The main threat to water quality in many national forests is the Forest Service’s vast and crumbling road system, an environmentally-harmful vestige of the agency’s industrial logging era.
With The Wilderness Society’s strong support, Congress has stepped forward with new funding to address the problem, including $90 million in the Forest Service’s FY 2010 budget for urgent road decommissioning and repairs.
Since creating the Legacy Roads and trails Remediation Initiative three years ago, Congress has appropriated $179.4 million for this work. This funding source will create or retain green jobs protecting water quality and enhancing wildlife habitat by obliterating unnecessary old roads, performing critical maintenance on important roads, and maintaining culverts. With so many excess old logging roads, determining which ones receive maintenance funding can be difficult. Funds can also be used to perform the travel analysis necessary to determine which routes are unneeded, and the environmental review that is required before such work can begin.
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