November 9, 2009


Biologists Recommend Interior Make Science a Core Mission

FOR RELEASE, November 9, 2009

WASHINGTON, DC - The American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS) has asked Secretary of the Interior Salazar to elevate the profile of science in the new Department of the Interior strategic plan, which will guide Interior through 2015. The recommendation was provided in response to a request for information to inform the development of the Department's Strategic Plan Framework.

On September 11, 2009, the United States Department of the Interior (DOI) issued a Federal Register Notice requesting public comments on its Strategic Plan. Each bureau within DOI is expected to integrate operational plans into their budgets that link directly to and align with the larger DOI Strategic Plan.

Secretary Salazar has requested that the Plan reflect the priorities of the Obama Administration, including (1) achieving greater energy independence and promoting the development of clean alternative energy sources, (2) protecting treasured landscapes, (3) addressing the issue of global climate change, (4) meeting commitments to Native Americans and Alaska Natives, (5) addressing critical water issues, (6) creating opportunities for youth in the outdoors, and (7) insuring the integrity of science in support of Interior's decision making.

In the proposed framework, many of these issues were addressed as priority mission areas. However, "science" was only a second tier priority, included in the mission areas of "protecting natural, cultural and heritage resources," and "sustainably using energy, water and natural resources." In comments provided to the Department today, AIBS recommended that science be elevated to its own priority mission area.

"Science fuels innovation and supports decision-making across the Department of the Interior," said Dr. Robert Gropp, AIBS Director of Public Policy. "Scientific research and environmental monitoring conducted by the USG S and Fish and Wildlife Service, among others, benefit the lives of every American, every day. Because of this, science needs to be treated as a department-wide mission area priority," said Gropp.

The comments recommend that DOI consider how science can inform natural resource management decisions, help prepare for climate change, and aid in the development of the natural resource management workforce. The new strategic plan should also prioritize the preservation and development of scientific collections held by Interior bureaus. Additionally, the plan should incorporate recommendations from recent National Science Foundation and National Research Council reports on 21st century science.

To read the comments, please visit Comments-DOI-Strategic-Plan.pdf.

To view the DOI Strategic Plan Framework, please click here.

Read more AIBS Position Statements

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