U.S. Department of [the] Interior, also known as "Interior"

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The United States Department of the Interior -- http://www.doi.gov/ -- has nine branches (eight of them listed at the DOI home page -- the Office of Insular Affairs, or OIA, which received $325 million in appropriations in fiscal year 2000, was not mentioned). One of the many things DOI does, in its own words, is: "Estimate world and United States energy and mineral supplies."

"The Mission of the Department of the Interior is to protect and provide access to our Nation's natural and cultural heritage and honor our trust responsibilities to Indian Tribes and our commitments to island communities." Source: http://www.doi.gov/secretary/mission.html

Another eye-opener is: "Energy projects on federally managed lands and offshore areas supply about 28 percent of the nation’s energy production."

Welcome to DOI.gov 9-05-04 


National Park Service 2-15-07

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 3-06-07

Bureau of Reclamation 11-25-06

Bureau of Land Management 9-30-06

U.S. Geological Survey 9-30-03    USGS Maps 9-30-03

NMFS - National Marine Fisheries Service 8-15-05

also known as NOAA - National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Bureau of Indian Affairs (BOI) 6-28-06

Office of Surface Mining 12-19-03

Minerals Management Service 12-09-04

“It is probably a healthy exercise, when considering the extinction of species in this age, to remember that many thousands of life forms have ceased to exist from wholly natural causes -- dinosaurs spring invariably to mind.  And further that some organisms -- especially primitive forms, which, as it were, are ‘past their prime’ -- will pass into oblivion, both without human assistance and in spite of it.” - from The Birdwatcher’s Companion, page 229, authored by Christopher Leahy of the Massachusetts Audubon Society, 1982.)

Quote: "What we have learned is that you can't do these issues one species at a time." - Secretary of the Interior, Bruce Babbitt (former Secretary, Department Of Interior) http://www.rcip.org/conservation.htm

Collaborate - To cooperate, usually willingly, with an enemy nation, especially with an enemy occupying one's country. - The Random House College Dictionary, 1980 Revised Edition, page 263. (Note: Please, consider when you see this word, collaborate, in plans, agency documents, etc., and consider its real meaning.)

