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Fisheries Program

Our National Forests and Grasslands are home to some of America’s most healthy, pristine, and economically productive waterways. These lakes, rivers, and streams host anglers and recreationists from all walks of life. They support invaluable infrastructure that protects people, wildlife, and the environments they both rely upon to thrive.

Our experts work with partners and communities to monitor, maintain, and restore the waterways that provide such a myriad of benefits to the American people.


In 2016, the U.S. Forest Service Fisheries Program accomplished an enormous amount of restoration across the country. This work helped to restore habitat, repair infrastructure, and bolstered the economies of rural communities. 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.

Much of the work in 2016 involved the enhancement of 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 they help to prevent damage to community infrastructure, property and risk to human life and wildlife habitat. 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.

In 2016:

  • 3,832 miles of stream habitat and 39,067 acres of lake habitat were restored or enhanced
    • 178 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 406 miles of aquatic habitat.
    • The Forest Service invested $15.8 million in the road-stream crossing projects. Partner organizations nearly matched that with an investment of $13.4 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.

More on the Legacy Roads and Trails Program

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