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More Than $157 Million from Investing in America Agenda to Restore Our Nation’s Lands & Waters

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COLUMBIA, N.C. — The Department of the Interior today announced more than $157 million from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda to restore our nation’s lands and waters through locally led, landscape-scale restoration projects. The funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will support 206 ecosystem restoration projects in 48 states, Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Territories and will advance the Department’s ongoing work across several restoration and resilience programs.

Secretary Deb Haaland traveled to North Carolina to announce that Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge in North Carolina will receive a $1.4 million investment to enhance the dilapidated Scuppernong River Boardwalk. The funding will replace a 1000-foot boardwalk that meanders through a pristine forest and provides environmental education and recreational opportunities for the public in a rural, historically underserved community.

“Nature is our best ally in the fight against climate change and now, through President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, we have new transformational resources to advance locally led, partnership driven projects that will catalyze nature-based solutions and build resilient communities and landscapes,” said Secretary Deb Haaland. “At a time when tackling the climate and biodiversity crises could not be more critical, these investments in clean water, clean air, wildlife habitat, cultural resources and open spaces will benefit people, wildlife and local economies for generations to come.”

Through President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, the Interior Department is stewarding an overall $2 billion over five years in new investments to put people to work restoring our nation’s lands and waters. To guide these historic investments, in April 2023, the Department unveiled the Restoration and Resilience Framework to catalyze coordination and drive transformational outcomes across our existing programs and initiatives. This work supports the President’s America the Beautiful Initiative.

The framework includes a commitment to nine keystone conservation initiatives which address climate change impacts, including through restoring salt marshes and core sage brush areas; supporting habitat for salmonbison and Hawaiian forest birds; and restoring native plant communities by ensuring a robust native seed supply chain and eradicating invasive species 

Historic Funding for Ecosystem Restoration Projects

Funding announced today will invest in several projects that advance the three pillars of the restoration and resilience framework: building climate resilience and addressing climate change impacts; restoring healthy lands and waters; and enhancing communities’ qualities of life. Projects will be conducted in partnerships with states, Tribes, U.S. Territories, and non-profit organizations, and will advance wildfire and drought resilience, improve recreational access, reduce legacy pollution from formerly mined lands, manage invasive species and restore native plants and ecosystems.

More than half of the projects will also benefit historically underserved communities, advancing President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative, which aims to deliver 40 percent of the overall benefits of climate, clean energy, and related investments to disadvantaged communities.

A full project list is available on the Department’s website. Key funding that advances the various programs and initiatives in the Department’s Restoration and Resilience Framework includes, but is not limited to:

  • More than $25 million to support the National Early Detection and Rapid Response Framework to give land managers an upper hand in safeguarding the nation from invasive species. Invasive species are among the most significant drivers of global biodiversity loss and in some parts of the U.S. are driving native species to the point of extinction. Given their threat to commercial, agricultural and recreational sectors, invasives are estimated to cost the U.S. economy tens of billions of dollars annually, with climate change only expected to increase new introductions and persistence of these species. The National Early Detection and Rapid Response Framework is a coordinated and strategic set of actions to find and eradicate initial invasive species infestations before they establish, spread, and cause harm and become costlier to manage, thereby protecting the nation’s lands and waters and the communities they support.
  • More than $18 million to advance co-stewardship and salmon restoration in Alaska’s Yukon, Kuskokwim and Norton Sound region, through the Department’s Gravel to Gravel initiative. Salmon in the region hold deep cultural, subsistence and ecosystem significance. In partnership with Tribes, indigenous leaders, other agencies and community partners, the new initiative is bringing Indigenous Knowledge and the best available science to the table to inform plans for collective action to support resilient ecosystems and communities in the region and make immediate investments to respond to the salmon crisis.
  • More than $14 million to protect, conserve and restore Central Grasslands and restore bison populations, through the Department’s Grasslands initiative. Grasslands are home to hundreds of plants and animal species with rich ties to the people and communities who live, work, and thrive in these areas. The new initiative, working collaboratively with farmers and ranchers, state and local leaders, Tribal Nations, the outdoor recreation community, private landowners and others will utilize Indigenous Knowledge, restore bison populations and protect birds, bees and butterflies which are declining precipitously as their grasslands disappear.
  • More than $8 million to clean up legacy pollution and reduce impacts to ecosystems. Adding to the over $16 billion set aside in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to clean up toxic orphaned oil and gas wells and abandoned mine lands across the country, this new funding will connect and restore aquatic ecosystems and terrestrial biodiversity and restore mine lands and coal fields.
  • More than $8 million to advance the National Seed Strategy. Native plant communities across the U.S. are being lost every day due to climate related impacts, such as longer wildfire seasons and other extreme weather events. Actions to conserve and restore native plant communities, such as supporting a robust native seed supply chain, are important strategic components of emergency preparedness, sustaining biodiversity, and landscape resilience. Through the National Seed Strategy Keystone Initiative, the Department is updating and expanding Tribal greenhouse facilities, assisting local farmers in transitioning from high-water crops to low-water native plant crops, engaging youth in native seed collection via the Seeds of Success program, and increasing regional seed production capacity.
  • More than $7 million to restore strategic areas in the sagebrush ecosystem. Spanning over 175 million acres in the Western United States, sagebrush country contains biological, cultural and economic resources of national significance. Due to biome-level threats, these landscapes are dramatically degrading.  As part of a new Sagebrush Keystone Initiative, the Department has identified “Sagebrush Collaborative Restoration Landscapes” as areas to collaborate with ranchers, state and local leaders, Tribal Nations, conservation and sportsmen organizations, the outdoor recreation economy, private landowners and others to strategically deliver restoration actions in sagebrush country for the people, wildlife, and economies that depend on them. Funding announced today will support 12 projects across the Sagebrush Collaborative Restoration Landscapes and will help address the major threats to sagebrush habitat, including projects to restore wetlands, reduce tree encroachment, and control invasive species.
  • More than $4 million to prevent imminent extinction of Hawaiian forest birds, through the Department’s Hawaiian Forest Bird Keystone Initiative, which employs a multi-pronged and bio-cultural approach for native bird conservation and avian malaria control in collaboration with the Native Hawaiian Community.
    Investments will support projects in fiscal year 2024 and beyond and will be stewarded by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, National Park Service, Office of Insular Affairs, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and U.S. Geological Survey.

To increase effectiveness and impact from historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law investments in ecosystem restoration, Phase 3 projects include commitments of approximately $5 million to test restoration approaches, monitor project impacts, and assess ecosystem outcomes, including through an inter-bureau partnership with USGS.

Courtesy of US Department of the Interior.


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