Vertical Mulching - A high priority recovery need for the federally-listed desert tortoise and other sensitive species occurring within the California Desert is the restoration of unauthorized routes, or road reclamation (refer to West Mojave Route Designation, Ord Mountain Pilot Unit, Biological Resource Screening Components; Bureau of Land Management 1997). Such restoration allows for the protection of large contiguous blocks of habitat that are relatively unencumbered by vehicle use impacts and related activities. Restoring unauthorized routes would significantly reduce identified habitat fragmentation occurring within designated tortoise critical habitat units and yield tremendous positive benefits affecting recovery of this species. Of the 22 major threats to the tortoise identified in recent research, ten would be significantly reduced by restoring unauthorized roads and trails, including the following: fire, off highway vehicle recreation, animal collection, garbage and litter, handling and manipulation, invasive weeds, noise, vandalism, predation (by ravens and similar subsidized predators), and non off-highway vehicle recreation. The Barstow Field Office of the Bureau of Land Management is currently seeking support among potential cooperators to use “desert tortoise habitat compensation” funds for road and trail restoration. Such funds are occasionally generated, pursuant to guidelines in BLM’s Desert Tortoise Rangewide Plan, when habitat-impacting projects are approved within the range of the tortoise that cannot be fully mitigated on-site. In the past, these “habitat compensation” funds have typically been used to acquire private inholdings within designated tortoise critical habitat units. Recently, however, the Barstow Field Office determined that compensation funds generated by several large-scale projects would enable cooperating agencies to protect/enhance a much larger amount of tortoise habitat if these funds were used for route restoration, rather than habitat acquisition. Both methods of offsite habitat compensation are necessary for long-term recovery of the desert tortoise and other sensitive species in certain critical habitat units, and these options should be carefully evaluated on a case-by-case basis. To accomplish both tortoise habitat restoration and route designation objectives in critical habitat units, BLM staff have developed a reclamation strategy commonly referred to as “vertical mulching.” This technique involves the placement of structure (live vegetation, rocks, dead shrubs and “snags,” bunch-grasses, and various woody material) within the confines of the closed roadway surface, both on the ground surface and in a vertical manner, designed to conform with adjacent vegetation and terrain. Use of this technique is further described below. Discussion: Lessons learned by BLM over past decades have shown that route designation cannot be effectively implemented by simply installing red carsonite “closed to vehicle use” signs on or adjacent to unauthorized routes of travel. Efforts must include encouraging vehicle travel on designated open routes, and making designated closed routes literally disappear into the landscape. To begin this “disappearing act,” decompaction and mulching techniques must be applied to closed routes, extending at least to the visual horizon, especially where the closed routes intersect with other routes. The Barstow Field Office has demonstrated that unauthorized roads and trails can be economically restored through use of vertical mulching techniques. These techniques involve placement of boulders and organic structure, such as live/dead and down vegetation, within the disturbed soil portion of affected roadbeds. Only vegetation, rock and woody structure native to the immediate closed route vicinities are used. The estimated cost for restoring tortoise habitat using this technique is $500 per acre, using current technology. The target restoration areas consist of roads and trails that facilitate a variety of anthropogenic impacts to designated desert tortoise critical habitat. The specified collection and installation of mulching material occurs under the supervision of a qualified natural resource specialist, archeologist, biologist or technician, to ensure a minimization of impacts to biological or cultural resources. Areas adjacent to where route closure/rehabilitation is planned may occasionally be used to gather dead vertical mulching material, in a manner designed to avoid causing local dead and down habitat loss, yet also accomplish restoration objectives. In no circumstances are shrubs that shade animal burrows or that are located adjacent to cultural resources, removed for use as mulching material. However, live and dead vegetation from the immediate region, salvaged from land clearing or road maintenance operations, may occasionally be used as mulching material in such restoration projects. Memorandums of understanding developed between land management agencies and local transportation departments, regarding salvage and storage of native material for this application, can facilitate large-scale projects. The use of pitting, ripping, or other scarification techniques within the confines of route or roadbed soil disturbance is sometimes necessary for rapid site recovery. Such scarification is done with hand-tools or through the use of heavy equipment and machinery (toothed rake, pitter, or similar device pulled by a tractor). After scarification, the live or dead vegetation is placed in a vertical fashion within the confines of route or roadbed soil disturbance, in a manner designed to conform to adjacent terrain and vegetation. The Barstow Field Office is able to restore Mojave Desert habitats for about $500 per acre, due to relationships and agreements it has in place with the California Conservation Corps and other local young adult labor groups. Under an existing agreement, the California Conservation Corps will match BLM contributed project funds on a dollar for dollar basis. As a consequence, funds generated by large habitat-disturbing projects could also qualify for matching by the state of California, in the form of matching labor funds available via the use of the California Conservation Corps. Conclusion: Vertical mulching can be an economical technique for restoring unauthorized roads and trails in desert tortoise and other sensitive species’ habitats. In some circumstances it may provide much more “bang for the buck” when compared to traditional forms of offsite compensation. Its application in selected areas of the California Desert will reduce anthropogenic impacts to the listed desert tortoise, contributing significantly to the recovery of this threatened species. References: Bureau of Land Management (BLM). 1997. West Mojave route designation, Ord Mountain pilot unit, biological resource screening components. California Desert District BLM Office, Riverside, California. http://www.blm.gov/nstc/resourcenotes/rn16.html


"In 30 years of implementing the Endangered Species Act, the Service has found that the designation of critical habitat provides little additional protection to most listed species, while preventing the Service from using scarce conservation resources for activities with greater conservation benefits. In almost all cases, recovery of listed species will come through voluntary cooperative partnerships, not regulatory measures such as critical habitat." -

 From: [email protected].

