consists of maps, databases, and descriptions and analyses of the water, energy, and mineral resources, land surface, underlying geologic structure, and dynamic processes of the earth.


Creation and Authority

On March 3, 1849, the last day of the 30th Congress, a bill was passed to create the Department of the Interior to take charge of the nation’s internal affairs. The DOI is now the nation’s principal Federal conservation agency. It manages many of the nation’s special natural, cultural, and historic places, conserves lands and waters, protects cultural legacies, and keeps the nation’s history alive. Interior manages parks, refuges, public lands and recreation areas for public enjoyment, provides access to many of the nation’s natural resources, increases scientific knowledge, and fulfills America’s trust and other responsibilities to native peoples. Interior also provides hydropower to the Western States. It delivers water to over 31 million citizens through management of 479 dams and 348 reservoirs.2


The U.S. Department of the Interior protects and manages the nation’s natural resources and cultural heritage; provides scientific and other information about those resources; and honors its trust responsibilities or special commitments to American Indians, Alaska Natives, and affiliated Island Communities.


2 See

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