Today the U.S. House of Representatives passed the “Moving Forward Act” (H.R.2) designed to improve green infrastructure and reduce climate impacts. The Act includes a provision called the “The Forest Service Legacy Roads and Trails Remediation Program.” Incorporated from legislation previously introduced by U.S. Representatives Kim Schrier (WA-08) and Derek Kilmer (WA-06), 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.
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.