Date: Friday, March 11, 2022
BALTIMORE, Md. — Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland was in Maryland for a second day today to meet with local elected and community leaders, students, and Interior Department employees to highlight President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s critical investments in ecosystem restoration, infrastructure resilience, and economic opportunities.
Secretary Haaland also celebrated the one-year anniversary of the American Rescue Plan, which made unprecedented investments to help address the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on American Indian and Alaska Native communities, people of color, and rural Americans.
In Baltimore, Secretary Haaland visited Masonville Cove, the nation’s first Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnership that connects the city’s residents to the outdoors. Secretary Haaland and Mayor Brandon Scott met with local high school students and participated in water testing and shoreline cleanup projects. Masonville Cove is the cornerstone of a large-scale neighborhood revitalization project with federal, state and local investments that aim to improve South Baltimore Title I schools, provide access to the waterfront, and encourage economic growth while protecting the environment. Its success is a roadmap for how future infrastructure funding can help support collaborative initiatives, address climate change, advance environmental justice, and ensure wildlife and habitat conservation.
Secretary Haaland also traveled to Catonsville to tour the Patapsco River Restoration Project and discuss how nature-based-solution projects can enable ecosystems and communities to be more resilient to climate change. There, Secretary Haaland saw the site of the 2018 removal of the Bloede Dam, which opened nearly 250 miles of spawning habitat for the regional species, allowing for more natural river flow to nourish downstream marshes and beaches and increasing public safety.
During the visit, she highlighted the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s $200 million investment in the National Fish Passage Program, which supports aquatic ecosystem restoration projects to restore fish passage and aquatic connectivity by removing or bypassing barriers. In addition to providing benefits for fish and aquatic species, the Program’s work to restore degraded and fragmented aquatic habitats decreases public safety hazards and improves infrastructure resilience by reducing flood risks, removing obsolete dams, and improving water delivery for local agriculture irrigation districts. This important work also creates construction, engineering, and other jobs, stimulating the local economy.