Date: Thursday, March 17, 2022
WASHINGTON — Deputy Secretary of the Interior Tommy Beaudreau visited Idaho, Washington and Oregon on a three-day swing this week to highlight the historic investments from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for wildfire resilience, conservation and ecosystem restoration. Throughout the trip, Deputy Secretary Beaudreau met with elected officials, community members, and Interior Department employees to underscore the Department’s commitment to Western communities.
On Monday, Deputy Secretary Beaudreau visited the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho, where he was joined by Boise Mayor Lauren McLean to highlight the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s $1.5 billion investment in the resilience of communities and lands facing the threat of wildland fires. Deputy Secretary Beaudreau also underscored President Biden’s call to invest in the wildland fire workforce, including steps to ensure that no federal firefighter will make less than $15 an hour this year.
During his visit, Deputy Secretary Beaudreau was briefed by federal fire managers on the impact of the ongoing drought crisis on the upcoming fire season, toured the Bureau of Land Management’s Great Basin Smokejumper Base, and joined Department employees at the National Wildland Firefighter Monument to honor the sacrifices of federal firefighters who have lost their lives in the line of duty.
On Tuesday, Deputy Secretary Beaudreau traveled to Spokane, Washington, where he delivered remarks at the American Wildlife Conservation Partners’ Spring Meeting to highlight the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s investments in conservation initiatives. The Interior Department recently announced the opening of nominations for the Hunting and Wildlife Conservation Council. The Council, which will be managed by the Fish and Wildlife Service, will provide recommendations to the federal government regarding policies that benefit wildlife and habitat conservation; expand hunting, recreational shooting sports, and wildlife-associated recreation opportunities; and benefit national and local economies.
Deputy Secretary Beaudreau also visited Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, where he toured the Cougar Bay Wetlands Restoration Project and newly acquired lands in Cougar Bay made possible by Land and Water Conservation Fund. In alignment with the Biden-Harris administration’s America the Beautiful initiative, the 88.51-acre acquisition is helping secure public access and conserving and connecting diverse wildlife habitats.
On Wednesday, Deputy Secretary Beaudreau was joined by Fish and Wildlife Service Director Martha Williams in Tillamook County to highlight the types of ecosystem restoration projects that the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will fund. The Law invests $200 million in the National Fish Passage Program, which supports aquatic ecosystem restoration projects to restore fish passage and aquatic connectivity by removing or bypassing barriers. Later, Deputy Secretary Beaudreau and Director Williams traveled to Cape Meares National Wildlife Refuge to highlight conservation efforts bolstered by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The Law invests $1.4 billion in ecosystem restoration and resilience, including funding for stewardship contracts, ecosystem restoration projects, invasive species detection and prevention, and native vegetation restoration efforts.