Before the August recess begins, the U.S. Senate is focused on one big thing: the massive, bipartisan infrastructure package, or the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Safari Club International (SCI) strongly supports the package’s initiatives relevant to sportsmen and women across the country, including provisions for wildlife corridors, land and water conservation efforts, and public land access repairs.
SCI has been a leader in advancing these initiatives, especially wildlife crossing research and infrastructure. SCI, along with 36 other organizations representing millions of hunters and anglers, outdoors men and women, and natural resource professionals, recently sent a strong letter of support to the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee. Thanks to these and other efforts, the new infrastructure bill includes $350 million for corridor construction.
Wildlife crossings and habitat connectivity are vital to mitigating human wildlife conflict and creating more sustainable landscapes and waterways. Corridors address the widespread problem of vehicle-wildlife collisions – dangerous accidents for both humans and animals. In addition to increased safety, crossings provide extensive benefits to animals and natural habitats. Decreased habitat fragmentation, connected migration corridors, and improved habitat are critical for biodiversity and ecosystem health.
The bill also includes weather event mitigation, water habitat improvement, and extensive Forest service infrastructure funding. Specifically, it provides $250 million for the Legacy Roads and Trails Remediation Program for the backlog of maintenance and repairs on Forest Service roads. Additionally, the Federal Land Transportation Program will receive $2.2 billion, much of which will go to the Forest Service. Finally, it includes provisions for needed tree replanting in forests across the country.
Forest Service maintenance, along with the other ecosystem provisions in the bill, are critical for both improving habitat and expanding access for hunters on public lands. Healthy ecosystems lead to healthy wildlife and higher quality hunting opportunities. Repaired and new infrastructure will also open more land for hunting and outdoor use.
This commonsense wildlife infrastructure strategy benefits hunters and outdoorsmen and women, wildlife and habitat, and the general public. Participation in the outdoors, quality infrastructure, and human wildlife conflict mitigation are all necessary for American coexistence with nature. SCI encourages the Senate to pass these policies and will continue to support initiatives that invest in our wildlife, community safety, and public lands.