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U.S. Senate Delivers Historic Commitments to Sportsmen and Women in Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill
Minutes ago, the U.S. Senate passed a strongly supported bipartisan bill known as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to fund our nation’s surface and water infrastructure systems. This bill includes historic investments in natural infrastructure to enhance conservation and to increase hunting, fishing, trapping, and recreational shooting opportunities for America’s sportsmen and women.
Since infrastructure conversations in Congress began well over a year ago, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) has been advocating for the inclusion of investments into conservation and sporting-access programs as part of any infrastructure bill. In May, CSF held a policy briefing for Members of Congress and their staff to hear directly from the sporting-conservation community about our priorities for future infrastructure packages. Following the briefing, CSF orchestrated a letter that was sent to leaders in both the House and Senate that outlined our community priorities, many of which are contained in this bill including: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 bill 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, this bill 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.
“Our nation’s transportation and infrastructure systems are vital to the conservation of our nation’s fish and wildlife and access for sportsmen and women,” said CSF President and CEO Jeff Crane. “We applaud the Senate for recognizing and supporting our nation’s fish, wildlife, and sportsmen and women by including robust investments in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.”
Since 1989, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) has maintained a singleness of purpose that has guided the organization to become the most respected and trusted sportsmen’s organization in the political arena. CSF’s mission is to work with Congress, governors, and state legislatures to protect and advance hunting, angling, recreational shooting and trapping. The unique and collective force of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC), the Governors Sportsmen’s Caucus (GSC) and the National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses (NASC), working closely with CSF, and with the support of major hunting, angling, recreational shooting and trapping organizations, serves as an unprecedented network of pro-sportsmen elected officials that advance the interests of America’s hunters and anglers.
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