A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) among the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, and six Department of the Interior bureaus, announced in November 2020, focuses on boosting federal coordination, communication and collaboration to enhance the capacity of federal, state and tribal agencies to rapidly respond to discoveries of invasive mussels in western states.
On June 26, 2017, the Department of the Interior announced a set of more than three dozen actions and initiatives designed to protect areas in the West from the economic and ecological threats posed by invasive quagga and zebra mussels. The set of actions was developed by a team of federal, state, and tribal representatives, in collaboration with the Western Governors' Association and coordinated by the Office of Policy Analysis. In fall 2020, Interior released its final report summarizing achievements through this initiative.
On February 18, 2016, the U.S. Department of the Interior released "Safeguarding America’s Lands and Waters from Invasive Species: A National Framework for Early Detection and Rapid Response." The report, called for by the White House Council on Climate Preparedness and Resilience, urges the National Invasive Species Council (NISC)—an interagency body created by Executive Order 13112—to provide leadership in early detection and rapid response for invasive species. The report outlines five recommendations to operationalize a national EDRR framework and strengthen EDRR actions from the local through to the national level. The Office of Policy Analysis and the NISC Secretariat co-led the development of the report which involved numerous NISC member departments as well as state and tribal governments and other stakeholder groups.
Every year since 2009 the Department (led by the Office of Policy Analysis) has released an annual Economic Contribution Report highlighting the current economic impact of Interior’s existing programs and activities, and underscores the impact Interior has on a stateby-state basis.
The Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA) is an unprecedented investment to address critical deferred maintenance projects and improve transportation and recreation infrastructure in national parks, national wildlife refuges and recreation areas, and at Bureau of Indian Education schools. Under this legislation the newly created National Parks and Public Land Legacy Restoration Fund will provide up to $1.6 billion a year, for five years, to help address a multi-billion-dollar deferred maintenance backlog. These reports provide estimates of the economic contributions of the Department of the Interior’s Fiscal Year National Parks and Public Land Legacy Restoration Fund projects.
The Combe Fill South Landfill is located in the New Jersey Highlands Region, an area known to support an exceptionally diverse array of natural resources including unique biotic communities and critical habitats. Natural Resource Trustees, including the USFWS NJ Field Office (NJFO) for Interior, determined that the release of hazardous substances from the landfill resulted in a 230‐acre plume of contaminated groundwater beneath and around the Site. Using NRDAR settlement funds, the NJFO initiated a cooperative agreement with The Nature Conservancy to remove the Columbia and Remnant Dams, located on the Paulins Kill River, NJ. Staff from PPA, USFWS NJFO, and USGS completed a case study evaluating the economic impacts of the project.
The first U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) Economics Workshop was held April 5–7, 2017 in Washington, D.C., to identify, highlight, and better understand needs and opportunities for economic analysis to support DOI’s mission. The Workshop, jointly convened by the DOI Office of Policy Analysis and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Science and Decisions Center, provided an opportunity for DOI’s economists to share expertise and experiences and to build collaboration and communication channels across DOI. More than 80 DOI economists gathered at the Workshop to share their work, discuss common challenges, and identify approaches to advance the use and contribution of economics at the DOI. Natural and cultural resource managers face complex questions and often have to balance competing stakeholder interests. Economic analysis is relevant to issues integral to nearly all the land and water management decisions made by DOI.
Outdoor recreation on Federal lands and waters provides benefits to individuals who participate in these activities in a variety of ways, supporting physical, mental, and spiritual health, and providing opportunities to spend time with family and friends. Outdoor recreation is also a multi-billion dollar industry in the United States. Local communities and businesses derive significant benefits from the economic activity and spending associated with trips to these locations. Outdoor recreationists made more than 889 million visits to Federal lands and waterways in 2016, spending $49 billion and supporting 826,000 jobs. This paper summarizes economic contributions from 2016 for seven agencies: BLM, NOAA, NPS, Reclamation, US Army Corps of Engineers, USFS, and USFWS.
