This Week at Interior September 17, 2021


Greetings from Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge. You’re watching This Week at Interior. 

This Week, at Interior  

President Biden this week became the first President to visit the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho, hosted by the Bureau of Land Management. He discussed responses to severe wildfires, and ways we can make our nation more resilient to climate change and extreme weather. 

The reality is we have a global warming problem — a serious global warming problem, and it’s consequential. 

Interior’s Office of Wildland Fire strengthened its collaboration with the Intertribal Timber Council this week, as climate change propels wildfires that are larger, costlier and more complex. About six and a half million acres of Interior-managed land sits in close proximity to Tribal lands.  

Todd. M. Beamer. (Bell rings) 

The names of the passengers and crew of United Flight 93 remembered this week as the nation marked the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks. Secretary Haaland joined Vice President Harris and former President Bush at a ceremony in Shanksville, Pennsylvania to honor their memories, and all of the victims of September 11th. 

We are gathered today on hallowed ground. At this place, which has been sanctified by sacrifice, to honor the heroism that the 40 passengers and crew showed in the face of grave terrorism. 

We remember the heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice to save others. We honor their families, and we recognize the selfless patriotism they demonstrated on that September morning twenty years ago. 

Secretary Haaland this week saluted the start of Hispanic Heritage Month, which recognizes and celebrates the countless contributions and diverse cultures of Hispanic Americans. 

I come from New Mexico, a place where Hispanic families have a special connection to the land, and where their ceremonies, cultures, and community are celebrated throughout the year... 

We all benefit from the Hispanic community’s deep connection to America’s lands. It is part of the mosaic that makes our country so unique. 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is collaborating with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to distribute $30 million in funding to animal and plant care facilities that experienced revenue losses of 25% or more due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The funding was appropriated to the Service through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. 

Secretary Haaland this week congratulated the 2021 Abandoned Mine Lands Reclamation Award recipients in a virtual ceremony. Those awards represent the nation’s highest achievements in abandoned mine land reclamation, demonstrating innovative techniques and outstanding results in restoring lands mined and left unreclaimed prior to 1977. 

September 11th was a day of service at the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge for volunteers from the Oregon Chinese Coalition. The community workday was part of the Fish and Wildlife Service’s efforts to advance racial equity by providing wildlife related education and recreation opportunities to underserved communities, particularly in urban areas.  

And our social media Picture of the Week, one of those images that looks just a little too unreal to be real...but trust us, it's the real deal. Millions of late-blooming wildflowers carpet the grassy landscape at Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve in Colorado, thanks to a dry spring and wet summer. And lurking in the backdrop is Star Dune...topping out at more than 740 feet, it's currently one of the two tallest sand dunes in North America.   

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That’s This Week, at Interior 

This Week: President Biden gets a historic briefing at the National Interagency Fire Center; Interior strengthens its wildfire-fighting cooperation with Tribal authorities; Secretary Haaland joins Vice President Harris at the Flight 93 National Memorial to honor the heroes of September 11th, 2001; the Secretary marks the start of Hispanic Heritage Month; the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service distributes $30 million in funding for zoos and aquariums hit hard by the pandemic; Interior salutes the winners of the 2021 Abandoned Mine Lands Reclamation Awards; Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge hosts a day of service for volunteers from the Oregon Chinese Coalition; and an explosion of wildflowers is featured in our social media Picture of the Week!