This Week at Interior October 20, 2023


Hi, everyone, I’m Deb Haaland, Secretary of the Interior. And I’m Camille Calimlim Touton, Commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation. And I’m Billy Idol. And you’re watching ‘This Week at Interior.’ Yeah! 

This Week at Interior 

The Biden-Harris administration announced the next steps to protect the long-term stability and sustainability of the Colorado River beyond 2026. The Bureau of Reclamation published a Scoping Report that details the post-2026 planning efforts that will eventually replace the 2007 interim guidelines for Lake Powell and Lake Mead. The post-2026 planning process is separate from the ongoing, concurrent efforts to protect the Colorado River Basin through the next three years. This announcement builds on the historic investments from the President’s Investing in America agenda to help increase water conservation, improve water efficiency, protect critical environmental resources, and prevent the Colorado River System’s reservoirs from falling to critically low elevations that would threaten water deliveries and power production. 

Secretary Haaland, Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks Shannon Estenoz, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Martha Williams made a visit to the new Paint Rock River National Wildlife Refuge in Franklin County, Tennessee this week to celebrate the newest addition to the National Wildlife Refuge System. This furthers the Biden-Harris administration’s work to support community-driven efforts to conserve and restore the nation’s lands and waters through America the Beautiful. The visit came at the end of National Wildlife Refuge Week, which commemorates the important role the Refuge System plays in providing vital habitat for wildlife species, offering outdoor recreation access to the public, and bolstering climate resilience across the country. 

Assistant Secretary for Insular and International Affairs Carmen Cantor was on hand this week for the signing of three agreements between the United States and the Republic of the Marshall Islands. The Compacts of Free Association serve as a framework for the U.S. relationship with its former trust territories, and will assist in tackling the climate crisis, promoting sustainable economic development, and bolstering security in the region. The agreements further our nation’s commitment to a Pacific region that is secure, free and open and more prosperous.  

A new survey from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies shows that Americans last year spent nearly $400 billion on hunting, fishing and other wildlife-associated recreation. Americans ages 16 and older spent a combined total of 14 billion days on the hunt, on the water and around the home viewing wildlife, which is an all-time high.  

The U.S. Geological Survey held its annual Great ShakeOut earthquake preparedness drill on 10/19 at 10:19 across communities nationwide. More than half of all Americans are exposed to potentially damaging earthquakes that can occur with very little warning. And while some regions are more prone to seismic activity than others, it's crucial to remember that earthquakes can impact nearly all regions of the United States. 

You can join the White House and National Park Service this year at the annual national Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony in President's Park. A free ticket lottery will open online to the public on November 1, with the lighting ceremony taking place on November 30. Presented by the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation, this beloved American tradition features musical performances and the official ringing in of the holiday season. It was first celebrated in 1923 by President Calvin Coolidge. 

And our social media Picture of the Week...what creature is fluffy, boldly colored and packs a chemical defense so powerful it can stop even bears in their tracks? That’s right, we’re talking about our little friend clad in black and white: the skunk, pictured here at Bear Lake National Wildlife Refuge in Idaho. 

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That's This Week at Interior. 

This Week: The Biden-Harris administration announces next steps to protect the long-term stability and sustainability of the Colorado River System; Interior leaders visit Tennessee to celebrate the newest addition to the National Wildlife Refuge System; three new agreements with the Republic of the Marshall Islands will bolster its economy, security and help fight climate change; a new survey shows the powerful economic impact of hunting and fishing in the great outdoors; the Great ShakeOut tests earthquake readiness across the country and around the world; it's almost time to get your seat for this year's National Christmas Tree Lighting; and we'll take you to Idaho for a fragrant social media Picture of the Week!