This Week at Interior March 18, 2022


Greetings from Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge. And you're watching "This Week at Interior." 

This Week, at Interior  

Secretary Haaland concluded a two-day visit to Maryland this week with a tour of Masonville Cove, the nation’s first Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnership that connects the city’s residents to the outdoors. The Secretary then 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. 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. 

The Secretary took the stage this week at the South by Southwest Conference in Austin, Texas. She presented what she called "Auntie Deb’s Guide to Equity & Inclusion," which outlined her philosophy about why representation matters, how to take it to the next level, and what can be possible when we recognize America’s full history and provide space for all voices to have a seat at the table. 

Secretary Haaland saluted Women's History Month this week, a time to highlight the inspiring women who break barriers and challenge systems designed to keep them out. 

At Interior, we’re making strides in increasing representation of women in leadership and fostering an environment for women to grow – no matter what field they work in. It’s an incredible responsibility that we don’t take lightly, and I challenge others to do the same. Take time this month to thank the fierce women in your life who make the world a better place. 

Secretary Haaland marked her first anniversary at Interior's helm this week. She was sworn in one year ago as the first Native American Cabinet Secretary in U.S. history, and calls the past year nothing short of engaging, inspiring, and memorable, but most of all, impactful...from Interior's role in implementing the American Rescue Plan and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, to our work advancing solutions to the major environmental issues facing our communities, including drought, wildfire, and legacy pollution.   

Deputy Secretary Tommy Beaudreau wrapped a three-day visit to Idaho, Washington, and Oregon this week, where he highlighted the historic investments from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law in wildfire resilience, conservation and ecosystem restoration. At the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho, he was briefed on the ongoing drought crisis and its impact on the upcoming fire season...he also underscored President Biden’s call that no federal firefighter will make less than $15 an hour this year. Then it was off 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. And in Oregon he was joined by Fish and Wildlife Service Director Martha Williams for a visit to Cape Meares National Wildlife Refuge to highlight the Infrastructure Law's $1.4 billion investment in ecosystem restoration and resilience. 

New research by the U.S. Geological Survey, the Yurok and Karuk Tribes, and others, suggests that traditional ecological indigenous practices to remove forest fuels, in what is now northern California, created healthier forests. The work suggests that it’s federal suppression policies that have doubled the amount of fuels in the area since it was colonized by Euro-American settlers in approximately 1850. That report appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 

The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement this week announced that a new tool for advancing safety in oil and gas operations on the Outer Continental Shelf, is now available to industry and the public. The new web-based dashboard increases transparency and improves BSEE and the industry’s ability to improve inspection planning, as well as safety and environmental stewardship. 

And our social media Picture of the Week is also our birthday greeting to the National Wildlife Refuge System. Founded by President Theodore Roosevelt on March 14th, 1903, the refuge system is a diverse network of lands and waters in all 50 states and 5 territories, dedicated to conserving America’s rich fish and wildlife heritage. 

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That's This Week at Interior. 

This Week: Secretary Haaland concludes a two-day visit to Maryland, where she highlighted the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s $200 million investment in ecosystem restoration; the Secretary took the stage at the SXSW Conference to explain why representation matters; Interior celebrates Women's History Month; Secretary Haaland marks her one-year anniversary at Interior's helm; Deputy Secretary Beaudreau wraps up a three-day visit to Idaho, Washington and Oregon; new research shows traditional forest management by Tribes may have done a better job of preventing forest fires than modern practices; there's a new tool to enhance safety practices off the Outer Continental Shelf; and our social media Picture of the Week sends our birthday greetings to the National Wildlife Refuge System!