The worsening impacts of climate change pose an imminent threat to our lives and the health and well-being of future generations. As communities experience record heat waves, drought, coastal and inland flooding, and more intense and destructive wildfires, the impacts are far reaching – threatening water supplies, homes and businesses, important wildlife habitat, and economic and subsistence resources for Tribal communities.
The Department of the Interior is taking new actions to address the climate and biodiversity crises and safeguard people, land and water.
Through a newly unveiled restoration and resilience framework and historic investments from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act, the Department is putting people to work on locally led landscape restoration projects driven by collaborative partnerships. Through the framework, the Department will focus investments around three goals in key geographies to advance climate resilience and provide for maximum impact.
To prepare communities for and protect them from the worsening impacts of the climate crisis, the Department is investing resources in restoration and nature-based solutions – including targeted investments in the Klamath Basin and throughout Western sagebrush ecosystems.
Over the past 20 years, the Klamath Basin has met unprecedented challenges due to ongoing drought conditions. Working with our partners, the Interior Department is working on collaborative solutions to help minimize the impacts of the drought and to provide coordinated investments in the basin for restoration of lands and waters that support people and salmon and other wildlife.
Through the Sagebrush Conservation Design strategy, the Department is working with partners to defend and grow core sagebrush ecosystems by reducing invasive plants that fuel wildfires and protecting communities and wildlife that depend on these landscapes.
Additionally, to support resilient coastlines, the Department is working with partners to restore existing and proactively manage for new salt marshes along the east coast. Salt marshes provide an important natural buffer from coastal flooding, filter and protect water quality, and trap and stores climate change-causing gasses, all while providing critical wildlife habitat.
America’s people, economy and wildlife rely on healthy lands and waters, and our open spaces are woven into our nation’s identity. Investments in conservation and restoration can reverse trends stemming from the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss. In coordination with the America the Beautiful initiative, the Department is working toward a national goal for the stewardship of these resources.
In Alaska’s Yukon, Kuskokwim and Norton Sound region, the Department is committing to a collaborative effort with Tribal partners to assess, monitor and restore physical and biological processes in the basin to benefit salmon habitat and subsistence fishing rights.
Secretary Haaland recently signed a Secretary’s Order to enhance co-stewarded, healthy, bison herds in the great plains as well as a commitment of over $25 million from the Inflation Reduction Act to use the best available science and Indigenous Knowledge to help restore bison as part of a larger effort to restore the vast grassland habitats on which they depend.
The Department is also working in partnership with the Native Hawaiian Community to prevent imminent extinction of Hawaiian forest birds through a multiagency strategy that employs a multi-pronged approach for native bird conservation and avian malaria control.
Millions of Americans across the country live within just one mile from an abandoned coal mine or an orphaned oil and gas well. These legacy pollution sites are environmental hazards and jeopardize public health and safety by contaminating groundwater, emitting methane, littering the landscape with rusted and dangerous equipment, creating flooding and sinkhole risks, and harming wildlife.
To improve human and environmental health in Appalachia and nationwide, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides $16 billion for the cleanup of orphaned oil and gas wells and abandoned mine lands, and nearly $10 million for environmental remediation around legacy pollution sites and to address pollution in riparian zones. These funds are being used to address these toxic sites, create good paying jobs and revitalize economies, in coordination with the Appalachia Landscape Partnership.
To support these initiatives, the Department is also advancing a National Early Detection and Rapid Response Framework, which proactively addresses invasive species before they become too costly to control, and is working to implement the National Seed Strategy, ensuring seed supplies for restoration of native plant communities and the many species that depend upon them.