President Biden has signed into law the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (H.R. 3684), which will help provide more than $40 billion in funding to enhance fish and wildlife conservation programs and increase access; delivering a historic victory for the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) and America’s 55 million sportsmen and women.
Over the last two years, CSF helped the effort to secure the sporting-conservation community’s priorities as part of a comprehensive infrastructure bill, which is now represented in the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (Act). As a result of CSF’s efforts, the Act recognizes the importance of defining infrastructure not only in terms of “gray infrastructure” such as roads and bridges, but also to include “natural infrastructure” such as investments in fish and wildlife habitat conservation programs.
Specifically, CSF has orchestrated numerous sportsmen conservation community sign-on letters, two Capitol Hill policy briefings, and held countless meetings with CSC members to advocate for the pro-sporting policies that are included in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act such as:
- Reauthorizing the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund: This investment will ensure that more than $650 million annually ($743 million last year) is provided to state fish and wildlife agencies for local fish habitat conservation as well as boating and fishing access through excise taxes generated by anglers and boaters.
- Establishing an innovative grant program to reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions and to enhance habitat connectivity: This provision will authorize $350 million over 5 years to help reduce the estimated one to two million annual wildlife-vehicle collisions. In addition to increasing human safety on the road, this legislation will help restore habitat connectivity for the species most cherished by sportsmen and women.
- Authorizing efforts to restore aquatic organism habitat connectivity: This provision recognizes the importance of improving and restoring aquatic organism passage by modernizing culverts. As such, this bill authorizes $4 billion for a competitive grant program to replace, remove, and repair culverts to restore fish passage.
- Providing increased financial resources to restore our national forests: By including the Repairing Existing Public Land by Adding Necessary Trees (REPLANT) Act, H.R. 3684 will help the U.S. Forest Service reduce their 1.3 million acres planting backlog by removing the antiquated cap on the Reforestation Trust Fund.
- Increasing access to federal lands: The Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act authorizes over $2.1 billion over 5 years to improve infrastructure that is owned and maintained by the National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and the Army Corps of Engineers.
- Restoring Abandoned Mine Lands: This program provides over $11 billion to reclaim mines with the goal of restoring habitat for upland birds, elk, deer, and other important wildlife species.
“The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation applauds the enactment of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. This bill, which is the result of years of work and negotiations, fully recognizes the importance of natural infrastructure systems to strengthen fish and wildlife conservation programs and to improve access for sportsmen and women, marking a significant win for our nation’s outdoor enthusiasts,” said CSF President and CEO Jeff Crane. “Put simply, this victory would not have been possible without our steadfast champions in the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus who took a strategic and bipartisan approach to developing this historic legislation.”
The enactment of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act represents years of effort and leadership by CSF and our partners. CSF will coordinate with the Administration and our partners to ensure this legislation is implemented properly.
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