The Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act (also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law or BIL), signed into law by President Joe Biden on November 15, 2021, has made historic investments in American infrastructure. The various US Department of the Interior (DOI) grant programs for land management and environmental resilience have received significant new financial support under BIL. New resources that the DOI received through the BIL include:
- The law provides $8.3 billion for water and drought resilience. BIL’s investments will fund water efficiency and recycling programs, rural water projects, WaterSMART grants and dam security to ensure irrigation companies, tribes and neighboring communities receive appropriate help and support.
- The law provides $1.5 billion for wildfire prevention. These funds will be specifically invested in forest restoration, hazardous fuel management and forest fire recovery after wildfires in America’s national parks, forest/grasslands and federal fire departments.
- The law provides $1.4 billion for ecosystem restoration and resilience, including funding for management contracts, ecosystem restoration projects, invasive species detection and prevention, and native vegetation restoration efforts.
- The law earmarks $466 million for tribal climate resilience and infrastructure. These funds will invest in projects including climate adaptation planning, marine and coastal management planning, capacity building and resettlement, managed disengagement and climate risk mitigation planning. They will also help fund the construction, repair, improvement and maintenance of irrigation and power systems, dam safety, water disposal and other facilities in tribal communities.
- The law provides $16 billion to clean up legacy assets, such as: B. Plugging abandoned wells and reclamation of abandoned mine land, which will help communities eliminate hazardous conditions and pollution caused by past coal mining.
- The law provides $2.5 billion for Indian water rights regulations.
A full list of pending funding announcements for DOI’s fellowship programs is below. These programs typically fall into several distinct categories that often repeat from state to state, including:
- forest and forest resource management
- Plant Protection and Restoration Management
- Cultural and paleontological resource management
- Fisheries and management of aquatic resources
- Invasive and noxious plant management
- Threatened and endangered species
- Management of wildlife resources
- Fuel management and firefighting support in the community
The DOI awards funds primarily in the form of grants. However, the DOI’s Bureau of Indian Affairs also makes loans through its Indian Loan Guarantee and Insurance Program (IGLP) and Indian Loans Economic Development Program.
Bureau of Indian Affairs – Department of Investments, Indian Loan Guarantee and Insurance Scheme
Through the Indian Loan Guarantee and Insurance Program (ILGP), the Capital Investments Division of the Bureau of Indian Affairs helps Native American and Alaskan Native (AI/AN) tribes and individuals obtain reasonable interest rates on business loans.
Economic Development of Indian Credit
This program assists federally recognized Native American tribal governments, Native American organizations and individual American Indians in raising funds from private sources to support business development initiatives to improve the economy of federally recognized Indian reservations. However, no funds appear to be available for this program at the moment.
*Faegre Drinker Policy Assistant Andrew Bryant contributed to this article.