March 30, 2022

Wyden, Western Colleagues Urge the Department of Interior to Fund Sagebrush Ecosystem Restoration and Conservation Efforts

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Ron Wyden and seven western colleagues from both parties this week urged the Department of Interior (DOI) to allocate a significant portion of funds from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law toward sagebrush ecosystem restoration in the American West to boost wildfire mitigation efforts, create jobs and support the economy in Oregon and the West. 

“As Senators representing Western states, we urge you to allocate a significant portion of these funds to address the restoration needs of the vast sagebrush ecosystems of the American West,” Wyden and the senators wrote Tuesday to Interior Secretary Deb Haaland. “Sagebrush restoration will help a critical landscape in the Western United States – one that supports vast biodiversity, contributes to the regional economy, and is vulnerable to destructive wildfires if not managed properly.”

Through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (IIJA), the DOI received $905 million to be broadly distributed across a number of ecosystems for restoration and $200 million for wildfire risk reduction programs. 

“Finally, the IIJA funding provides a unique opportunity for creating jobs in rural America while addressing important conservation needs. DOI has at its disposal $100 million for fuels removal efforts that employ locally-based laborers – an historic opportunity to put people to work while helping restore the sagebrush steppe and protect the landscape from wildfires. We encourage you to enact a robust program that will have lasting benefits – both conservation- and employment-based – for an entire generation of Americans in the West,” the letter continued.   

The letter was led by Senators Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., and Mike Crapo, R-Idaho. Alongside Wyden, the letter was also signed by Senators Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., James Risch, R-Idaho, Mitt Romney, R-Utah, Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., and Jon Tester, D-Mont.

The text of the letter is here.