Biden-Harris Administration invests $65M from Bipartisan Infrastructure Law in clean water, roads, trails improvement
Today, the Biden-Harris Administration announced more than $65 million of investments to help the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service improve water quality, roads, trails and fish habitat nationwide.
Made possible by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, today is the first round of a $25.5 million investment over five years through the new Collaborative Aquatic Landscape Restoration Program and more than $40 million for Fiscal Year 2022 projects for the already successful Legacy Roads and Trails Program. The investments being announced will support projects that serve rural community needs, create jobs, and improve access to national forests and grasslands.
“President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law has given us a remarkable opportunity to restore and improve waterways across the whole landscape,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “The investments we’re making here ensure communities have clean drinking water and the improved fish habitats that rural areas rely on for subsistence and strong recreation economies.”
The Collaborative Aquatic Landscape Restoration Program follows Secretary Vilsack’s recent direction to the Forest Service to take bold action to restore forests, make them more resilient to drought, wildfire, insects, disease, and to address the climate crisis. In addition to improving water quality, the 89 projects announced today will reduce sedimentation into streams and restore functioning floodplains across tribal, state and federally managed public lands.
The Legacy Roads and Trails Program funds projects, along with other restoration and infrastructure work, to improve water quality and aquatic habitat while making transportation systems safer, more sustainable and more durable. The 120 projects being announced today aim to address critical road issues in real time by delivering funds where they are needed most. In addition to improving roads and trails for communities, business and recreation, the Legacy Roads and Trails program creates jobs for contractors, including those who specialize in stream restoration, environmental design, and heavy equipment operations.
Since 2008, the Legacy Roads and Trails program maintained and storm proofed more than 18,000 miles of roads, replaced more than a thousand culverts for fish habitat, restored nearly 17,000 miles of streams and decommissioned more than 7,000 miles of roads to improve fish habitat and reduce pollution. Projects also built or repaired 137 bridges and repaired more than 5,000 miles of trails while creating between 700 and 1,100 jobs each year and reducing annual maintenance costs for project areas by $3.5 million.
“For decades, our forests lacked sufficient maintenance investments due to the escalating cost of climate change driven wildfires and other natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes and flooding,” said Forest Service Chief Randy Moore. “The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is investing billions to improve our national forests and our public facilities for all to enjoy. The Biden Administration’s investments are helping to address our most critical needs so we can better steward the national forests and grasslands that provide so many public benefits.”
Details are available at the Collaborative Aquatic Landscape Restoration Program and Legacy Roads and Trails Program websites.