Thursday, June 4, 2009

Forest Roads and Watershed Ecosystem Restoration

AAI just received the following message from the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest:

Economic Recovery Projects Benefit
Forest Roads and Watershed and Ecosystem Restoration

EVERETT, WA, June 4, 2009 – Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest will receive $5.59 million of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds to maintain and repair roads and bridges, decommission and store roads, and upgrade culverts to enhance drainage in watersheds. “This is very good news for our local communities and the Puget Sound ecosystem,” said Forest Supervisor Rob Iwamoto.

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced 106 projects Tuesday, funded at more than $228 million, located on Forest Service land in 31 states. “These road maintenance projects will provide for public health and safety, resource protection, and access to lands in the National Forests,” said Vilsack. “The rehabilitation of roads will improve water quality by reducing sediments in nearby streams and help to restore natural resources and habitat for fish in areas impacted by deterioration and erosion of road surfaces.”

Following are the projects on the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, the county they will be located in and the estimated funding received. Engineers will start work within six months and expect to complete the projects in two years.

Forest Wide Deferred and Annual Maintenance Whatcom, Skagit, Snohomish, King, Pierce $800,000.0
Road 31 Repairs Whatcom $125,000.0
Beaver Creek Crossing Bridge Whatcom $900,000.0
Suiattle Road Repair & Maintenance Skagit $650,000.0
Road 2810 Repairs Snohomish $200,000.0
Dan Creek Roads Repair & Maintenance Snohomish $300,000.0
Sauk Road Repair & Maintenance Snohomish $300,000.0
Black Creek Road & Bridge Repair Snohomish $200,000.0
Conn Creek Bridge Snohomish $200,000.0
Mountain Loop Highway Repair & Maintenance Snohomish $365,000.0
Evergreen Road Repair & Maintenance Snohomish $200,000.0
Hansen Creek Road Maintenance King $250,000.0
Bessemer Mtn Roads Decommission King $600,000.0
Evans Creek ORV Area Roads Pierce $500,000.0

The forest has numerous partners who contribute to road treatment projects. These partners include local Indian Tribes, Mountain to Sound Greenway Trust, Puget Sound Partnership, Washington State Department of Natural Resources, Skagit River System Cooperative and the local counties that support on-going road work with grants, agreements and collaboration on projects. They work with the forest on sites of mutual concern, roads adjoining forest roads that are also being repaired, and where partners can leverage funding by submitting grants to treat additional areas.

“The Puget Sound region is particularly vulnerable to intense winter storms each year that impact road and trail systems. Treated roads can minimize sediment delivery that affects water quality and fish habitat. This stimulus funding will help the forest upgrade road drainage and protect our resources,” said Iwamoto.

The Forest Service manages almost 370,000 miles of road and 143,000 miles of trails on the 193 million acres of national forests and grasslands. Our roads provide Americans access to these lands for their livelihood's and enjoyment. A safe and well-managed system of roads protects water quality and allows citizens to participate in hiking, touring, wildlife viewing, skiing, fishing, camping, hunting, boating, and many other outdoor activities. The Forest Service transportation system is critical to local and regional economies because it is a key element that supports the businesses and activities that occur within or adjacent to these lands.

A diverse set of road maintenance activities will be undertaken. Road maintenance projects are identified through extensive analysis of resource conditions and public needs. Stabilizing or relocating roads too close to lakes and streams will prevent erosion and protect water quality. Decommissioning roads and restoring native vegetation helps snow and rainfall to quickly absorb into the land and reduces erosion and flooding. Individuals hired under ARRA will complete this labor intensive work through a number of approaches: installing physical barriers at road entrances, replanting road beds, erosion control, removing fills and culverts, re-establishing drainage-ways, stabilizing road shoulders, and totally obliterating roads and reshaping roadbeds to match the surrounding area.

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