United States Department of the Interior (DOI)

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A organizational summary by the ENVS 560/L Watershed Systems class at CSUMB.

This page is an introduction to the United States Department of the Interior with specific emphasis on California's Central Coast region.


The United States Department of the Interior is a federal executive department of the United States government. In the California Central Coast Region, the United States Department of the Interior plays a part in environmental management, as well as creating more access to public lands, enhance public stewardship, increasing recreational opportunities nationwide, and restoring full collaboration and coordination with local communities [1].


The mission of the DOI is to conserve and manage the nation's "natural resources and cultural heritage for the benefit and enjoyment of the American people" [2]. The DOI also "provides scientific and other information about natural resources and natural hazards to address societal challenges and create opportunities for the American people, and honors the Nation’s trust responsibilities or special commitments to American Indians, Alaska Natives, and affiliated island communities to help them prosper" [3].

Legal Status/Authority

The United States Department of the Interior was created on March 3, 1849, to take charge of the United State's internal affairs, which included constructing the nation's water system and the exploration of the western wilderness [4]. It manages 75% of federal public lands all throughout the nation.

Governance and Organizational Structure

The United States Department of the Interior is administered by the United States Secretary of the Interior. The Secretary is a member of the president's cabinet and must be approved by the United States Senate. The Secretary oversees Assistant secretaries who are in charge of managing America's natural and cultural resources [5]. The following secretaries oversee a total of eleven bureaus:

Additionally, the Department of the Interior has seven offices.

  • Office of the Secretary
  • Office of Policy, Management and Budget (PMB)
  • Office of the Solicitor
  • Office of the Inspector General
  • Office of the Special Trustee for American Indians
  • Office of Subsistence Management [7].

Each office is located in Washington DC and manages regional offices.


The Department of the Interior is responsible for managing federal land. The land is divided into 12 regions, which are primarily based on watersheds and state lines for practical reasons. The twelve regions are:

  • 1. North Appalachian-Atlantic
  • 2. South Atlantic-Gulf (Includes Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands)
  • 3. Great Lakes
  • 4. Mississippi Basin
  • 5. Missouri Basin
  • 6. Arkansas-Rio Grande-Texas-Gulf
  • 7. Upper Colorado Basin
  • 8. Lower Colorado Basin
  • 9. Columbia-Pacific Northwest
  • 10. California-Great Basin
  • 11. Alaska
  • 12. Pacific Islands (American Samoa, Hawaii. Guam, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands) [8].

The Central Coast of California is part of Region 10: the California- Great Basin Region. The office for this region is located in Sacramento. Although there are twelve regions, there are only 7 regional offices. The Sacramento office has jurisdiction in California, Nevada, Arizona, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, the Federated States of Micronesia, Guam, the Republic of Palau, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands [9].

Central Coast Context

The US Bureau of Land Management Central Coast Field Office is in charge of administering about 284,000 acres of public land north of Fort Hunter Liggett, South of the San Francisco Bay, and west of the Central Valley [10][11]. The office is located in Marina, California. The US Bureau of Land Management Central Coast Field Office maintains the California Coastal National Monument (CCNM), Fort Ord National Monument (FONM), Clear Creek Management Area (CCMA), Condon Peak, Panoche Hills, Tumey Hills, Griswold Hills, Coalinga Mineral Springs, and other recreation areas outside the Central Coast. The United States Department of the Interior and the United States Bureau of Land Management (BLM) also enforce the Central Coast Heritage Protection Act.

The National Park Service (NPS) manages a wide variety of lands in the California Central Coast Region in four categories including National Parks, National Recreation Areas, National Monuments, and National Heritage Areas. They also have significant influence over National Historic Areas and federal lands given to the state via the Federal Lands to Parks Program.

The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) helps coordinate with many local organizations and partners on wildlife management projects such as those for the California Condor or California Tiger Salamander including issuing permits under the Endangered Species Act. This organization also manages the National Wildlife Refuge System which has two refuges on the Central Coast.

Related links


  1. https://www.doi.gov/ocl/hr-2199
  2. https://www.doi.gov/about
  3. https://www.doi.gov/about
  4. https://www.doi.gov/whoweare/history/
  5. https://www.doi.gov/bureaus
  6. https://www.doi.gov/bureaus
  7. https://www.doi.gov/bureaus/offices
  8. https://www.doi.gov/employees/reorg/unified-regional-boundaries#main-content
  9. https://www.doi.gov/oepc/regional-offices
  10. https://www.blm.gov/office/central-coast-field-office
  11. https://blm-egis.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=2dd6e77d80e544a393afb31cb58c4aa6&marker=-121.80846437636833%2C36.668052777910475%2C%2C%2C%2C&markertemplate=%7B%22title%22%3A%22%22%2C%22longitude%22%3A-121.80846437636833%2C%22latitude%22%3A36.668052777910475%2C%22isIncludeShareUrl%22%3Atrue%7D&level=9


This page may contain student work completed as part of assigned coursework. It may not be accurate. It does not necessary reflect the opinion or policy of CSUMB, its staff, or students.