Interior Department to Implement New ‘Unified Regions’ in Reorganization Effort

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced on Wednesday his plan to create 12 new unified regions as part of the Interior Department’s efforts to reorganize its structure and simplify operations, Federal News Radio reported.

Currently, the DOI’s bureaus organize the country into multiple administrative regions differently, resulting in a total of 49 regional subdivisions. These regional subdivisions often overlap.

Under Zinke’s reorganization, all of the DOI’s bureaus, except for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Indian Education and the Office of the Special Trustee for American Indians, will have the same 12 regions.

These regions were determined based on “the best science” with a focus on “watersheds and ecosystems,” Zinke said in a message sent to department’s staff.

The secretary stated the unified regions would reduce bureaucratic redundancies, improve communications between field agents and political leaders, and bring about other benefits.

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The DOI chief added that the unified regions will be implemented in the upcoming months, and that the implementation “will be a thoughtful, Department-wide effort driven by leadership and employees in the field.”

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