Interior Department Celebrates Ocean Month

The ocean connects the world in a way that no other natural resource does. As we celebrate Ocean Month, the Department of the Interior recognizes the broad responsibility we have for maintaining healthy ocean and coastal resources, and the impact our work has around the globe.  

At Interior, we manage, protect and provide access to: 

  • More than 35,000 miles of coastline  
  • 34 million acres in 88 marine and coastal National Parks 
  • 183 marine and coastal National Wildlife Refuges 
  • 1,100 miles of coastline of the California Coastal National Monument 
  • More than 855.4 million acres in Marine National Monuments and National Wildlife Refuges 
  • Energy, mineral and aggregate resource development on 2.3 billion underwater acres of the Outer Continental Shelf 


Photo by Tom MacKenzie, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Interior’s “Blue Portfolio”  

Interior’s “Blue Portfolio” is managed by several of our bureaus and offices that are committed to conserving and restoring coastal and ocean resources. The resources in our blue portfolio provide tremendous economic, cultural, recreational and biological value to the country. Our portfolio also serves as nature-based solutions to our climate crisis. The Biden-Harris administration’s call to conserve 30 percent of our lands and waters for the benefit of all people by 2030 relies on the responsible stewardship of our ocean. We are focused on powering our economy through investments in advancements like the development of offshore wind, which can provide a sustainable source of clean energy and good paying jobs. 

Wind turbines in ocean water.
Photo by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. 


 Photo by the U.S. Geological Survey.

Guided by science, Interior is working to address several major areas, including climate change and coastal resilience; exploring, mapping and characterizing our ocean resources; conservation, outreach and public access; as well as the responsible use of ocean, Great Lakes and coastal resources. 

Climate Change and Coastal Resilience

The climate crisis is impacting our ocean and  poses risks to cultural and archaeological sites, natural resources and traditional values that are preserved, conserved and managed by Interior. Our bureaus promote and support sound science that will increase ecosystems and coastal communities resilience. We are committed to help communities who carry the burdens of climate injustice and support new technologies to transition to clean energy, to capture carbon, mitigate flooding, improve water quality, protect valuable habitats and restore balance in our ecosystems. 

USGS researcher holds a shovel and a handful of soil while gathering data in Alaska.
Photo by the U.S. Geological Survey. 

Exploring, Mapping and Characterizing Our Ocean Resources

There is still so much ocean we have yet to discover on our ocean floor. Interior co-chairs the National Ocean Mapping, Exploration, and Characterization (NOMEC) Council that is implementing the National Strategy for Mapping, Exploring, and Characterizing the seabed of the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) — the first step toward ensuring scientists, engineers, resources managers, cartographers and other experts can gather data and seamlessly share information. Specialists from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, U.S. Geological Survey and National Park Service work across the federal family to fully map the deep waters of the U.S. EEZ by 2030 and nearshore waters by 2040. 


 Photo by the U.S. Geological Survey. 

Conservation, Outreach and Public Access

 Everyone should have regular opportunities to get out and visit their public lands and waters. Interior has made it a priority to make the outdoors more accessible for all — no matter where they live, their ability, their access to resources or their background. 

Person fishing on the ocean shoreline.
 Photo by the U.S. Geological Survey. 

Responsible Use of Ocean, Great Lakes and Coastal Resources

Interior promotes safe, efficient and environmentally responsible use of our nation’s ocean, Great Lakes and coastal resources. These resources serve and benefit local communities and the nation through  conventional and renewable energy exploration and production, transportation, recreation, food, water supply and mineral extraction. 


Photo by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. 

To learn more about Interior’s blue portfolio, check out NEWSWAVE — our award-winning quarterly newsletter featuring ocean, Great Lakes and coastal activities across the bureaus.