This Week at Interior July 29, 2022


This Week at Interior  

Secretary Haaland joined colleagues from the Departments of Defense, Agriculture and Commerce this week to launch the Federal Interagency Council on Outdoor Recreation, or FICOR. The effort will create safer, more affordable and more equitable opportunities for Americans to get outdoors by expanding recreation opportunities and investing in recreation infrastructure. 

In a new op-ed in Secretary Haaland highlights the importance of Native people voting. In the new piece, she discusses the importance of democracy in Indigenous communities and the struggle to gain the right to vote. She also outlines the steps that President Biden and Interior are taking to protect voting rights. 

The rehabilitation of the George Washington Memorial Parkway is underway. The parkway, located just across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C., is managed by the National Park Service and serves more than 70,000 vehicles per day. The project, which comes in at more than $160 million, is one of the largest Great American Outdoors Act investments in the country. The rehabilitation efforts will improve visitor safety, preserve the road’s historic design and ensure that future generations can use and enjoy this scenic roadway 

Interior this week released final guidance for eligible states and the Navajo Nation on how to apply for the first $725 million in funding available for reclaiming abandoned mine lands. President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides a total of $11.3 billion in AML grant funding over 15 years to eligible states and Tribes; the grants will help communities eliminate dangerous environmental hazards and pollution caused by past coal mining while creating good-paying jobs and revitalizing coal communities. 

Interior has announced $3.4 million from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for the Lake Tahoe Basin to address the spread of aquatic invasive species. The investments are part of $17 million allocated for Lake Tahoe to restore the basin's ecosystem and emphasize the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to inclusive engagement with Tribes, partners and stakeholders. 

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Martha Williams visited Philadelphia's John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge, to highlight how the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is supporting the National Fish Passage Program. A $900,000 investment from the infrastructure law is helping to restore Henderson Marsh by reconnecting 150 acres...that will allow water to move freely through the marsh, prevent flooding damage to the surrounding communities, and expand recreational opportunities for kayaking and fishing at the refuge. 

The Fish and Wildlife Service joined its federal, state and Tribal partners to celebrate the return of endangered winter-run Chinook salmon eggs to the McCloud River upstream of California's Shasta Reservoir. Twenty thousand fertilized eggs were placed into riverside incubators, and another twenty thousand will be added in August. The move comes in response to severe drought conditions that have now entered their third year. 

Second Gentlemen Douglas Emhoff was the keynote speaker this week at the official dedication of the newest addition to the Korean War Veterans Memorial on the National Mall -- the Wall of Remembrance. The wall will be the new focal point at the memorial; it features the names of more than 36,000 Americans who gave their lives during the Korean War, and those of over 7,000 Koreans who died while augmenting the U.S. Army. 

And our social media Pictures of the Week, a celebration of Landsat's 50th anniversary from NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey. Since 1972, USGS and NASA have worked together on an unprecedented and nearly continuous visual record of Earth’s landscapes, icescapes and coastal ecosystems. Together NASA and Interior shared our top 10 “Earth as Art” images to celebrate that half century of partnership...check'em out on Instagram. 

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That’s This Week at Interior 

This Week: Secretary Haaland helps launch the Federal Interagency Council on Outdoor Recreation; the Biden-Harris administration and Interior outline steps to protect Native American voting rights; the long-awaited rehabilitation of the historic George Washington Memorial Parkway is underway; investments from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law help rural communities reclaim abandoned coal mines, help Lake Tahoe fight invasive species and support the National Fish Passage Program at a Pennsylvania wildlife refuge; it's the return of endangered winter-run Chinook salmon eggs to the McCloud River upstream of California's Shasta Reservoir; the Korean War Veterans Memorial on the National Mall adds a Wall of Remembrance to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice in the name of freedom; and the Earth becomes art in our social media Pictures of the Week!