This Week at Interior November 3, 2023


I’m Steve Cohn, BLM Alaska State Director, here at Campbell Creek Science Center, and you’re watching This Week at Interior! 

This Week at Interior 

Secretary Haaland hit the road this week as part of the Biden-Harris administration’s Investing in Rural America Event Series. In New Mexico, she and Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Camille Calimlim Touton announced $65 million for rural water projects. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law investments will support projects in Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota and South Dakota. 

In Colorado, the Secretary announced nearly $10 million in funding from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda to create good-paying jobs and catalyze economic opportunity by reclaiming abandoned mine lands in the state. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides $11.3 billion in abandoned mine land funding over 15 years. 

The Secretary made her third visit to Alaska last week to highlight how the Biden-Harris administration’s historic investments are supporting the state and in particular Alaska Native communities, by bolstering climate resiliency, salmon conservation and strengthening local economies. Secretary Haaland and Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Bryan Newland also hosted the 10th stop on “The Road to Healing.” This tour across the country is providing survivors of the federal Indian boarding school system and their descendants an opportunity to share their experiences as part of the Department’s Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative. 

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announced the approval of the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project this week. Located approximately 23 and a half nautical miles offshore Virginia Beach, the project will power 900,000 homes, support thousands of jobs, and add 2,600 megawatts of clean energy to the grid. The approval advances the administration’s goal of deploying 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy capacity by 2030. 

Assistant Secretary for Insular and International Affairs Carmen Cantor concluded the 47th annual meeting of the United States Coral Reef Task Force in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The interagency task force unites expertise from the federal government, states, territories, freely associated states, Fishery Management Councils, and partners to better understand and mitigate threats to coral reef ecosystems and associated communities. 

Interior this week released a new report that offers a series of recommendations to help federal law enforcement and communities bolster trust, accountability and collaboration through community-focused law enforcement. The report lists 12 improvements to enhance public trust in Interior law enforcement, support the safety, health and wellness of officers and ensure that law enforcement programs continue to provide for safe and equitable access to public lands. 

Bureau of Reclamation leaders joined local officials in California's Central Valley to approve a joint project that expands the San Luis Reservoir at the B.F. Sisk Dam. The expansion adds 130,000 acre-feet of storage space to the reservoir. That means a greater water supply for two million people, more than a million acres of farmland, and 135,000 acres of wetlands and critical wildlife habitat. 

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Martha Williams traveled to Delaware to unveil the rehabilitated Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters and Visitor Center. The multipurpose facility will connect people to nature and engage local communities in conservation. It was supported by funds from the Great American Outdoors Act. 

And our social media Picture of the Week, this black bear at Virginia's Shenandoah National Park. As November begins, the park's bears are busy putting on weight before they head for their dens and a long winter's nap. Shenandoah's oak trees mean lots of acorns, and its hickory trees are always good for tasty nuts. 

Make sure you follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. 

That's This Week at Interior. 

This Week: Secretary Haaland hits the road as part of the Biden-Harris administration’s Investing in America Rural Event Series; Interior approves the nation's largest ocean wind farm, capable of powering nearly a million homes; a multiagency task force meets to discuss mitigation strategies to save the world's coral reefs; a new report makes recommendations to help federal law enforcement and communities bolster trust, accountability and collaboration; the expansion of a California reservoir means more reliable water for two million people and a million acres of farmland; Delaware's Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge has a new look; and our social media Picture of the Week catches a Virginia bear getting ready for a long winter's nap!