  You can cite the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as the source of the critical habitat language. June 23, 2003 (On June 19, 2003, the comment to my inquiry as to the author of this quote was: "These statements were written in Interior Secretary Gale Norton's office. I do not know the exact author.")

"When we make critical habitat designations, we just designate everything as critical, without an analysis of how much habitat an evolutionary significant unit needs." - Donna Darm, the acting NMFS (National Marine Fisheries Service) Regional Administrator for the Northwest, in a 1998 intra-agency memorandum.

The History of the Department of the Interior, also known as the Department of Interior, Interior and DOI:

In 1789 Congress created three Executive Departments: State or Foreign Affairs, Treasury and War. It also provided for an Attorney General and a Postmaster General. Domestic matters were apportioned by Congress among these departments.

The idea of setting up a separate department to handle domestic matters was put forward on numerous occasions. It wasn't until March 3, 1849, the last day of the 30th Congress, that a bill was passed to create the Department of the Interior to take charge of the Nation's internal affairs.

The Interior Department had a wide range of responsibilities entrusted to it: the construction of the national capital's water system, the colonization of freed slaves in Haiti, exploration of western wilderness, oversight of the District of Columbia jail, regulation of territorial governments, management of hospitals and universities, management of public parks, the basic responsibilities for Indians, public lands, patents, and pensions. In one way or another all of these had to do with the internal development of the nation or the welfare of its people.

Some significant dates:

1849 Creation of the Home Department consolidating the General Land Office (Department of the Treasury), the Patent Office (Department of State), the Indian Affairs Office (War Department) and the military pension offices (War and Navy Departments). Subsequently, Interior functions expand to include the census, regulation of territorial governments, exploration of the western wilderness, and management of the (Washington) D.C. jail and water system.

1850-1857 - Interior's Mexican Boundary Commission establishes the international boundary with Mexico.

1856-1873 - Interior's Pacific Wagon Road Office improved the historic western emigrant routes.

1869 - Interior began its geological survey of the western Territories with the Hayden expedition. The Bureau of Education is placed under Interior (later transferred to the Department of Health, Education and Welfare).

1872 - Congress establishes Yellowstone as the first National Park.

1873 - Congress transferred territorial oversight from the Secretary of State to the Secretary of the Interior.

1879 - Creation of the U.S. Geological Survey.

1884 - Interior's Bureau of Labor is established (becomes the Department of Labor in 1888).

1887-1889 - The Interstate Commerce Commission is established in Interior. The Dawes Act authorizes allotments to Indians.

1902 - The Bureau of Reclamation is established to construct dams and aqueducts in the West.

1903 - President Theodore Roosevelt establishes the first National Wildlife Refuge at Pelican Island, Florida. The Census Bureau is transferred to the Department of Commerce.

1910 - The Bureau of Mines is created to promote mine safety and minerals technology.

1916 - President Wilson signed legislation creating The National Park Service.

1920 - The Mineral Leasing Act establishes the government's right to rental payments and royalties on oil, gas and minerals production.

1925 - The Patent Office is transferred to the Department of Commerce.

1930 - The Bureau of Pensions is transferred to the Veterans Administration.

1934 - The Taylor Grazing Act is enacted to regulate economic uses of public lands. The first Migratory Bird Hunting Stamp is issued. The Indian Reorganization Act abolishes the allotment system established in 1887, forms tribal governments, and affirms the Secretary's trust responsibilities. Oversight of Alaska, Hawaii, the Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico is transferred to Interior.

1935 - The Bureau of Reclamation completes construction of Hoover Dam.

1940 - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is created from the Bureau of Fisheries and the Bureau of Biological Survey.

1946 - Interior's General Land Office and Grazing Service are merged into the Bureau of Land Management.

1950-1951 - Interior assumes jurisdiction over Guam, American Samoa, and the
Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands.

