Congress dedicates more money for aging forest roads


Congress has doubled the amount of money that will be spent on repairing and retiring old roads that damage water quality in Northwest forests.

Environmental groups and regulatory agencies have been advocating for a reduction in the U.S. Forest Service's massive network for roads, which are a legacy of the extensive logging that took place in federal forests over the course of the 20th century.

The agency has been hard-pressed to find money to maintain those roads, which can damage salmon-bearing streams by increasing the amount of mud and other materials that runs into them when it rains.

"The most encouraging sign is that we are beginning to see a long-term funding plan to address this decades-old problem," said Sue Gunn of Wildlands CPR, the director of the Washington Watershed Restoration Initiative coalition.