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Boone and Crockett Club: Infrastructure Bill Provides Critical Funding for Forest Health, Wildlife Crossings, and Natural Climate Solutions

Forest Service photo by Joseph M. de Leon

MISSOULA, Mont. – Today the Boone and Crockett Club thanked the U.S. Senate for passing bipartisan infrastructure legislation that will allocate critical funding to improve the health of our nation’s forests, reduce wildlife/vehicle collisions through new wildlife crossings, and support conservation programs that provide natural climate solutions. The inclusion of more than $8 billion in funding for forest resiliency projects in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will help address concerns outlined in a fact sheet the Club released in April calling for a commitment to active forest management. 

“Infrastructure investments in the restoration and management of America’s national forests as well as for wildlife crossings, habitat restoration, and coastal resiliency are natural climate solutions that protect our communities, municipal water supplies, and fish and wildlife populations. These projects also deliver jobs to American workers in communities across the country,” commented Club President James F. Arnold. “The Boone and Crockett Club thanks Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV), John Barrasso (R-WY) and Steve Daines (R-MT) for ensuring that these natural infrastructure needs were part of the final bipartisan bill that passed the Senate today.”

The U.S. Forest Service estimates that there are more than 80 million acres of land at moderate to high risk from catastrophic fire. Active forest management such as harvesting trees, thinning dead and dying trees, creating fuel breaks, prescribed and managed burns, and creating defensible spaces are all effective tools to reduce wildfire threats while also improving habitat and helping to sequester carbon. In addition, the lumber produced by these forest management efforts will lock up carbon in long-lasting wood products and create better growing conditions for the next stand of trees, which will sequester even more carbon. At the same time, there are estimates that over 11 million acres of U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management lands are in need reforestation. Failure to reforest these acres will create millions of acres of brushfields, which can be lower quality habitat and are vulnerable to future reburns. Active reforestation of these lands can also help sequester more than 16 million tons of carbon per year.

The bill includes the first significant funding allocation for highway wildlife crossings to reduce vehicular collisions and reconnect migration corridors.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

The infrastructure bill also includes a number of other provisions that are important for wildlife and natural resource conservation efforts. Of particular note, the bill includes the first significant funding allocation of $350 million for highway wildlife crossings to reduce vehicular collisions and reconnect migration corridors. Other provisions allocate significant funds to aquatic ecosystem restoration, plugging orphaned oil and gas wells to reduce methane leakage, abandoned mine reclamation to restore habitat and water quality, culvert replacements and dam removal for habitat expansion, and coastal resiliency projects to address rising sea level and loss of habitat.

“We appreciate the leadership of Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) for their hard work in negotiating a bill that can get enacted so projects can get underway,” concluded Arnold.

More About the Boone and Crockett Club

Founded by Theodore Roosevelt in 1887, the Boone and Crockett Club promotes guardianship and visionary management of big game and associated wildlife in North America. The Club maintains the highest standards of fair chase sportsmanship and habitat stewardship. Member accomplishments include enlarging and protecting Yellowstone and establishing Glacier and Denali national parks, founding the U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service and National Wildlife Refuge System, fostering the Pittman-Robertson and Lacey Acts, creating the Federal Duck Stamp program, and developing the cornerstones of modern game laws. The Boone and Crockett Club is headquartered in Missoula, Montana. Click here to learn more about the Boone and Crockett Club.