Select Page

US Department of the Interior announces nearly $7 million to advance climate resilience and restoration in US territories

by | Feb 6, 2024 | American Samoa, Federal Government, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, Science and Environment, United States Virgin Islands | 0 comments

The United States Department of the Interior announced nearly $7 million from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda to advance climate resilience and restore lands and waters through impactful ecosystem restoration work in the US territories.  

A $3.9 million investment from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will support programs and projects in American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, the US Virgin Islands, and Guam to advance biosecurity efforts, restore coastal areas and flora ecosystems, and support the eradication of invasive species. Another $3 million from the Inflation Reduction Act will help Puerto Rico in combatting climate change.  

“The US territories are an integral part of the fabric of America,” said Secretary Deb Haaland. “As the Department stewards new investments from the President’s Investing in America agenda, we are working closely with our territorial partners to ensure they make the largest impact and reach as many communities as possible – particularly as these communities increasingly face the acute impacts of the climate crisis on their communities and ecosystems.”

“President Biden’s Investing in America agenda provides funding for transformational investments in our nation’s infrastructure—and that extends to our partners in the US territories,” said Assistant Secretary for Insular and International Affairs Carmen G. Cantor. “The Office of Insular Affairs is committed to supporting these critical investments in the territories and supporting resilient physical and natural infrastructure.”

The announcement helps advance the Department of the Interior’s Restoration and Resilience Framework, a plan to leverage historic investments in climate and conservation to achieve landscape-level outcomes across the nation—including through a commitment to building resilient islands. Through the Investing in America agenda, the department is implementing more than $2 billion to restore the nation’s lands and waters and build climate resilience.  

Projects and programs announced funded through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law include:

  • $1,799,000 to American Samoa to support the development of the first biosecurity plan and biosecurity efforts, restoration of coastal areas in locations affected by sand and coral mining, coral reef restoration, and outreach efforts, and the revegetation of degraded wetland mangrove forest zones with native mangroves and other native trees. 
  • $975,000 to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands to support the restoration of flora ecosystems, assess inactive quarries, explore restoration and reclamation of those quarries, and support invasive species efforts throughout the territory. 
  • $971,000 to the US Virgin Islands to support the development of early detection and rapid response framework of invasive species and support surveys of plant communities that connect northern and southern shorelines across St. Croix, St. Thomas, and St. John. 
  • $154,000 to Guam for the participation of territorial representatives from American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the US Virgin Islands in the 2023 Regional Biosecurity Training in Guam hosted by the Department’s Office of Insular Affairs (OIA) for the Caribbean and Pacific regions. 

Projects funded through the Inflation Reduction Act include:

  • $2,750,000 for the US Geological Survey to help address workforce capacity challenges and increase the climate expertise of Puerto Rico’s Department of Natural and Environmental Resources (DNER). Funds will be used to develop Puerto Rico’s climate workforce through trainings, fellowships, and practicum opportunities for recent graduates and to allow DNER employees to receive advanced degrees focused on climate adaptation. 
  • $250,000 for the US Fish and Wildlife Service to continue implementation of the National Seed Strategy in Puerto Rico. Investments will put seed collecting teams on the ground in Puerto Rico and invest in seed production in order to ensure an adequate supply of native seeds that can restore ecosystems degraded by fires, hurricanes, drought, and other natural disasters. 

This funding also advances the President’s Justice40 Initiative, which set a goal to deliver 40% of the overall benefits of certain federal investments to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized by underinvestment and overburdened by pollution.

The Inflation Reduction Act provided the Office of Insular Affairs with $15 million to support climate change planning, mitigation, adaptation, and resilience for the US territories of American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, the US Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. Other funding was announced last year.  



William-Jose Velez Gonzalez

William-Jose Velez Gonzalez

William-José Vélez González is a native from Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, and a graduate from Florida International University in biomedical engineering, engineering management, and international relations. A designer with a strong interest in science, policy, and innovation, he previously served as the national executive vice president of the Puerto Rico Statehood Students Association. William-José lives in Washington, DC, where he works at the Children's National Research Institute and runs Opsin, a nonprofit design studio dedicated to making design more accessible. You can see him on Love is Blind as Lydia's brother. He is the founder and Editor in Chief of Pasquines.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.