1977 - The Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement is established to oversee state regulation of strip coal mining and repair of environmental damage.

1980 - The Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act is enacted adding 47 million acres to the National Park System and 54 acres to the National Wildlife Refuge System.

1982 - The Minerals Management Service is established to facilitate mineral revenue collection and manage the Outer Continental Shelf offshore lands.

1993 - The President (Clinton) convened the Northwest Forest Plan Summit and released the "Forest Plan for a Sustainable Economy and Sustainable Environment."

1994 - Federal and State officials signed the California Bay-Delta Accord

1995 - Gray wolves are reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park.

1996 - Interior science and technology functions are consolidated in the U.S. Geological Survey.

Interior is a large, decentralized agency with over 70,000 employees and 200,000 volunteers located at approximately 2,400 operating locations across the United States, Puerto Rico, U.S. territories, and freely associated states. We discharge our responsibilities on a $13 billion total annual budget. DOI raises more than $6 billion in revenues collected from energy, mineral, grazing, timber, recreation, land sales, etc.

Since Congress created the Department of the Interior in 1849, it has become the steward for:


DOI manages 507 million acres of surface land, or about one-fifth of the land in the United States, including:

262 million acres managed by the Bureau of Land Management

95 million acres managed by the Fish and Wildlife Service

84 million acres managed by the National Park Service

8.6 million acres managed by the Bureau of Reclamation associated with reclamation projects

56 million acres managed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs

Over 180,000 acres of abandoned coal mine sites have been reclaimed through the Office of Surface Mining's Abandoned Mine Land Program.


DOI has responsibility for managing a variety of water and underwater resources. The Bureau of Reclamation manages 456 dams and 348 reservoirs that deliver irrigation water to one of every five western farmers and provide water for 31 million people. The Minerals Management Service has jurisdiction over approximately 1.76 billion acres of the Outer Continental Shelf, on which it manages about 7,600 active oil and gas leases on 40 million acres. The U.S. Geological Survey conducts groundwater and surface water studies with offices in all 50 states.

Recreation and Cultural Opportunities

62 million visits to 1,600 recreational sites provided by the Bureau of Land Management

286 million visits to 385 units, including parks, monuments, seashore sites, battlefields and other cultural and recreational sites provided by National Park Service

37 million visits to 539 wildlife refuges provided by the Fish and Wildlife Service

90 million visits to 308 recreation sites provided by the Bureau of Reclamation

For more information on camping, fishing, archeology, bird watching and other recreational opportunities on Interior and other Federal lands, go to recreation.gov

Native American Lands and Needs

56 million acres of land belong to Indian tribes and individuals

The Bureau of Indian Affairs provides education services to 48,000 Indian children in 185 schools and dormitories

The Bureau manages relationships with 562 Indian tribes

U.S. Energy Needs

Energy projects on federally managed lands and offshore areas supply about 28 percent of the nation’s energy production. This includes:

35% of natural gas

29% of oil

35% of coal

17% of hydro power

47% of geothermal

Scientific Research

The U.S. Geological Survey scientists:

Monitor, analyze, interpret, and disseminate information on earthquakes, volcanoes, and the geology and topography of the United States.

Monitor and assess water quality, streamflows and ground water at thousands of sites across the nation

Produce more than 100,000 different maps

Estimate world and United States energy and mineral supplies

Conduct a wide range of research on biology, geology, and water to provide land and resource managers with the information they need to make sound decisions, and to help mitigate the effects of natural hazards

Fish and Wildlife

The Department seeks to work with others to conserve, manage, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of all Americans. DOI is responsible for:

Improving habitats for migratory birds, certain marine animals, freshwater and anadromous fish, as well as providing public enjoyment of these resources

Protecting 1,818 endangered or threatened species, 1,260 are U.S.

Preventing and controlling invasive species


There is a wide array of huge money-spending (taxpayer dollars) projects at the Office of Budget: http://www.doi.gov/budget/