This Week at Interior June 21, 2024


This Week at Interior  

Secretary Haaland met with members of the Barrio Youth Conservation Corps and the Ancestral Lands Conservation Corps at La Plazita Institute in Albuquerque this week. Secretary Haaland launched the Indian Youth Service Corps program two years ago to provide Indigenous youth with opportunities to support the conservation and protection of natural and cultural resources through construction, restoration or rehabilitation. The Barrio Youth Conservation corps is receiving a $250,000 grant through the program to engage Native youth and young adults from the greater Albuquerque area in restorative justice programming and technical training in environmental conservation and natural resource management.  

Interior this week released a report documenting the cumulative impacts of federal Columbia River dams on Indigenous communities, part of the Biden-Harris administration’s unprecedented agreement to restore wild salmon there. The report also provides recommendations for how the federal government can further its treaty and trust responsibilities to Tribes by acknowledging and integrating these impacts in future actions. It marks the first time that the U.S. government has comprehensively detailed the harms that federal dams have and continue to inflict on Tribes in the Pacific Northwest.  

Interior this week announced a $43 million investment from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda for rural water projects that will provide clean, reliable drinking water to rural and Tribal communities. Investments through the Bureau of Reclamation will support six projects already under construction or in the planning phase in Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, New Mexico and South Dakota, and follows $733 million previously announced for rural water projects from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.  

Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management and Budget Joan Mooney joined federal and local leaders at Yellowstone National Park this week, for the announcement of a $22 million grant to the park from the Federal Highway Administration. The funding will go to modernize and reconstruct a 0.7-mile segment of the Norris to Golden Gate roadway segment of the Grand Loop Road. The road is a critical transportation link to Yellowstone’s major destinations and the millions of people who visit the park each year as well as local residents and communities.

The Biden-Harris administration's Interagency Joint Fire Science Program this week announced nearly $11 million for wildland fire research priorities. The program is funded in part by the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law -- funding will be awarded to federal, state, Tribal and local governments, and others to advance wildland fire research and scientific exchange.  

The Bureau of Ocean Energy management this week took initial steps to advance offshore wind near the U.S. Territories, calling for research ideas that would help ensure offshore energy activities are conducted in an environmentally and socially responsible way. The announcement follows the release of a new five-year plan for offshore wind leasing announced by Secretary Haaland in April, which called for a lease sale in the Territories in 2028.

Interior this week observed the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Saipan during World War II, where American forces landed to capture the island from the Empire of Japan and use it as a strategic military location. Deputy Assistant Secretary for Insular and International Affairs Keone Nakoa was joined by National Park Service, administration and military officials, local and territorial leaders, and representatives from the Japanese government to mark the occasion and honor the sacrifices of those who fought and died in the battle.

It's National Pollinator Week! Most of the world's flowering plants and crops depend on hard-working pollinators like bees, butterflies, birds and bats that carry pollen from one plant to another. Conserving our nation’s pollinators and their habitat is key to conserving our lands and waters. Find out more at

This week we celebrate the 122nd birthday of the Bureau of Reclamation. Established in 1902, Reclamation is the largest wholesaler of water in the United States, bringing water to more than 31 million people. It's also the second-largest producer of hydroelectric energy in the country, producing enough electricity to power three and a half million homes.

And our social media Picture of the Week, the northern lights dance across the sky over a glacial lake in Voyageurs National Park in Minnesota, one of the darkest places in the contiguous United States. Caused by the interaction of solar particles with the Earth's magnetic field, the northern lights can appear any time of year, including summer.  

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That's This Week at Interior.


This Week: Secretary Haaland highlights conservation and Indigenous youth public service as she begins her visit to New Mexico; a new report documents the cumulative impacts of federal Columbia River dams on Indigenous communities in the Pacific Northwest; a $43 million investment for rural water projects will provide clean, reliable drinking water to rural and Tribal communities; a $22 million grant from the Federal Highway Administration will help modernize a major thoroughfare inside Yellowstone National Park; the Biden-Harris administration nearly announces nearly $11 million for wildland fire research; the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management takes steps to advance offshore wind near the U.S. Territories; Interior observes the 80th anniversary of the World War II Battle of Saipan; we celebrate the little creatures who make life possible during National Pollinator Week; the Bureau of Reclamation turns 122 years old; and the Northern Lights dance across the sky in our social media Picture of the Week!