Wyden, Merkley: More than $1 Million to Oregon for Sagebrush Conservation

Wyden, Merkley: More than $1 Million to Oregon for Sagebrush Conservation

Projects combat invasive species, protect water sources and prevent wildfire

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley this week announced that more than $1 million in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funds will go to Oregon projects conserving sagebrush ecosystems. These projects will combat invasive grasses, safeguard precious water resources, prevent wildfire, and promote community and economic sustainability.

Oregon sagebrush restoration and conservation projects curb destructive, wildfire-causing invasive grasses, while also contributing to the regional economy,” said Wyden, who joined colleagues in a letter urging Interior Secretary Deb Haaland to allocate infrastructure dollars toward sagebrush ecosystem restoration and conservation efforts. “The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funds provide the historic opportunity to address crucial conservation needs while protecting and creating jobs – putting Oregonians to work caring for the land they call home.”

“Restoring and conserving Oregon’s sagebrush ecosystems can help to address the damage and dangers invasive species bring to important rangelands and habitat and promote healthy environments and a strong economy,” said Senator Merkley, who used his position as Chairman of the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee to secure this funding in the infrastructure law. “This historic funding will provide vital support for many important projects over the next five years.”   

This year, funds will support more than 40 projects in Oregon and seven other western states to restore and conserve strategic areas within the sagebrush ecosystem. Spanning more than 175 million acres nationwide, sagebrush country is home to more than 350 species across the West, including pronghorn, elk, mule deer and greater sage grouse.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will put $10 million per year for the next five years to use conserving the sagebrush ecosystem. Many of these projects will increase resilience to drought and rangeland fire by restoring wetlands and combating non-native grasses that increase the threat of wildfire and reduce habitats for wildlife and forage for livestock. Projects will help create good-paying jobs that strengthen local economies, invest in disadvantaged communities consistent with the President’s Justice 40 initiative, and further the strong working relationship between the Department, states and Tribes in these landscapes. 

“This is an historic opportunity to put resources into the health and natural infrastructure of America’s sagebrush ecosystem, which serves as the lifeblood of rural communities and Tribal lands in the West,” said Secretary Haaland. “President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is the largest investment in the resilience of physical and natural systems in American history and will meaningfully advance on-the-ground efforts to promote healthy sagebrush landscapes and communities that have been threatened by the climate crisis.”

A list of the Oregon-specific projects with funding is as follows:

$250,000   

$360,000   

$119,200   

$120,039   

$56,142   

$114,000   

A nationwide list of 2022 projects is here.