The Washington Watershed Restoration Initiative (WWRI) is focused on reestablishing and maintaining healthy aquatic and forest ecosystems in national forests through the maintenance, repair, and reclamation of forest roads and culverts. The WWRI is a coalition of environmental and outdoor recreation NGO's, tribes, and state agencies working together since 2008.
The coalition was instrumental in building the case that eventually led to funding of the federal “Legacy Roads and Trails Remediation Program” (LRT). From 2008-2015, over $26 million of LRT funding has been invested on national forest lands in Washington State and has been used to address problems from the deteriorating road network. For Fiscal Year 2017, the WWRI coalition recommends the following:
1. Re-invest in the Legacy Roads and Trails Remediation Program with $50 million to allow the Forest Service to make progress in addressing the problems, without jeopardizing our past investments.
To meet the tremendous need, Legacy Roads and Trails funding must be partially increased to compensate for the decrease in funds from FY 2013 combined with the continued decline in road maintenance funding and the eliminiation of the fish passage program in the previous transportation bill. Funding from Legacy Roads and Trails gives the USFS a chance to begin complying with the road maintenance timelines to which they committed over a decade ago and that WA Department of Natural Resources and large private owners are getting close to meeting under the Forest Practices Habitat Conservation Plan.
2. Use results and recommendations from Travel Analysis Reports to "rightsize" the road system to today's budgets and recreation and management needs. Over the last 3 years, each forest evaluated access needs, environmental risks, and costs of maintaining each forest's road system. Now that the analysis is complete, recommendations should be implemented.
Analyzing a forest’s road network and determining which roads are needed for diverse management needs such as fire, forestry, recreation, and private access to in-holdings and which roads are environmentally problematic was the first step. This blueprint provides a more accurate assessment of which roads need to be repaired, which ones can be reclaimed, and what the road maintenance shortfalls are. A portion of Legacy Roads and Trails funding should be used to implement the Forest Service’s plan to right-size the road system.
Olympic National Forest - When roads and culverts are not routinely maintained, they blow-out during storms,
ending access to public lands.