Preserving Cultural Heritage in Natural and Manmade Disasters

Cultural heritage, the legacy left behind for future generations, is the thread of continuity that people search for when the rhythm of everyday life has been shattered. When manmade or natural disasters strike, governments, international organizations and NGOs provide victims with vital rescue and humanitarian relief services. Salvage and stabilization of heritage is also important. It can strengthen the community and promote a sense of identity, hope, and resilience. How can we help vulnerable communities plan for and mitigate damage and permanent loss of their heritage after a disaster? Corine Wegener will share insights from the Smithsonian Haiti Cultural Recovery Project after 2010 Haiti earthquake, Hurricane Sandy, Smithsonian's current work in Mali, Iraq, and Syria, as well coordination efforts right here at home.

Corine Wegener, Smithsonian Cultural Heritage Preservation Officer
(photo credit: Corine Wegener)
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Regional and National Efforts to Implement the National Ocean Policy

In 2010, President Obama established the National Policy for the Stewardship of the Ocean, our Coasts, and the Great Lakes. The National Ocean Policy is intended to ensure the many Federal agencies involved in ocean activities deliver to the American people the kind of government action they deserve and expect: effectively collaborating inside and outside of Federal government; supporting our State, Tribal and local partners; providing easy access to information; and using taxpayer dollars efficiently and effectively. To translate the National Ocean Policy into on-the-ground actions to benefit the American people, in 2013 the National Ocean Council released the National Ocean Policy Implementation Plan, which describes specific actions Federal agencies will take to address key ocean challenges, and enables states and communities to have greater input in Federal decisions.

In this seminar, Beth Kerttula will address the tremendous progress that Federal agencies have made in carrying out the actions described in the National Ocean Policy Implementation Plan.For more information, go to:
Beth Kerttula, Director, National Ocean Council
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Reinventing Diplomacy through Science, Technology and Innovation

The best way to advance America's interests in reducing global threats and seizing global opportunities is to design and implement global solutions using the full range of tools at our disposal – diplomatic, economic, military, political, legal, and cultural – picking the right tool or combination of tools for each situation.An essential element in America's toolbox is our science and technology capability. Countries, regardless of their politics, culture, and worldview, are interested to learn what the United States does to spur science, technology and innovation.The United States, in turn, has much to gain from helping to develop more knowledge and innovation-based societies around the world and from spreading scientific values – like meritocracy and transparency – that support democracy.In addition, science and technology are also crucial for dealing with major challenges facing countries – such as public health, food security, clean energy, climate change mitigation and adaptation, cyber-security and more.Many of these challenges transcend borders and are global concerns.In this era of globalization, the United States can remain at the cutting edge and as a world leader in science and technology only by engaging with the scientific and technical communities elsewhere.Science diplomacy is crucial to achieving this goal.

Frances Colón, Deputy Science & Technology Adviser to the Secretary of State, U.S. Department of State

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Changing Ice: Managing the North American Arctic

(IMPORTANT: this seminar begins at 12pm and ends at 1pm EST as opposed to the standard 12:15-1:15 time)

Understanding ice changes is critical for supporting community sustainability, habitat conservation and resource development in Alaska and the Arctic as a whole. Please join the Office of Policy Analysis on April 9 to learn how the USGS Alaska Climate Science Center (CSC) uses a whole-systems approach linking glacier retreat and permafrost loss to impacts on ecosystems and the goods, services and the amenities they provide. The Alaska CSC is developing vulnerability assessments, decision support tools, landscape scenarios, and other products that have a wide variety of immediate, real-world applications in the face of changes in the Arctic.

Steve Gray, Director, USGS Alaska Climate Science Center
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The National Wetlands Inventory: Beyond Habitat and Birds

Wetlands provide a multitude of ecological, economic, and social benefits beyond habitat for fish and wildlife. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has produced five reports to Congress on the Status and Trends of Wetlands in the Conterminous United States from the 1950s to 2009. With help from over 165 contributing organizations, the USFWS has built a wetland database covering the Conterminous U.S., Hawaiian Islands, Pacific Territories, Puerto Rico and 35% of Alaska.Please join Interior's Office of Policy Analysis for a panel discussion on how the National Wetland Inventory and related reports support programs and policies that are key to multiple Federal missions, as well as wetland conservation activities of many states and nongovernmental organizations.

