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Washington Watershed Restoration Initiative
There are over three times as many USDA Forest Service roads as state highways in our state. Lack of Forest Service funds for maintenance and improvements has led to a crumbling road network. Deteriorating, unmaintained and poorly located forest roads add sediment-laden runoff into streams, changing stream flow dynamics and harming dwindling runs of threatened and endangered salmon that need cold, clear water to thrive and reproduce. Sediment decreases drinking water quality and increases the need for expensive community water filtration systems. Two-thirds of the runoff from problem roads drain into an already ailing Puget Sound.
The Washington Watershed Restoration Initiative -- a coalition of state government agencies, tribes, and conservation/recreation groups -- recognized this growing problem and came together to find a remedy. Working with Congressman Norm Dicks, federal funding for road management became a reality with the creation of the Legacy Roads and Trails Remediation program (LRT). This funding provided the Forest Service the help they needed to get started. In the first year (2008), the national LRT program provided $39 million to projects designed to address the failing road network across the country ($3.5 million went to projects in Washington State).
Since 2008, the LRT program has invested nearly $22 million in Washington State to address the problems caused by the crumbling road network. These investments have been used to:
This work has also helped keep an estimated 352-538 jobs in the forests – since local contractors and heavy equipment are often needed for these projects.
Washington Watershed Restoration coalition members:
Washington Watershed Restoration Initiative: https://wawild.org/tag/washington-watershed-restoration-initiative/
For more informationMark Hicks Water Quality Program WA Department of Ecology Phone: 360-407-6477 Email: Mark.Hicks@ecy.wa.gov
Last updated July 2017
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