Department of the Interior
The Department of the Interior () 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. 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.
has extensive scientific and management expertise in the Arctic. More than 20% of all -managed land is in the Arctic region, and manages 62% of all U.S. Arctic lands, by area. 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. bureaus are and have been actively involved at all levels of the Interagency Arctic Research Policy Committee (), a mandated body under the National Science and Technology Council (). This representation includes a Principal and a Staff Group member. scientists routinely co-chair priority action teams and many of the collaboration teams and communities of practice. Additional bureau scientists and managers are members of working groups and actively participate in gathering and providing input to implement the U.S. Arctic research policy.
Several representatives are co-authors of the current mandated five-year plan and have launched initiatives that leveraged resources with those of other 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 in the Arctic?
Visit the Alaska regional website for each bureau (provided in the sidebar menu). For the U.S. Geological Survey, the latest Biennial Science Report identifies core activities in Alaska.
Where would one go to read about scientific research results from ?
Publications relevant to Alaska can be browsed on the U.S. Geological Survey website. You can also browse current -funded Arctic environmental studies and completed studies.
In terms of budget, approximately how big is 's investment in Arctic research?
The U.S. Geological Survey investment is ~$30M per year. -funded studies in the Arctic are currently ~$15 million.
What are '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
- Assess and model changes in abundance, distribution, and harvest of select marine mammals and fishes that are food sources in rural Alaska
- Carry out and synthesize research and monitoring needed to improve understanding of important Arctic ecosystem processes and feedbacks
How does 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, , Arctic Observing Network, North Pacific Research Board, Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy, Alaska Ocean Observing System, Alaska Sea Grant, Study of Environmental Arctic Change (), etc.
Activities in Alaska
Does have office(s) in Alaska?
Yes, all seven bureaus have regional offices in Alaska.
Do those offices support research?
Where can one go to learn more about 's presence in Alaska?
See the bureau websites on the right-hand sidebar (or below if you are on mobile).