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Acting Deputy Secretary of the Interior Daniel-Davis participated in a roundtable at the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras, to discuss climate resilience and ecosystem restoration. The roundtable was organized and hosted by SE CASC director, Dr. Katherine Smith, and St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center Research Physical Scientist, Dr. Legna Torres-Garcia. 

Three women sit at a cloth-covered table with a large screen and a red banner behind them.
Acting Deputy Secretary of the Interior, Laura Daniel-Davis, Southeast Climate Adaptation Science Center director Katherine Smith, and Research Physical Scientist Legna Torres Garcia during the roundtable of the Puerto Rico Climate Research and Workforce initiative at the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras.

Acting Deputy Secretary of the Interior Daniel-Davis visited the University of Puerto Rico (UPR), Rio Piedras, to announce a $2.75 million investment in Inflation Reduction Act funding from the DOI Office of Insular Affairs to address research needs identified in the PR Climate Action Plan and to develop Puerto Rico’s climate workforce. This project, managed by the Southeast Climate Adaptation Science Center (SE CASC), will address research needs identified in the PR Climate Action Plan through the development of a graduate cohort of traditional students and employees from the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources (PR-DNER). 

The visit included a roundtable where representatives from the PR DNER and the UPR Rio Piedra's leadership, professors, early career, and students had the opportunity to talk about their current work as well as their trajectories as students in Puerto Rico. USGS scientist Dr. Legna Torres-Garcia spoke about current projects in Puerto Rico funded by the Disaster Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2023, and the SE CASC director, Dr Katherine Smith, shared current research opportunities open to the UPR Rio Piedras as a new member of the SE CASC consortium. The USGS is leveraging local expertise by expanding upon existing partnerships with Puerto Rico to develop capacity to provide hazard and risk information to reduce impacts from hazards to lives and property, roads, utilities, and other infrastructure.

For more information, visit:

Acting Deputy Secretary Daniel-Davis Highlights President’s Investing in America Agenda in Puerto Rico (; 

This Week at Interior, April 12, 2024

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