Roads are widely recognized as a risk to aquatic ecosystems on federal lands nationwide. Road restoration has been specifically identified in the Northwest Forest Plan and other recent federal policies as a high priority for aquatic conservation on federal lands, including those in Oregon. Although this work has progressed in some National Forests and BLM districts, only a fraction of the road restoration work identified to date has been accomplished – primarily due to lack of resources. In fact, across the United States the Forest Service has an immense deferred maintenance backlog in the billions.
PRC partnered with 11 other NGOs, the Washington State Department of Ecology, and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to educate policymakers about the need to stormproof our federal road systems to accomplish real watershed restoration, with the goal of increasing funding in 2008 and beyond for targeted road-related watershed restoration. We met with agency staff, submitted testimony, and worked to promote media coverage of the issue.
All of our work paid off in December 2007, when Congress passed an appropriations bill that included $39.4 million for urgently needed watershed restoration on National Forest lands.
This money is being spent in areas where decaying US Forest Service roads contribute to water quality problems, especially to areas that support threatened or endangered species, like salmon and steelhead, and provide clean drinking water for communities.
PRC is now working for continued funding. Click here to read more about our work as part of the Washington Watersheds Initiative to increase funding for federal forests in Washington State and our work to increase funding throughout the Northwest.