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Enhancing U.S. forests and waters - A $66M initiative

By Farms.com

In a significant move to bolster the nation's environmental infrastructure, the USDA has announced an investment nearing $66 million. This initiative falls under the Administrator Investing in America agenda, targeting the refurbishment and enhancement of national forests and grasslands. The investment will fund over 100 projects in 24 states and the District of Columbia, as enabled by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack highlighted that this funding would ensure the continued enjoyment and access to clean water and recreation facilities, fostering resilience in transportation infrastructure within and surrounding national forests and grasslands. The effort will address critical maintenance for a vast network of trails, roads, and bridges and improve conditions for fish habitat and water quality.

The investment notably supports the maintenance of an extensive infrastructure that includes over 160,000 miles of trails and numerous bridges, crucial for both recreational use and ecological resilience. National forests and grasslands are pivotal in providing clean drinking water to approximately 80 million Americans, emphasizing the importance of this initiative in supporting healthy watersheds and communities.

Two key programs benefiting from this funding are the Legacy Roads and Trails Program and the Collaborative Aquatic Restoration Program. With $37.5 million allocated to the former and $28.1 million to the latter, these programs are designed to enhance water quality, restore habitats, and ensure sustainable access to these natural resources.

The announcement reflects a commitment to combating the challenges posed by climate change through improved infrastructure and ecological stewardship. Forest Service Chief Randy Moore pointed out the significance of addressing the impacts of extreme climate events on roads and trails to preserve access and water quality in emergencies.


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