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In Oregon and Washington, over 5,000 culverts on public lands block migration of threatened and endangered salmon and bulltrout. Their “livable space” is broken into pieces that are too small. Rivers and streams are long, linear ecosystems and especially susceptible to human infrastructure, such as road crossings and dams.
WildEarth Guardians advocacy in the halls of Congress and out in the national forests of the Pacific Northwest is directly aimed at fixing this problem. In 2008 we helped to create the Washington Watershed Restoration Initiative specifically to build political support for the Legacy Roads and Trails program. And it is why Guardians works year after year to make sure that (1) the program continues and (2) Congress allocates money through the budget process. With the support of over 3,000 of our members and dozens of partners, Congress heard the message and budgeted $40 million to the program for 2015!
The Siuslaw National Forest (Oregon) has greatly benefited from Legacy funds. For example, last summer, this problem road crossing on Andy Creek was fixed.
The photo above shows an old culvert that is impossible for fish to swim through. Native fish such as threatened coho, winter steelhead, cutthroat trout and pacific lamprey lose out.
The photo below shows the newly constructed culvert, which is 14 feet tall and 70 feet long. It is “bottomless” so fish can migrate up and down Andy Creek. Peering through this culvert, as a fish would, it is easy to see more “livable space” beyond.
The Legacy Roads and Trails program is the main source of funds for this work. With this funding we can “put pieces back together” and rewild salmon habitat.