This Week at Interior June 17, 2022


This Week, at Interior  

Department of the Interior staff joined Indigenous youth, Tribal leaders, and community partners in New Mexico to celebrate the launch of the Indian Youth Service Corps. That’s a new partnership-based program that will provide meaningful education, employment and training opportunities to Native youth through conservation projects on public and Indian lands, and Hawaiian homelands – putting young people on a path to good-paying jobs while working to tackle the climate crisis. 

In Idaho this week Secretary Haaland joined the Nez Perce Tribe, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to commemorate the transfer of fish production at Dworshak National Fish Hatchery to the Tribe. The transfer has been 20 years in the making and underscores the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to empowering Indigenous communities and supporting Tribal trust responsibilities.  

While in Idaho, Secretary Haaland announced $9 million in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funds to support more than 40 projects to restore and conserve strategic areas within the sagebrush ecosystem. These projects will combat invasive grasses and wildfire, reduce encroaching conifers, safeguard precious water resources for neighboring communities and wildlife, and promote community and economic sustainability. 

Deputy Secretary Tommy Beaudreau wrapped up a western state visit by joining local leaders and the Montana Conservation Corps to spotlight a new $68 million investment through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for local ecosystem restoration partnerships across the country. During his trip the Deputy Secretary also highlighted Interior investments in wildfire resilience, and increased access to the outdoors. 

Secretary Haaland this week named representatives to Interior’s first-ever Secretary’s Tribal Advisory Committee. The committee will ensure Tribal leaders have direct and consistent contact and communication with current and future Interior officials. She shared the update during virtual remarks at the National Congress of American Indians annual mid-year conference.  

Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Bryan Newland was in Anchorage Alaska this week to speak to NCAI as well. He provided updates on the historic investments Interior is making in Indian country infrastructure thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. He also discussed Interior's work to tell the story of the Federal Indian Boarding School system. 

The Indian Affairs Office of Indian Economic Development this week announced it's awarded $7 million in grants under the Living Languages Grant Program to 45 American Indian and Alaska Native Tribes and Tribal organizations. The Living Languages Grant Program provides an opportunity for Tribes to receive funding to document and revitalize languages that are at risk of disappearing because of a declining native-speaker population. 

Interior this week issued final approval for the construction of two solar energy projects in California. The Arica and Victory Pass solar projects in eastern Riverside County will support up to 1,000 jobs and generate up to 465 megawatts of power. It's another milestone in the Biden-Harris administration’s efforts to modernize America’s power infrastructure in the West and permit at least 25 gigawatts of solar, wind and geothermal production on public lands by 2025. 

A team of scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are exploring the Escanaba Trough. That's a slowly spreading ocean ridge 200 miles off the coast of California. The goal is to improve our understanding of hydrothermal systems as they change over time, as well as our understanding of the geological and biological characteristics of these deep-sea environments. 

And our social media Picture of the Week, the signs of the season along the Blue Ridge Parkway. The parkway runs 469 miles from Virginia's Shenandoah National Park to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina, where the pink and purple of blooming rhododendrons every June herald the arrival of summer. 

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That's This Week, at Interior. 

This Week: Interior joined Indigenous youth, Tribal leaders and community partners in New Mexico to launch the Indian Youth Service Corps; Secretary Haaland commemorates the transfer of operations at the Dworshak National Fish Hatchery to the Nez Perce Tribe in Idaho; there's $9 million on the way to help restore and protect the sagebrush ecosystem; Deputy Secretary Tommy Beaudreau spotlights Bipartisan Infrastructure Law investments to protect ecosystems nationwide; Secretary Haaland announces the members of Interior’s first-ever Secretary’s Tribal Advisory Committee; Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Bryan Newland travels to Alaska to speak at the National Congress of American Indians conference; Indian Affairs awards $7 million in grants to revitalize at-risk Native languages; the BLM approves the construction of two western solar energy projects; we'll tell you why scientists from USGS and NOAA are going under the sea off the California coast; and it's the signs of summer in our social media Picture of the Week!