11/14/2000 -- -- Contact:
Steve Moyer, Vice President for Conservation Programs, Trout Unlimited: (703) 284-9406
Arlington, VA. . .Trout Unlimited applauded the U.S. Forest Service for establishing new policies to improve protection of roadless areas, many of which provide some of the best remaining trout and salmon habitat in the U.S.
The new roadless policy was announced today by Forest Service Chief, Mike Dombeck. The policy moves the agency in a positive direction toward solving one of its longstanding, vexing problems: what to do about the huge environmental problems caused by roads in our National Forests.
"Mike Dombeck and the Forest Service are making a courageous step that will help protect trout and salmon-sustaining watersheds nationwide," said Steve Moyer, TU's Vice President for Conservation Programs.
Simply put, many roads in the National Forests kill trout and salmon. Excessive siltation from runoff from poorly designed and poorly maintained roads is one of the worst sources of non-point pollution on federal lands. The silt smothers trout and salmon spawning areas and decreases stream productivity. Forest roads also speed runoff velocities, increasing channelization of streams and streambank erosion, and raising surface water temperatures. All of these things are bad for trout and salmon habitat.
The new policy will be especially helpful in the National Forests of the West. The West now has 35 species of trout and salmon federally listed as threatened or endangered. With over 400,000 miles of roads in our National Forests, and with an $8.4 billion backlog of maintenance and reconstruction backlogs documented, the new Forest Service roadless policy makes sense.
"The stage is set now for the Forest Service, Congress, and the new Administration to focus on the real road problems on the National Forests, fixing poorly maintained roads and eliminating, where appropriate, watershed-killing roads that can't be fixed," said Moyer.
"There are many old, outmoded roads in the National Forest system that cause great environmental harm to our watersheds and they must be eliminated. Congress should appropriate the money needed to improve maintenance and eliminate unfixable roads, and should work with the Forest Service to ensure that those funds are spent well."
Founded in 1959 in Grayling, Michigan, Trout Unlimited is America's leading coldwater fisheries conservation organization. TU's 125,000 members in 500 chapters nationwide are dedicated to the conservation, protection, and restoration of North America's trout and salmon and their watersheds.