Our national forests and many rivers are one of our country’s greatest sustainable resources. Properly managed, they provide abundant benefits for wildlife, give us clean water and air and provide a host of recreational opportunities. Whether you enjoy hunting, fishing, off road vehicles, hiking, or bicycling in beautiful Southwest Washington, I am working to protect our way of life.
Columbia River salmon and steelhead have a historical significance to our region. These runs have positively impacted our sport and fishing businesses, tribes, and our state’s coastal communities for centuries.
As a member of the Appropriations Committee that sets spending levels for the federal government, I have consistently fought to increase valuable resources for hatcheries in the Pacific Northwest. I’ve also secured the resources necessary for the review of Hatchery and Genetic Management Plans to ensure all hatcheries are Endangered Species Act compliant. This funding is critical to keep lawsuits from eating away at critical funding for hatcheries in the Pacific Northwest.
I have also introduced a bill to improve the survival of endangered salmon, steelhead, and other native fish species in the Columbia River system by protecting them from sea lion predation. Last year sea lions were responsible for consuming almost 45% on the salmon returns in the Columbia River system. My bill would authorize the removal, both lethal and non-lethal, of California sea lions and harbor seals from specific areas where they pose the biggest threat. Our endangered salmon population depends on our active management to ensure their survival.
Access to Forests
I have been working to protect access for recreation in our forests through preserving forest roads and supporting the Legacy Roads and Trails Remediation program to fund road and trail repair and maintenance.
Vital to Southwest Washington recreation is the Recreational Trails Program (RTP). I’ve led an effort in Congress to protect funding for RTP, which applies a “user-pay/user-benefit” philosophy, meaning the taxes paid by off-highway recreation go toward funding the program. The funds are used to maintain recreational trails for both nonmotorized and motorized recreational trails – and I’ll continue to protect this funding.
When Forest Road 23 was severely damaged in a winter storm to the point where it was impassable, I worked with the Federal Highway Administration to release emergency repair funds to address this important recreational access point in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. With these funds, the Forest Service was able to immediately get to work re-opening the road and modernize its structure to prevent washouts for the next 50 years.