This Week at Interior April 9, 2021

Transcript: 

This Week at Interior 

Secretary Haaland hit the road this week for the first time as Secretary, making stops in New Mexico and Utah. In Albuquerque, she held a listening session with the All Pueblo Council of Governors at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center. She spoke about President Biden’s American Jobs Plan, which would support a number of Interior initiatives including funding for Tribal and rural communities to expand broadband coverage, as well as improving roads, bridges, water systems, and spurring economic development.  

Then it was off to Utah, where the Secretary took part in discussions on the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments, meeting with Tribes,  federal, state and local leaders, and other stakeholders. Interior is leading a review of the boundaries and management conditions of the two national monuments, pursuant to the President’s Executive Order. Both trips were done under strict COVID-19 guidelines to keep everyone safe.   

Interior will invest $1.6 billion this year to take on 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. The funding was made possible by the newly created National Parks and Public Land Legacy Restoration Fund, established in 2020 by the Great American Outdoors Act. 

Secretary Haaland this week announced the formation of a new Missing & Murdered Unit within the Bureau of Indian Affairs Office of Justice Services. The MMU will provide leadership and direction for cross-departmental and interagency work involving missing and murdered American Indians and Alaska Natives. The Secretary said violence against Indigenous peoples is a crisis that has been underfunded for decades.  

The Bureau of Reclamation has released final technical details supporting the 2021 SECURE Water Act Report. Reclamation’s 2021 West-Wide Climate and Hydrology Assessment, plus seven individual basin reports, provide detailed information on climate change impacts and adaptation strategies to increase water supply reliability in the West. 

After a five-year review the Fish and Wildlife Service has recommended no change to the status of the grizzly bear in the lower 48 states as "threatened" under the Endangered Species Act. This recommendation follows a thorough review of the best available science, informed by an independently peer-reviewed species status assessment. 

The week of April 5th through the 12th is International Dark Sky Week, and the National Park Service is collaborating with the Illuminating Engineering Society to improve outdoor lighting in national parks, without affecting night sky viewing, the fastest-growing park visitor activity. Together they'll develop lighting standards and best practices for parks and other protected areas, to help plan night sky friendly lighting in future construction projects in parks of the national park system.   

And our social media Picture of the Week, where you can almost catch the scent of these wildflowers in bloom at eight-thousand feet, on BLM-managed land just south of Monitor Pass in California's Sierra Nevada. The picturesque range stretches for some 400 miles in eastern California, and translates literally as "snowy mountains." 

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

That's This Week, at Interior. 

4/9/2021
Last edited 4/9/2021

This Week: Secretary Haaland hits the road this week for the first time as Secretary, making stops in New Mexico and Utah; Interior will invest $1.6 billion in critical infrastructure and deferred maintenance projects; Secretary Haaland announces the formation of a new Missing & Murdered Unit within the Bureau of Indian Affairs Office of Justice Services; the Bureau of Reclamation releases final technical details supporting the 2021 SECURE Water Act Report; the Fish and Wildlife Service recommends no change to the status of the grizzly bear in the lower 48 states; we'll tell you why things are looking up at national parks, especially at night; and we stop to look at the flowers in our social media Picture of the Week!