This Week at Interior July 1, 2022


This Week, at Interior 

Interior leaders were in the Klamath Basin this week, meeting with Tribes, state and county officials, interagency partners, and water users. They discussed how investments from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will advance near- and long-term solutions related to drought impacts, while protecting and conserving species and their habitats in the region. The Klamath Basin has met unprecedented challenges over the past 20 years due to ongoing drought conditions, limited water supply and diverse needs. 

Assistant Secretary for Water and Science Tanya Trujillo visited Puerto Rico to see firsthand how land managers are using hydrologic science to make informed decisions, including the U.S. Geological Survey's use of artificial intelligence and machine learning in drought prediction. She also met with students from the University of Puerto Rico to see how the federal-state partnership provides training for scientists and engineers to conduct research that aids in the resolution of water problems. 

Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks Shannon Estenoz was in Florida to highlight how investments from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will help remove barriers to fish passage and reopen access to miles of upstream habitat for fish and other animals. These efforts support America the Beautiful, President Biden’s decade-long challenge to pursue a locally led and voluntary, nationwide effort to conserve, connect and restore our lands, waters, and wildlife. 

Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Bryan Newland was in Minnesota this week, taking part in a Senate Committee on Indian Affairs field hearing. During that hearing he highlighted how the Infrastructure Law is benefiting Native communities, investing more than $13 billion in dams, irrigation projects, drinking water and sanitation projects, water rights settlements, climate adaptation and ecosystem restoration projects, and more. 

Interior this week celebrated a historic agreement with the Onondaga Nation and the state of New York to return over a thousand acres of the Tribe's traditional homeland. That land is located in Central New York’s Tully Valley, and will include provisions to protect wetlands, streams, and other sensitive fish and wildlife habitat while also supporting outdoor recreational and educational uses and public access. 

It was a celebration of LGBTQ+ pride as National Park Service Director Chuck Sams helped launch the new Stonewall National Monument Visitor Center in New York City. It was this week in June 1969 when patrons at the Stonewall Inn fought back against harassment and prejudice to help inspire a worldwide movement for queer rights and equality, now commemorated every year during Pride Month. 

Yellowstone National Park is welcoming visitors back to the south loop of the park this week using a system that allows visitor access based on odd or even license plate numbers. While visitors are already  returning to explore features in the southern section of the park like Old Faithful, park crews are working hard to reopen the north loop to visitors following historic flooding in June. 

The National Interagency Fire Center's Fire Management Board this week recognized July 2nd as National Wildland Firefighter Day. The board represents the national fire programs for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, and U.S. the Forest Service along with other partners. The board acknowledged the dedicated men and women who work to protect communities, private property and public lands in increasingly challenging conditions. 

And with our social media Picture of the Week, we wish a happy 50th anniversary to John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge! A treasured green space nestled within the city of Philadelphia, John Heinz was America's first urban wildlife refuge, serving as a model of what it looks like to create inclusive spaces that all people can access. 

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Have a great Independence Day weekend! That's This Week, at Interior. 

(cheering and applause)

This Week: Interior officials discuss potential solutions to the drought crisis in Klamath Basin; the U.S. Geological Survey uses hydrologic science and artificial intelligence to predict drought in Puerto Rico; investments from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law help remove barriers to fish passage and reopen access to miles of aquatic habitat in Florida; a field hearing of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs in Minnesota highlights the extraordinary investments the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is making in Indian Country; a historic agreement with the Onondaga Nation and the state of New York returns over 1,000 acres of the Tribe's traditional homeland; the National Park Service celebrates LGBTQ+ pride in New York City at the launch of the new Stonewall National Monument Visitor Center; Yellowstone National Park continues to welcome visitors back after June's unprecedented flooding; the first National Wildland Firefighter Day takes place this weekend; and John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge turns 50!