Our national forests and grasslands are home to some of America’s cleanest, healthiest, and most productive waterways. These waters support invaluable infrastructure that protects people, wildlife, and the environments they both rely upon to thrive. These same lakes, rivers, and streams also host anglers and recreationists from all walks of life.
Forest Service experts work alongside our partners and the communities we serve to monitor, maintain, and restore the waterways that provide such abundance to the American people. Without their support, much of this work would not be realized.
In 2017, the U.S. Forest Service Fisheries Program enhanced, maintained, and restored watersheds nationwide. This work helped not only to restore habitat, but also repair infrastructure, while bolstering rural economies. In Alaska alone, our national forests support a billion dollar commercial salmon industry. Recreational fishing on national forests and grasslands generates more than double that amount every year.
In 2017 the Forest Service carried on with their work to enhance road-stream crossings (culverts) to a “stream simulation” design. Compared to conventional culverts, stream simulation culverts can accommodate heavier water flows, and are less likely to be blocked by debris. They also allow a more natural crossing for fish and wildlife.
Together, this work helps to prevent damage to communities, infrastructure, property, and wildlife habitat. Most importantly it helps reduce risk to human life. The local economies that depend on healthy waterways, fish, and wildlife also benefit from the more resilient aquatic environment that allow for robust fish populations and the recreation opportunities supported by clean, productive waterways.
- 3,716 miles of stream habitat and 34,779 acres of lake habitat were restored or enhanced
- 214 road-stream crossings were enhanced or removed for flood resiliency and for Aquatic Organism Passage.
- The removal or replacement of these stream crossings reconnected more than 400 miles of aquatic habitat.
- The Forest Service invested $13.3 million in the road-stream crossing projects. Partner organizations invested even more, contributing $13.5 million.
Restoration is an economy in itself. In Southwest Oregon, restoration activity has contributed between $97 million and $125 million annually—double that of investments in coal, and triple that of oil and natural gas. 80 percent of these investments have remained in the local communities where the restoration work is occurring, spurring economic growth among Oregon business that provide heavy equipment, construction products or plants for the restoration efforts.