Today, the U.S. Senate passed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act in a vote of 69-28. Thanks in part to the efforts of Safari Club International (SCI), the massive infrastructure package includes sweeping provisions for wildlife corridors and crossings, land and water conservation efforts, and public land access repairs. SCI would like to thank the U.S. Senate for including these important measures for American sportsmen and women and wildlife.
SCI has been a longtime advocate of wildlife crossings and other funding to improve and expand America’s public lands. These provisions included in the package provide much needed funding for repairs and new development for the benefit of human-wildlife coexistence, conflict mitigation, and ecosystem health.
Specifically, the bill includes funding for wildlife crossing and habitat connectivity, weather disaster mitigation, water habitat improvement, and extensive Forest Service infrastructure. The numbers are substantial: $350 million for wildlife corridors, specifically for road safety initiatives; $650 million annually for the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund; $4 billion for water habitat connectivity; $250 million for the Legacy Roads and Trails Remediation Program; and $2.2 billion for improvements to the Federal Land Transportation Program.
Wildlife crossings and habitat connectivity are vital to mitigating human wildlife conflict and creating more sustainable landscapes and waterways. Corridors significantly decrease vehicle wildlife collisions, a serious problem for both wildlife and drivers. Habitat connectivity also aids in species migration and overall well-being. Similarly, investing in aquatic habitat improves water quality and aquatic species. These measures are critical for increasing biodiversity and ecosystem health, which create high quality hunting opportunities. Finally, repairing and developing public land access roads and infrastructure increases public access to the outdoors and will be essential to maintaining healthy wildlife and habitat.
The massive investments benefit hunters, wildlife and habitat, and the general public. Increased participation in the outdoors, quality infrastructure, and hazard mitigation are all necessary for Americans and wildlife. As this commonsense wildlife infrastructure strategy heads back to the House for a final vote before the President’s desk for signature, SCI continues to support these measures and encourages the House to pass the bill with all conservation measures included.