Department of the Interior

Overview

The Department of the Interior (DOI) conserves and manages the nation’s natural resources and cultural heritage for the benefit and enjoyment of the American people, provides scientific and other information about natural resources and natural hazards to address societal challenges and create opportunities for the American people, and honors the nation’s trust responsibilities or special commitments to American Indians, Alaska Natives, and affiliated island communities to help them prosper. DOI manages U.S. public lands for multiple uses, ensuring these lands are available for recreation, job growth and creation, conservation of natural and cultural resources, and responsible energy development.

DOI has extensive scientific and management expertise in the Arctic. More than 20% of all DOI-managed land is in the Arctic region, and DOI manages 62% of all U.S. Arctic lands, by area. DOI is the parent agency of 10 federal bureaus, seven of which have significant responsibilities in the Arctic. These seven bureaus include the following:

  • Bureau of Indian Affairs: The Bureau of Indian Affairs Alaska Region provides assistance to the 229 Federally Recognized Tribes in Alaska to support Tribal government, self- determination, quality of life, and economic opportunity, and to carry out the responsibility to protect and improve the trust assets of Alaska Natives. In Alaska, Bureau of Indian Affairs direct assistance to the 229 Federally Recognized Tribes often supports the Tribes' efforts to maintain cultural identity, sovereignty, unique relationship to the land, and subsistence hunting and fishing activities.
  • Bureau of Land Management: The Bureau of Land Management is charged with managing lands to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of present and future generations. The Bureau of Land Management manages 23.1 million acres of public lands north of the Brooks Range, which includes the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, the largest contiguous block of federal land managed by a single agency. This area provides important habitat for migratory birds and caribou, access for subsistence hunting and fishing for rural residents, and oil and gas exploration and development activities.
  • Bureau of Ocean Energy Management: The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management manages the development of energy and mineral resources of the 485 million acres of Alaska’s outer continental shelf and conducts research to support management decisions.
  • Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement: The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement works to promote safety, protect the environment, and conserve resources offshore through vigorous regulatory oversight and enforcement.
  • National Park Service: The National Park Service manages several protected areas in the Arctic, including the Gates of the Arctic, the second largest national park; and administers the Beringia National Heritage Program, which seeks to preserve the heritage of the Indigenous peoples along the Bering Strait.   
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service  manages 16 national wildlife refuges in Alaska, including the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. It conducts research and coordinates partnerships in support of fish and wildlife conservation.
  • U.S. Geological Survey: The U.S. Geological Survey is a non-regulatory science agency that engages in extensive research in the Arctic relating to Earth sciences, ecosystem services, resource assessments, geospatial mapping, and hazards.

All seven of these bureaus produce important science and information about the Arctic. DOI bureaus are and have been actively involved at all levels of the Interagency Arctic Research Policy Committee (IARPC), a mandated body under the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC). This representation includes a DOI IARPC principal and a DOI IARPC staff group member. Eight DOI scientists co-chair half of the 12 different IARPC collaboration teams. Additional bureau scientists and managers are members of IARPC working groups and actively participate in gathering and providing input to implement the U.S. Arctic research policy.

Several DOI representatives are co-authors of the current mandated IARPC five-year plan and have launched initiatives that leveraged DOI resources with those of other IARPC agencies to advance our understanding of the Arctic system in support of U.S. Arctic research policy.

Where would one go to find out what research is being funded by DOI in the Arctic?

Visit the Alaska regional website for each DOI bureau (provided in the sidebar menu). For the U.S. Geological Survey, the Annual Science Report identifies core activities in Alaska.

Where would one go to read about scientific research results from DOI?

Publications relevant to Alaska can be browsed on the U.S. Geological Survey website.

In terms of budget, approximately how big is DOI's investment in Arctic research?

The U.S. Geological Survey investment is ~$30M per year.

What are DOI's funding priorities over the next two years?

Improve Alaska geospatial data collection, mapping, modeling and visualization tools; research ecosystem structure and monitor changes to inform decisions about natural resource management; produce information and assessments about mineral and energy resources; monitor and assess Alaska’s natural hazards to improve public safety and reduce risk of economic loss; address water resource management challenges.

How does DOI coordinate and collaborate with other agencies to advance your mission in the Arctic?

Through engagement in a wide variety of multilateral institutions and advisory boards, such as: Arctic Council working groups, IARPC, North Slope Science Initiative, North Pacific Research Board, Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy, Alaska Ocean Observing System, Alaska Sea Grant, Study of Environmental Arctic Change (SEARCH), etc.

Activities in Alaska

Does DOI have office(s) in Alaska?

Yes, all DOI bureaus have regional offices in Alaska.

Do those offices support research?

Yes.

Where can one go to learn more about DOI's presence in Alaska?

See the bureau websites on the right-hand sidebar (or below if you are on mobile).

Contacts

Dee Williams, PhD
USGS Deputy Regional Director 
Anchorage, Alaska
dmwilliams@usgs.gov

John Pearce
Supervisory Wildlife Biologist
Manager, Wetland and Terrestrial Ecosystems Office
U.S.Geological Survey, Alaska Science Center
jpearce@usgs.gov

Wendy Loya
Arctic Program Coordinator
Office of Science Applications, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
wendy_loya@fws.gov

Nicole Hayes
Branch Chief, Renewable Resources
Bureau of Land Management, Alaska State Office
mnhayes@blm.gov

Links

Bureau Websites

Other DOI Bureau Websites

IARPC Collaborations DOI Links

IARPC Collaborations BOEM Links

IARPC Collaborations USGS Links

IARPC Collaborations NPS Links