The Refuge Road Program requirements for funding a road project remain unchanged. The road must be a public use road FWS owns and maintains. Rest areas, trail heads, and safety issues remain eligible for funding. New to SAFETEA-LU specifically for refuge roads projects is the approval to fund up to 5% of the project cost on intrepretive media directly related with the road project. Brochures remain ineligible.
There are additional new programs discussed below uniquely for the FWS as well as broader opportunities. The big three State run programs, Transportation Enhancement, Recreational Trails, and Scenic Byway Programs remain. Please click on any state in the map above to learn more about these programs, see their web site addresses, program point of contacts and their phone numbers.
The Alternative Transportation Program is a new program for National Wildlife Refuges with high visitation and a need for replacing their existing method of transporting them. The goal is to increase the visitors wildlife viewing experience and at the same time reduce the negative impacts on the habitat and wildlife. A project would need to explain the cost and safety problems related to the exisitng vehicle, bus, boat or whatever people mover you had, as well as the benefits a new vehicle would provide. The program does not pay ongoing operating costs.
The Refuge Road Trails Program is a new program where Congress in SAFETEA-LU permitted the FWS to use up to 5% of the annual Fish and Wildlife Service Refuge Road Budget, roughly $1.2M a year, for work on existing NWRS trails. This is not to be confused with the State run Recreational Trails program. This new program is for exisitng NWR Trails. In order to be eligible for funds the trail must be included in the current Maintenance Management System Five Year Plan. Project selection is made at the Headquarters level by the Refuge Roads Program staff and funds are transferred to the appropriate region.
The Public Lands Highway Discretionary Program was established for roads leading to and from Federal Government Land Management Agencies that are not the property of the Government. Many roads owned by counties and States leading to NWR's are in disrepair and hinder the visiting public's opportunity to enjoy activities on refuges. This program provides funds to repair those roads that are not owned by the FWS but have an impact to the FWS. Funds can be used for roads and bridges and other public use facilities within Refuge boundaries as well. Working with friends groups through Congressional staff, a project can be funded on an annual basis. Congress appropriates the for this program annually, so the secret to this program is getting connected to your friends groups and getting your needs known to Congressional staff, especially in March and April.