This Week at Interior October 1, 2021


This Week at Interior   

Three, two, one, engine ignition...(rocket noise) and liftoff! Liftoff of an Atlas Five rocket and Landsat Nine. 

Secretary Haaland had a front row seat to history this week, watching the liftoff of the Landsat 9 satellite. The new Landsat  will provide major improvements to our Earth observation capabilities and help bolster our use of scientific data in key decision-making. The Secretary was joined by Assistant Secretary for Water and Science Tanya Trujillo and leaders from ⁠⁠the U.S. Geological Survey. Landsat was developed by USGS to collect essential data on Earth’s geologic formations, natural habitats, farmlands, cities, lakes, glaciers, coastlines and other surface features. 

Images likes the ones that Landsat 9 will bring back to us will help us tremendously to guide us in how we are approaching climate change, working to make sure that we can make the best decisions possible.  

Secretary Haaland visited the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge this week to discuss the important conservation work of urban wildlife refuges, highlight the America the Beautiful initiative, and honor Hispanic Heritage Month. Conservation stewardship and increasing equitable access to public lands is an essential component of the Biden-Harris administration’s America the Beautiful initiative, a decade-long, locally-led and voluntary campaign to conserve, connect and restore 30 percent of our lands and waters by 2030. 

They are the oldest known human footprints in North America, and they've just been un-earthed at White Sands National Park in New Mexico. The fossilized footprints date back some 23,000 years, showing human occupation in North America alongside mammoths, saber-toothed cats, dire wolves, and other ice age animals, many thousands of years earlier than was previously believed. 

Interior this week restored protections under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act that had been limited by the previous administration. Over the last 50 years, the population of North American birds has declined by an estimated three billion, due to natural and man-made causes. Under the MBTA the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service seeks to better protect migratory birds by addressing those human-caused mortalities. 

After two days of competition, James Hautman of Minnesota emerged as the winner of the 2021 Federal Duck Stamp Art Contest, with his painting of a pair of redheads floating in the water. Hautman’s acrylic painting will be made into the 2022-2023 Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp, or “Duck Stamp”, which will go on sale in late June 2022. 

Fat Bear Week 2021 is here, and the National Park Service is once again seeking the public’s help to crown the fattest bear of Brooks River! The annual competition celebrates the big bruins of Katmai National Park and Preserve in Alaska,  as they fatten up ahead of a long, cold winter.  

Happy Birthday, BOEM and BSEE! On October 1st, 2011, Interior established the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, two independent agencies to ensure both responsible offshore energy development and safe and environmentally responsible exploration and production. For ten years BOEM and BSEE have played vital roles in safeguarding our oceans, coastlines and the marine life that make their home in and around the offshore facilities and activities Interior regulates. 

Interior salutes Ralph Jerla, who started with the National Park Service at Yellowstone National Park in 1976, and retires this week after 44 years overseeing the Park's water systems. Thanks for a lifetime of service. Ralph! 

And our social media Picture of the Week, the inspiring and wild landscape of Little Jacks Creek Wilderness in Idaho, managed by the BLM. Here you'll find thousand-foot high canyon walls towering over a creek meandering through sagebrush and grasses...and if you keep your eyes open, you'll spot a bighorn sheep or two. 

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That’s This Week, at Interior  

This Week: The latest Landsat lifts off as Secretary Haaland looks on; the Secretary visits the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge to discuss conservation, highlight the America the Beautiful initiative, and honor Hispanic Heritage Month; the oldest known human footprints in North America have just been un-earthed at White Sands National Park in New Mexico; Interior restores protections under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act to reduce the number of human-caused bird mortalities; we'll show you the winning entry in the 2021 Duck Stamp Contest; Fat Bear Week returns to Katmai National Park and Preserve in Alaska; two Interior bureaus turn 10 years old; Ralph Jerla is retiring after 44 years at Yellowstone National Park; and some enchanting Idaho wilderness is our social media Picture of the Week!