On 9 November 2009, the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS) asked Secretary of the Interior Salazar to elevate the profile of science in the new Department of the Interiors (DOI) 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 11 September 2009, 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.

In the proposed framework, many of the priorities of the Obama Administration were addressed as priority mission areas. However, “science” was only a second tier priority, included in the larger mission areas of “protecting natural, cultural and heritage resources,” and “sustainably using energy, water and natural resources.”

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.

The complete AIBS comments are available at http://www.aibs.org/position-statements/20091109_DOIcomments.html.


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