This week, the U.S House of Representatives introduced the Moving Forward Act, a bill designed to improve green infrastructure and reduce climate impacts. The Moving Forward Act includes legislation introduced by U.S. Representatives Kim Schrier (WA-08) and Derek Kilmer (WA-06), who have played an important leadership role on this issue. This much-needed program will address aging and obsolete Forest Service transportation infrastructure to improve fish migration, water quality, imperiled species habitat, and future resilience to storms.
In 2019, the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) Legacy Roads and Trails (LRT) Program was virtually eliminated by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, removing a decade-old dedicated budget line item for this important work. This Forest Service Program – started in 2008 – is a widely popular, bi-partisan conservation program that funds USFS watershed restoration work including urgently needed road decommissioning, road and trail repair and maintenance, and removal of fish passage barriers.
The program emphasizes areas where Forest Service roads may be contributing to water quality problems in streams and water bodies that support threatened, endangered, and sensitive species or community water sources.
As part of a Press Release issued by Rep. Shrier, Washington Wild Executive Director Tom Uniack said, “Having seen the positive results in Washington State, Representatives Kilmer and Schrier understand why this program is so critical for forests across the country. We thank them for taking a leadership role in Congress supporting clean water, salmon habitat, recreational access, and local jobs.” You can read the whole Press Release here.
Earlier this year, Washington Wild coordinated a letter signed by 58 local conservation, recreation, and wildlife groups, businesses, as well as a bipartisan group of elected officials calling on Congress to reinstate and fund the Legacy Roads and Trails program in the FY21 appropriation bill.