Bill Wilen, Senior Biologist, USFWS National Wetlands Inventory

Mitch Bergeson, Project Lead, USFWS National Standards and Support Team

David Evans, Deputy Director, EPA - Office of Wetlands Oceans and Watersheds

Jeanne Christie, Executive Director, Association of State Wetland Managers

Scott Yaich, Director of Conservation Operations, Ducks Unlimited

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The Upcoming U.S. Chairmanship of the Arctic Council

For the past 18 years, the Arctic Council has served as a high-level intergovernmental forum made up of the eight Arctic countries and "permanent participant" organizations that represent most Arctic indigenous peoples. The Arctic Council is a way for the Arctic countries to discuss and cooperate on a wide range of Arctic issues, including environmental protection, sustainable development, and the well-being of Arctic peoples. In April 2015, the United States will assume a two-year chairmanship of the Arctic Council. During this time, U.S. agencies will work together to advance several initiatives within the Council. U.S. Senior Arctic Official Julia Gourley will present an overview of the initiatives being proposed as part of the U.S. chairmanship, which include climate change mitigation and resilience, advancing Arctic Ocean stewardship, and enhancing economic and living conditions of Arctic residents. The Department of the Interior (DOI) will play a key role in many of these initiatives, working together with the U.S. Department of State and other agencies. Joel Clement, Director of DOI's Office of Policy Analysis, will describe DOI's current and planned involvement in the Arctic Council over the next couple of years.


Julia Gourley, U.S. Senior Arctic Official, Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, U.S. Department of State

Joel Clement, Director, Office of Policy Analysis, Department of the Interior

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Requiem for the Santa Cruz: An Environmental History of an Arizona River

join Interior's Office of Policy Analysis on March 9 for their monthly speaker
series.This month's seminar is based on
an important new book, Requiem for the
Santa Cruz: An Environmental History of an Arizona River
(University of
Arizona Press, 2014), authored by four DOI scientists who spent their entire
careers studying southwestern landscapes. historical water development and
floodplain changes proceeded hand in glove, each taking turns reacting to the
other, eventually lowering the water table and killing unique wetlands and wildlife
habitat that can no longer be revived or restored.
;background:white"> The history of the
Santa Cruz offers a cautionary tale for other rivers undergoing rapid
urbanization and water development in the arid West. This includes the nearby
San Pedro River, where ground water withdrawals currently threaten wintering
and migratory habitat for 250 different species of birds.

Julio L. Betancourt,
Senior Scientist, National Research Program USGS-Water Mission Area, Reston

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Carbon Sequestration: Another Reason for Good Stewardship

Why are healthy ecosystems critical to climate change mitigation and adaptation?Ecosystems across the lower 48 states sequester carbon, counterbalancing greenhouse gas emissions. Forests, wetlands, and farms in the Eastern U.S. naturally store more carbon than the rest of the rest of the lower 48 states combined.Please join Interior's Office of Policy Analysis on December 8 for their monthly speaker series, which will feature Bradley Reed, USGS Associate Program Coordinator.Dr. Reed will discuss what disturbances such as wildfires, urban development, and increased demand for forest products mean for future carbon sequestration.He will also discuss efforts to assess carbon sequestration capacity in Alaska and Hawaii. For more information on USGS carbon sequestration research and tools visit:Carbon Storage in U.S. Eastern Ecosystems Helps Counter Greenhouse Gas Emissions Contributing to Climate Change​

Bradley Reed, USGS Associate Program Coordinator, Land Change Science


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An End to the Listing Wars?

For over twenty-five years, the program for “listing” imperiled species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) has been mired in controversy and litigation. In 2011, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) entered into settlements with its two most frequent legal adversaries. These settlements require FWS, over a period of more than five years, to make listing determinations for hundreds of species. This settlement, in turn, has led to intense criticism from those who disapprove of new species listings, at least under the timeline for decision making required by the settlements. Op-eds, congressional hearings, and the introduction of bills to amend the ESA indicate that the listing wars may not yet be over. Join us for panel discussion that will present the views of both insiders and outsiders on the consequences of the settlements, and the future of listing under the ESA.

Ben Jesup, Attorney-Adviser, DOI Solicitor's Office
Gina Shultz, Chief, Division of Conservation and Classification, FWS
Michael Senatore, Vice President, Conservation Law, Defenders of Wildlife
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Lessons from the Front Lines of the Geospatial Revolution

Please join the Interior's Office of Policy Analysis on October 6 for their monthly speaker series, which will focus on the importance of geospatial collaboration. Steve Swazee, Executive Director of SharedGeo, will offer lessons learned from the Katrina crisis response, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, and the largest Geospatially Enabling Community Collaboration (GECCo) event ever conducted in the U.S. He will also provide insights about how geospatial analysis can be applied to a wide spectrum of events, ranging from tracking diseases to climate change. Learn how the Geospatial Revolution can support your operational mission.

Stephen Swazee, SharedGeo, Executive Director
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