Interior Department announces new actions in support of nature-based solutions

Date: Monday, December 11, 2023

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — The Department of the Interior today announced new steps to utilize nature-based solutions in its efforts to tackle the climate crisis, including the launch of a new tool to make those strategies more accessible to the public. The announcement comes as Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks Shannon Estenoz wraps up her trip to the 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28) in Dubai, where she highlighted nature-based solutions as key to improving the resilience of our lands, waters, wildlife and communities in the face of climate change.

“Climate change is driving rapid changes in both the natural and built environments, underscored by the growing number of extreme weather events at home and across the world,” said Secretary Deb Haaland. “The Interior Department is committed to tackling the climate crisis through nature-based solutions that will preserve biodiversity, strengthen resilience against disasters, and support climate adaptation while benefitting both people and nature.”

“Investing in nature is investing in ourselves. By employing nature-based solutions, land managers and decision makers can restore and sustain healthy ecosystems that in turn support healthy communities and economies,” said Assistant Secretary Estenoz.

Nature-based solutions use or mimic natural features or processes to improve biodiversity, strengthen resilience for disaster and hazard-risk management, support climate adaptation, and address carbon management to offset greenhouse gas emissions, while also benefitting both people and nature. These can include green infrastructure, natural infrastructure, and natural climate solutions.

In partnership with Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Energy, Environment & Sustainability, the Department released its Nature-based Solutions Roadmap, an online tool that will provide the Department, and the public at large, guidance on the implementation of nature-based solutions. The Roadmap includes implementation strategies, project planning resources, and successful example projects throughout the United States.

The Department today also announced a new policy that will strengthen the Department’s ability to meet its mission in the face of a changing climate by prioritizing nature-based solutions across bureaus and offices. The policy will provide land managers and decision makers with guidance on using nature-based climate solutions, and will center collaborative partnerships, equity, environmental justice, and the use of the best available evidence. This new policy compliments the announcement in September 2023 of new policies to strengthen climate adaptation and resilience efforts, including the first-ever effort to factor the climate crisis into all operations.

The Department is prioritizing high return nature-based investments that connect lands and waters, promote cross-bureau collaboration, and leverage partnerships. By implementing these innovative strategies, our efforts also aim to ensure climate security, improve equity and address environmental justice, incorporate Indigenous Knowledge into decision making, and apply evidence-based scientific approaches to predict, monitor, and assess implementation effectiveness.

Today’s announcements support President Biden’s Executive Order on Strengthening the Nation’s Forests, Communities, and Local Economies, which directs the federal government to accelerate the use of solutions that are grounded in nature. The Biden-Harris administration released an interagency National Nature-based Solutions Roadmap at COP27 in Egypt last year which called for five strategic areas for action, including updating policies to accelerate nature-based solutions, unlocking funding, leading with federal assets, train the workforce, and prioritize research and innovation.


Read the article on the Interior Department website here.

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