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U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture


Stewarding Natural Resources

We play a key role in the stewardship of fish and aquatic resources, working in cooperation with states, other federal agencies, and tribal governments and in partnership with nongovernmental organizations, private landowners and water users, corporations and others.

The agency stewards natural and cultural resources on 154 national forests and 20 national grasslands, containing over 193 million acres from New England to Florida and Alaska to California. We have a unique role to foster healthy watersheds and aquatic habitats that sustain abundant, uniquely adapted fish and wildlife populations for the ecological, social, and economic needs of the American people. To do this, we work with others to protect, restore, and enhance watersheds and aquatic ecosystems upon which populations of fish and other aquatic species depend. Our strategies and actions aim to help aquatic species and ecosystems adapt to multiple stressors, including drought, floods, increasing water temperatures, changes in precipitation patterns, invasive species, fire, and disease. Below are just a few examples.

Celebrating 1,000 Culverts
Together with our many partners we are building better culverts (where streams flow underneath roads and highways) to eliminate barriers to migration of fish and other aquatic organisms, improve the resiliency of roads to flooding, and provide safe transportation in rural communities. In 2015, we celebrated a major milestone of replacing 1,000 culverts through the 2008 Legacy Roads and Trails Program which reopened 1,671 miles of habitat for many species of fish and other aquatic organisms.
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Salmon SuperHighway
Together with many partners along the north coast of Oregon, Forest Service staff on the Siuslaw National Forest are championing a new approach to bringing community leaders and stakeholders together to improve fish passage and aquatic connectivity in the most efficient and cost-effective manner at the basin-scale. This is a unique approach – “Connecting Communities One Fish at a Time.”
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Improving Conditions in the Yankee Fork of the Salmon River in Idaho
Together with Trout Unlimited, the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes, and others, Forest Service staff on the Salmon Challis National Forest in central Idaho restore the Yankee Fork of the Salmon River in support of West Coast salmon and steelhead recovery efforts. Large wood and floodplain restoration are used to remedy legacy mining impacts from the 1800s and improve habitat conditions for ESA-listed salmon and steelhead.
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Improving Floodplain and Fish Habitat in Vermont
In 2015, Forest Service staff on the Green Mountain & Finger Lakes National Forests (Vermont) working with private landowners, the White River Partnership, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Trout Unlimited, and Vermont Agency of Transportation completed the first phase of a multi-phase, largescale river restoration project along one mile of the West Branch of the White River. Hurricane Irene packed an enormous punch in 2011 leaving the river and fish habitat in a degraded condition. This project both improved fish habitat and floodplain conditions, and also provided jobs and economic stimulus where it was much needed in a rural Vermont.
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Working to Restore Fish Habitat with the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe
Forest Service staff on the Olympic National Forest (Washington) worked closely with the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe to improve floodplain connection and stream habitat by building engineered log jams along two miles of the Gray Wolf River, tributary to the Dungeness River in Puget Sound. Completed in 2015, this was identified as a high priority project for recovery of ESA-listed Puget Sound Chinook salmon, Puget Sound steelhead, and bull trout.
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