|Subscribe | What is RSS|
Contact: Chelsea Sullivan, 202-619-7177
THURMONT, Md.— Catoctin Mountain Park will plant more than 5,000 native trees and protect endangered species with $446,000 from the Inflation Reduction Act. This forest restoration work is part of a nationwide effort to restore natural habitats and address climate change impacts. In fiscal year 2023, President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) will provide $52 million to the National Park Service to fund projects throughout the country related to ecosystem resilience, restoration, and environmental planning needs.
For more than a decade, the NPS has worked to remove invasive plants and overabundant white-tailed deer from Catoctin Mountain Park, and the park has seen a 19-fold increase in seedling density. IRA funds will allow the park to move to the next phase of forest restoration by planting yellow poplar, sugar maple, oak and hickory trees, which will create habitat for state and federally listed species, including the endangered northern long-eared bat, Indiana bat and proposed endangered tricolored bat.
“The forest needs our help – removing invasive plants and overabundant deer is not enough,” Rick Slade, Catoctin Mountain Park superintendent, said. “Investments from the Inflation Reduction Act will help us create a forest of healthy, abundant, and mature native trees, which are essential components of climate resilience and wildlife habitat.”
National park forests in the eastern United States, including those in Catoctin Mountain Park, are at risk because of browsing by overabundant white-tailed deer and invasive plants that outcompete native plants and change the environment, according to a National Park Service (NPS) and Schoodic Institute study published earlier this year.
In addition to forest restoration efforts, 40 parks across the eastern United States, including Catoctin Mountain Park, will expand native grasslands by restoring agricultural fields and environmentally degraded lands, funded by a $3 million investment from IRA. More than 90 percent of U.S. grasslands have been converted to other land uses, making them the most at-risk ecosystems in North America. The NPS has more than 85 million acres of protected lands, so these projects will have dramatic benefits to grassland conservation.
National parks in the Washington, D.C., area will also invest IRA funding to protect historic structures and buildings affected by flooding caused by climate change.
Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park, Catoctin Mountain Park, Monocacy National Battlefield and Rock Creek Park will invest $200,000 to build a historic structure risk assessment tool, which will assess and design strategies to preserve, stabilize, and increase resiliency of historic structures.
More than 10 national parks near D.C., will invest $747,000 in IRA funding to gather elevation and flood risk data for important buildings, other structures and landscapes. This data will help the NPS plan for a flood-risk scenario and inform appropriate disaster responses.
The projects announced today infuse much-needed funding to put people to work addressing critical ecosystem needs to restore healthy and resilient park lands while benefiting communities surrounding parks. Through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act, the National Park Service is working to address the impacts of the climate crisis, including intensifying drought, wildfires, flooding and legacy pollution in national parks and other public lands. Resources are making significant strategic investments to repair critical facilities and infrastructure and enhance conservation through ecosystem restoration and recreation opportunities.
The full lists of fiscal year 2023 projects are available online: IRA Restoration and Resilience projects and BIL Ecosystem Resilience projects.
About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 425 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov, and on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.
Last updated: August 8, 2023