Stimulus funding benefits forest

Published 11:00 pm Saturday, July 11, 2009

NELSONVILLE — Forest Supervisor Jo Reyer announced the Wayne National Forest in southeastern Ohio has received almost $3 million to implement forest-wide local road maintenance and related ecosystem watershed enhancement projects.

The projects are being funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) for road maintenance and decommissioning and associated watershed restoration.

They were first announced by U. S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on June 2, 2009.

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The 106 projects, funded at more than $228 million, are located on Forest Service land in 31 states.

In his announcement earlier this month, Vilsack stated, “These road maintenance projects will provide for public health and safety, resource protection, and access to lands in the National Forests.” Vilsack added, “The rehabilitation of roads will improve water quality by reducing sediment in nearby streams and help to restore natural resources and habitat for fish in areas impacted by deterioration and erosion of road surfaces.”

Wayne National Forest project highlights include the following efforts:

In Washington, Hocking, Monroe, and Lawrence counties, $250,000 will finance the replacement of existing culverts and other various crossings that are significant aquatic barriers in high priority watersheds of the Little Muskingum River, Paddle Creek and Symmes Creek drainages.

By reconnecting headwaters to the streams, aquatic species will have more of their original habitat available.

Within the next twelve months, Athens, Lawrence, Monroe, Gallia, Perry, and Washington counties will see $600,000 of various Forest road improvement projects.