Ever since Watt and his cohorts took up residence, there have been marked changes in the decor of the agency's imposing New Deal-era building.

Watt made the first change by placing a mounted, stuffed fox in his ceremonial meeting room. The fox, a gift from an outdoorsmen'sgroup, was intended as a joke because environmentalists have taken to calling Watt "a fox guarding the chicken coop."

G. Ray Arnett, the avid hunter who presides over programs for fish, wildlife and parks, has also added his personal touch to the full-color photographs displayed in the lobby outside his office. In the past, misty pictures of wild animals and inspirational scenes from national parks have dominated. Now Arnett alternates these with photos paying homage to hunters.

There were a few winces last month when the display featured a back-lit photograph of two women hunters, rifles propped at their sides, and several dead water fowl lined up in the foreground. Some employes found this inappropriate for an agency that protects fish and wildlife, but Arnett's aides said it was intended to show that Interior believes in the "wise use" of public lands, as well as land protection.

The picture also illustrated some of the hunter safety practices preached by Arnett, they said. (The women sported blaze-orange vests to make them stand out amid the foliage, and their rifles were adjusted to ensure safety).

Over at the Office of Surface Mining, a small poster was mounted this week as testament to the battering that young division has taken from environmentalists, who charge that the office is turning over too much of its regulatory power to the states, and doing it too fast. OSM officials insist that they carry out a painstaking review of each state's strip-mining enforcement program before transferring these powers. Nonetheless, a sign was posted in the corridor there this week: "State programs approved while you wait."

Asked about the sign, an official chuckled and said: "It's just a gag--an inside joke, you know."