Biden-Harris Administration Invests $65M in Clean Water, Roads, and Trails
The Biden-Harris Administration committed more than $65 million in investments to help the USDA Forest Service improve water quality, roads, trails, and fish habitats across the country.
The first round of a $25.5 million investment over five years through the new Collaborative Aquatic Landscape Restoration Programme and more than $40 million for the Fiscal Year 2022 projects for the already successful Legacy Roads and Trails Programme, made possible by President Biden's Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The announced investments will support initiatives that meet the needs of rural communities, create jobs, and increase access to national forests and grasslands.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said:
"President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law has given us a remarkable opportunity to restore and improve waterways across the whole landscape. 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 Programme is in response to Secretary Vilsack's recent directive to the Forest Service to take decisive action to restore forests and make them more resilient to drought, wildfire, insects, and disease, as well as to address the climate catastrophe.
In addition to enhancing water quality, the 89 projects announced recently will reduce sedimentation in streams and restore functioning floodplains throughout tribal, state, and federally administered public lands.
The Legacy Roads and Trails Programme supports projects that improve water quality and aquatic habitats while also making transportation networks safer, more sustainable, and more durable. The 120 projects unveiled aim to address significant road issues in real-time by directing funds to the most vulnerable areas.
The Legacy Roads and Trails initiative offers jobs for contractors, including those who specialise in stream restoration, environmental design, and heavy equipment operations, in addition to upgrading roads and trails for communities, businesses, and recreation.
Forest Service Chief Randy Moore said:
"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. 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.”
The USDA positively affects Americans every day. Under the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America's food system with a greater focus on resilient local and regional food production, ensuring access to healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate, smart food and forestry practices, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America.