The Office of Policy Analysis led a Service First funded project looking at methods to estimate recreational visitation data. As part of this project, in April 2017 a report was completed by Industrial Economics, Inc. that describes the methodologies currently used by federal land management agencies to characterize visitation on the lands under their jurisdiction and a number of alternative approaches that capitalize on technology that may be useful to these agencies in the future. The report also provides a series of recommendations for improving data collection, documentation, and accessibility of the data.
The Office of Policy Analysis recently conducted an analysis of the USFWS conservation banking program, to identify any institutional or other impediments to creating habitat conservation banks, and develop potential options for encouraging the expanded use of conservation banking. As part of this analysis, a survey of representatives from USFWS habitat conservation banks was completed in 2016. This report summarizes the survey results and provides conclusions and recommendations for the conservation banking program.
A peer-reviewed national study released by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), shows that in urban areas across three regions of the country proximity to a national wildlife refuge increases home value and helps support the surrounding community's tax base. The study, managed by the Office of Policy Analysis for the USFWS and conducted by economists at North Carolina State University, found that within eight miles of an urban center, homes located within half a mile of a refuge are valued three to nine percent higher than homes located farther from refuges.
The Office of Policy Analysis led the federal inter-agency recreation fee Working Group in preparing the Triennial Report to Congress on Implementation of the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act.
The report highlights projects funded by recreation fees, provides budgetary and visitation statistics, describes agency policies to implement the Act, and includes considerations about the future of the recreation fee program.
In June 2012, the Office of Policy Analysis released a report titled Wildland Fire Management Program Benefit-Cost Analysis - A Review of Relevant Literature. Wildland fire policy is an important issue at Interior. The Office of Wildland Fire develops department-wide policies, and four Interior bureaus have relevant management responsibilities: BIA, BLM, FWS, and NPS. This report provides background information on six key topics: policy, budget trends, measuring performance, the role of economic analysis, wildland fire models, and data availability.
Addressing American Indian and Alaska Native data gaps and data quality issues in federal AI/AN datasets is critical as agencies, tribes, nonprofits, businesses, and other stakeholders use federal data to make effective and data driven decisions on business development, land and resource management, and program assessment and administration. To begin to address these issues, the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and the U.S. Census Bureau (Census) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on January 13th, 2016 to work together to improve the quality and accuracy of AI/AN data. This paper describes the methods used to identify federal AI/AN data collections and presents a preliminary analysis of the inventory to date.
The Office of Policy Analysis of the Department of the Interior held a workshop on American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) data on September 13, 2016. The purpose of the workshop was to bring together producers and users of AI/AN data to share how data is developed and used, limitations of the data, and data gaps in analytic applications. The workshop provided a forum for users of AI/AN data to share information, discuss options for addressing AI/AN data issues, and identify opportunities to collaborate on AI/AN data collection to leverage Federal and other resources. This report summarizes and synthesizes the presentations and discussions that took place at the workshop, including descriptions of each session, a discussion of the common themes that arose during those sessions, and a list of critical data gaps identified. It also includes a list of possible next steps for addressing those gaps.
The Access to accurate information is crucial to decision making for American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) communities. This workshop addressed AIAN economic data quality and availability issues and options to overcome deficiencies.
Land is one of Indian Country’s most basic and important resources. Accurate land data and efficient processing of land records are required for effective land use and planning. This workshop focused on the quality and availability of land records, the business processes associated with managing and sharing this information, and the role of land status in economic development.
The Office of Policy Analysis plays a leadership role in advancing understanding of adaptive management through chairing the Adaptive Management Working Group and coordinating efforts to develop guides for managers. The Adaptive Management Working Group (AMWG) sponsored the development of the Adaptive Management,the U.S. Department of the Interior Technical Guide, first published in 2007 and revised in 2009, to clearly and consistently define adaptive management and describe conditions for its implementation.
In April 2012, the AMWG released Adaptive Management, the U.S. Department of the Interior Applications Guide, to provide through case studies, a better understanding of how adaptive management can be implemented in the field.