Cape Lisburne. On the map, if you look directly across from the word Strait, there’s a peninsula, and at its tip is Cape Lisburne, where Gerry Atwell photographed these polar bears:

cape lisburne

In many, maybe most, cases the descriptive information accompanying the FWS images is good. But in others, it is frustrating. Ellizabeth Labunski’s polar bear pictures identify their situation as 40 miles southwest of St. Lawrence Island, but the walruses and seals are far more vaguely documented as found somewhere in the northern Bering Sea. And consider this shot of two polar bear cubs. There is no indication of where the photo was taken, and the photographer is not credited.


I’m sure you’ve noticed by now a lot of ice in these pictures. The FWS categorizes polar bears as marine mammals. They have their young on land, but follow the drifting ice to hunt. As the ice in the Arctic decreases, their survival prospects diminish.

Look below for some sites I came across to learn more about polar bears.

→ → → → → → → → → →

Departing from public domain materials: 

The following are either certainly or perhaps copyright-protected — that is, not public domain.

A video graphic showing how polar bear migration routes off the North Slope are linked to the Arctic ice pack off the North Slope is featured in the polar bear pages of  Wandering Wildlife: Satellite and Radio Telemetry Tracking Wildlife Across the Arctic at theUS Geological Survey’s Alaska Science Center. I don’t know the copyright status of this. There is also a disturbing picture and account of the first documented case of cannibalism among polar bears, likely caused by the receding ice fields’ impact on hunting grounds for the bears.

US Geological Survey: a blog , Arctic Chronicles, has a posting with video of a polar bears taken during a 2008 expedition to map the Arctic seafloor. Although this video was shot by a government employee, I’m not certain if it is public domain or  if the copyright is held by their creator, Jessica Robertson, Public Affairs Specialist for the U.S. Geological Survey.

Ever wonder what would happen if a walrus and polar bear battled to the death? Then check these videos out (note: Videos are not in the public domain).  Polar Conservation has video of an actual battle. Much blood is involved. For a different outcome, head over to Animal Planet and watch its virtual battle.

Posted in Animals, Fish and Wildlife Service, Places | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Where the Polar Bears Roam

Posted by Laurie Frost on June 23, 2009


It’s not yet noon and outside my window it’s closer to a 100 than to 90. What better time to stop over at the Fish and Wildlife Service [FWS] to have a look at their public domain pictures of polar bears? The FWS site features a digital library described as:

a searchable collection of selected images, historical artifacts, audio clips, publications, and video and that are in the public domain. You are free to use them as you wish – no permission is necessary. We do ask that you please give credit to the photographer or creator and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in a format similar to the example below.

Credit: John Doe/USFWS

Items are added on a regular basis to the library, so if you don’t see something you are looking for today, it may have been added the next time you visit.

Most items in the National Digital Library are compressed RGB, JPEG, or PDF files. Most records have low resolution JPEGs that are suitable for web use. This is the display image at the top of the record. High-resolution images are linked below the display image…

Image categories include birds, wildlife, plants, invertebrates, fisheries, habitats, history, and more.

Susanne Miller photographed the polar bear family [above] and these two bears along the Beaufort Sea coast:


walkbeaufort sea

And where, you ask, is Beaufort Sea? It is way, way, up there. Perhaps this map of polar bear dens in the Arctic Wildlife Refuge will help:


More information about this map can be found here. And see that village at the top center of the map? That is Kaktovik. The Kaktovikmiut people despise the FWS radio-collaring of bears (and other animals) that provided the data for the map above. On the City of Kaktovik website a fascinating document, In This Place: A Guide to Those Who Would Work in the Country of the Kaktovikmiut, — and the website as well — declares in a most unusually blunt manner the perspective of the people whose homeland this is:

From the website:

The notion of wilderness came to the North Slope in the early 1950’s with its discovery by a small group of committed outdoor recreationists. With the publication of their view of our homelands in “The Last Great Wilderness” we disappeared, our homeland became something it had not been for thousands of years: devoid of people. Simultaneously, our homeland became the subject of great interest and concern to thousands, perhaps millions, of people who had never laid eyes on it and who in any case could not see that we continued to fully use and occupy the country.

And from In This Place, first on oil exploration, and then a comment on FWS biologists:

The thing that concerns us the most about this oil activity is that we are told the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the federal agency we find most possessive, most insensitive, most destructive and most obnoxious, will be the one agency assigned to protect the country from harm should oil developmentproceed here. That would clearly be tragic, for us, for our lands and waters, and for the other creatures who share our country. We have no confidence in these people to care, to understand, to respect, or to protect anything here. . . .

We have enough stories about this to fill many books, of the damages done by people who come here to study things, such as the fellow with Fish and Wildlife Service who killed more polar bears figuring out how to radio-collar them than have ever been killed by all the industrial activity in the entire arctic since the beginning of time. His excuse was he had to figure out about polar bears before they were all killed by the oil industry.

The Kaktovikmiut are native Inupiat. Eskimo is a term commonly — but not accurately –used to refer to these natives of Alaska’s Arctic Coast.  The North Slope region referred to above is an 89,000 sq mile borough [NSB] bordered on the north by the Beaufort Sea and Chukchi Sea, which also serves as western border, Canada to the east, and south to the Brooks [mountain] Range. Barrow and Prudhoe Bay are in the NSB, and Barrow is some 1300 miles south of the North Pole and 4,300 miles from Key West.

Yesterday’s high in Barrow was 35, with a low of 29.seaBeaufort Sea with Brooks Range in background

Posted in Animals, Fish and Wildlife Service, Places | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »