Assistant Secretary Estenoz Announces $10 Million from President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda for Ecosystem Restoration in Arizona

Last edited 02/21/2024

Date: Wednesday, February 21, 2024

TUCSON, Ariz. During a visit to Saguaro National Park today, Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks Shannon Estenoz announced that the Department of the Interior is investing $10.3 million from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda to restore Arizona’s lands and waters through locally led, landscape-scale restoration projects. The visit is part of the Biden-Harris administration’s fourth Investing in America tour to highlight the impact of the President’s agenda in communities across the country. 

The funding is part of the recently announced $157 million in investments from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which is supporting 206 ecosystem restoration projects across the country. To date, the Department has invested more than $15.6 million from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law in Arizona for ecosystem restoration projects. A full list of Fiscal Year 2024 projects across the country is available on the Department’s website. 

“Investments from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda are having incredible impacts all across Arizona. These investments are making communities more resilient to the increasing impacts of the climate crisis and restoring ecosystems for the benefit of both people and wildlife for generations to come,” said Assistant Secretary Shannon Estenoz. 

At Saguaro National Park, Assistant Secretary Estenoz visited various projects funded by the Investing in America agenda, including the Sonoran Desert restoration project. Through various tactics, the park will remove invasive buffelgrass to protect native vegetation and park resources and make the landscape more fire resilient. The project will also provide jobs for underserved and Tribal youth for buffelgrass removal during the winter months. She also toured a native seed project that is helping ensure the ready source of native seeds to combat climate change and enhance landscape resilience.  

Collecting, producing and procuring native seeds is critical for restoring native vegetation on public lands, and special facilities are required to store seeds and safeguard their genetic diversity. The funding and newly launched National Seed Strategy Keystone Initiative will formalize the Department’s ambitious goals to invest in the infrastructure, tools, research and labor needed for a robust native seed supply chain, including by expanding Tribal greenhouse facilities, assisting local farmers in transitioning from high-water crops to low-water native plant crops, connecting underserved communities in native seed collection via the Seeds of Success program, and increasing regional seed production capacity.     

Through President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, the Department is stewarding an overall $2 billion over five years in new investments to put people to work restoring our nation’s lands and waters. To guide these historic investments, in April 2023, the Department unveiled the Restoration and Resilience Framework to catalyze coordination and drive transformational outcomes across our existing programs and initiatives. This work also supports the President’s America the Beautiful Initiative.  

The investments in Arizona are funding projects that advance the three pillars of the Restoration and Resilience Framework: building climate resilience and addressing climate change impacts; restoring healthy lands and waters; and enhancing communities’ qualities of life. Projects will be conducted in partnerships with states, Tribes and non-profit organizations, and will advance wildfire and drought resilience, improve recreational access, reduce legacy pollution from formerly mined lands, manage invasive species and restore native plants and ecosystems.


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