This week: Secretary Bernhardt was on the road again, affirming the extraordinary coronavirus recovery efforts underway in Indian Country, and continuing to increase public lands access for visitors; the Second Lady joins Interior’s Deputy Secretary to talk about the mental health benefits of the great outdoors; Interior continues to implement its aggressive efforts to prevent and manage wildfires; it’s been forty years since America’s worst volcanic disaster; Interior is leading the way to eradicate invasive species in Pacific Island territories; the Fish and Wildlife Service, USGS, and the U.S. Navy, sign an agreement to continue protecting Guam’s unique ecosystems and native biological diversity, while supporting our nation’s military readiness needs; in his Memorial Day message, Secretary Bernhardt says he hopes Americans will take the time to remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, and express gratitude to all who have served; and a sunset at Maine’s Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge shines in our social media Picture of the Week.
COVID-19 in Indian Country
Secretary Bernhardt was on the road again, traveling to New Mexico and Arizona. Meeting with the Pueblo Council of Governors and the Navajo Nation, the Secretary affirmed the extraordinary efforts underway to work alongside Indian Country as we overcome the coronavirus.
Expanding Park Access
The Secretary also made stops at the Grand Canyon, Petroglyphs National Monument and Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge to talk to employees as public lands continue to increase access to visitors.
Great Smoky Mountains Visit
Second Lady Karen Pence, joined by Deputy Secretary of the Interior, Katharine MacGregor and Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks, Robert Wallace, visited the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to talk about the many mental health benefits the outdoors offers. They opened the gates to Clingman’s Dome, and shared more on the park’s progress on the second phase of restoring access to the public.
Fire Leadership for Women
The National Interagency Prescribed Fire Training Center has held multiple Fire Leadership for Women training modules in Tallahassee, Florida this year. Interior continues to implement its aggressive efforts to prevent and manage wildfires, and these female leaders are critical to protecting communities throughout the country.
40 Years Since the Mount St. Helens Eruption
It was forty years ago this week that Mount St. Helens erupted with a cataclysmic blast, tragically killing 57 people. The eruption fed a towering plume of ash for more than nine hours…volcanic mudflows, or lahars, carried large boulders and logs, destroying forests, bridges, roads and buildings. It was the worst volcanic disaster in US history. USGS scientists continue to conduct critical work to monitor volcanic activity to better forecast possible future natural disasters.
Interior is leading the way to eradicate invasive species, providing critical funding to the US territories of Guam and Saipan, and the Republic of Palau, and Yap, in the Federated States of Micronesia. The funds will be used to introduce biological control of coconut rhinoceros beetles, remove monitor lizards, and to destroy wild vines, all of which are disruptive to the natural ecosystem and people’s livelihoods in the islands.
The Fish and Wildlife Service, USGS, and the U.S. Navy, have signed an agreement to continue protecting Guam’s unique ecosystems and native biological diversity, while supporting our nation’s military readiness needs. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Aurelia Skipwith says the agreement sets a benchmark for collaboration between our agencies on Guam, while enabling us to continue our ongoing research operations, provide public access, and meet our conservation mandate. USGS Director Jim Reilly says the collaboration minimizes the impacts of the invasive Brown treesnakes and improves controls on military lands on Guam.
In his Memorial Day message, Secretary Bernhardt says he hopes Americans will take the time to remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, and express gratitude to all who have served. Check out the Secretary’s Memorial Day message on our You Tube Channel.