This Week at Interior December 15, 2023


This Week at Interior

Leaders from across the globe met this week for the 28th Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Dubai, known as COP28. This annual event is a critical opportunity for global collaboration around the work to address the climate crisis. Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks Shannon Estenoz led the Interior delegation. The team met with international leaders and stakeholders to highlight and affirm our commitment to tackling the climate crisis with collaborative, science-based solutions, while advancing efforts to boost the clean energy economy. Interior also announced new steps to utilize nature-based solutions in its efforts to tackle the climate crisis, including the launch of a new tool to make those strategies more accessible to the public.

Secretary Haaland this week designated 16 new National Historic Landmarks in 14 different states, and two new National Natural Landmarks in two more states. The designations reflect the importance of the sites in sharing America’s rich history and extraordinary natural features.  

The Biden-Harris administration announced $72 million from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda to accelerate restoration of the Salton Sea, California’s largest lake. Acting Deputy Secretary Laura Daniel-Davis and Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Camille Calimlim Touton made that announcement during an event with state, Tribal and local leaders. The funding will expedite implementation of the state’s 10-year Salton Sea Management Plan by accelerating dust suppression, aquatic-restoration, and water conservation efforts needed to protect  important wildlife habitats and surrounding communities. 

The Acting Deputy Secretary and Reclamation Commissioner were also in Arizona this week, celebrating nearly $6 million from the Investing in America agenda to construct and install solar panels over the Casa Blanca Canal in the Gila River Indian Community. Those panels won't just generate renewable energy and reduce the facility's carbon footprint, they will also reduce evaporation losses in the canal and free up land for farming and open spaces.

Assistant Secretary for Insular and International Affairs Carmen Cantor concluded a weeklong trip to Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and Hawai’i, where she met with regional leaders and U.S. government interagency partners to highlight Interior’s commitment to the insular areas and Freely Associated States. In Guam, the Assistant Secretary visited an invasive species project site funded by the America the Beautiful Challenge and took part in Operation Christmas Drop, a long-running humanitarian mission operated by the Department of Defense and regional allies.  

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Martha Williams celebrated 10 years of the Service's Urban Wildlife Conservation Program this week at Baltimore's Masonville Cove, the program's first site. Since 2013, the Program has improved expanded access to green spaces, education and outdoor recreation for the more than 80% of people living in and around America’s major cities.  

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management this week proposed an offshore wind lease sale in the Central Atlantic. The lease sale focuses on two areas, one offshore Delaware and Maryland, the other offshore Virginia. Together they have the potential to power over 2.2 million homes with clean energy. It's all part of the Biden-Harris administration’s actions to expand offshore wind opportunities and create good-paying jobs for American workers.

The Bureau of Land Management this week announced a $2.5 million investment from the President’s Investing in America agenda for a cultural landscape study in the California Desert Conservation Area. The study, and a new predictive model, will help support the deployment of clean energy, while protecting vital cultural resources in the California desert, including on Tribal ancestral lands.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service this week announced the selection of four Upper Mississippi River Basin nature-based solutions projects -- totaling almost $1.4 million -- through President Biden’s Investing in America agenda. The projects span five states and are part of a $10 million allocation through the Inflation Reduction Act for resiliency and restoration in the Upper Mississippi and Illinois River.

And our social media Picture of the Week, this stunning view of the Alabama Hills Recreation and National Scenic Area in California. The hills consist of nearly 30,000 acres of public land where visitors can hike, fish, rock climb, mountain bike and enjoy unparalleled views.

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

That's This Week at Interior! 

This Week: Interior leaders join attendees from around the world at the 28th Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28); Secretary Haaland designates 18 new National Landmarks; Interior announces $72 million for the restoration of California's Salton Sea; there's a $6 million plan to install innovative solar energy collectors in the Gila River Indian Community; the Assistant Secretary of Insular and International Affairs returns from a week-long Pacific island journey; USFWS celebrates 10 years of its Urban Wildlife Conservation Program; BOEM publishes a new proposal for offshore wind energy in the Atlantic; BLM announces a new study to protect cultural and natural landscapes in California; there are new investments for nature-based solutions for resiliency and restoration in the Upper Mississippi Basin; and a popular outdoor recreation spot slides into our social media Picture of the Week!