This Week at Interior October 22, 2021


This Week, at Interior 

Interior and the Department of Agriculture teamed up this week to announce joint actions aimed at protecting the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and surrounding watershed in northeastern Minnesota. Boundary Waters is a unique natural wonder, the most visited wilderness area in the United States. Secretary Haaland called it a place that should be enjoyed by and protected for everyone, not only today but for future generations. 

Vice President Harris visited Lake Mead this week, where she was briefed on the climate change-fueled drought by Assistant Secretary for Water and Science Tanya Trujillo, and officials from both the Bureau of Reclamation and the National Park Service.  Western communities are living through the worst drought conditions of the last several decades. The Vice President said the Administration's Build Back Better Agenda, and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal, would make the biggest investment in climate resilience in U.S. history and help tackle the climate crisis. 

Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Bryan Newland and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management, and Budget Rachael Taylor visited southern Oregon this week to highlight conservation efforts, survey wildland fire damage, and discuss Interior's support for rural and Tribal communities. In a visit to Crater Lake National Park, they highlighted ongoing and future projects to make the park more accessible supported by the Great American Outdoors Act's  Legacy Restoration Fund. 

Interior this week announced it will hold five listening sessions  -- and invite public comment -- on the barriers marginalized communities face when it comes to enjoying outdoor activities on public lands. Advancing equity in recreation is a key pillar of the Biden-Harris administration’s America the Beautiful initiative that seeks to address access to nature and its benefits for all Americans. 

It's an odd-looking fish, but it's got a great comeback story. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service this week reclassified the humpback chub from endangered to threatened under the Endangered Species Act, thanks to the hard work of state, regional, Tribal and federal agencies. The humpback chub was first documented in the Lower Colorado River Basin in the Grand Canyon in the 1940's, and the upper Colorado River Basin in the 1970's. 

Tens of millions of people around the world took part in the Great Shakeout this week. Founded by the U.S. Geological Survey in 2008, the annual event urges folks to "drop, cover and hold on" in the event of an earthquake. Nearly half of all Americans are exposed to potentially damaging quakes wherever they work or live. 

And our social media Picture of the Week, is *almost* out of this world, with the Moon rising over California's Mojave Trails National Monument, managed by the BLM. It's a stunning mosaic of rugged mountain ranges, ancient lava flows, and spectacular sand dunes. Mojave Trails also contains the longest remaining undeveloped stretch of Route 66. 

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That’s This Week, at Interior  

This Week: Interior teams up with USDA on next steps to protect Minnesota's Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness; Vice President Harris visits Lake Mead to highlight Administration efforts to address drought and combat climate change; Interior leaders visit Oregon to focus on conservation, support for rural and Tribal communities and survey wildland fire damage; the Department announces upcoming listening sessions to improve recreational access to the great outdoors for marginalized communities; an odd-looking fish has a great comeback story in the Colorado River; millions around the world take part in the Great ShakeOut of 2021; and a full Moon rises over the Mojave Trails National Monument in our social media Picture of the Week!