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Inflation Reduction Act and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Invests $712,665 in Restoration of Wyoming National Parks

Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park received funding from the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) this year. IRA is a nationwide effort to address climate change impacts and restore natural habitats.

Through the Inflation Reduction Act and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, has provided $52 million to the National Park Service. This funding will be used on projects throughout the country related to ecosystem resilience, restoration, and environmental planning needs.

Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff and Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks Shannon Estenoz visited Grand Teton National Park yesterday to make the announcement, where they toured sagebrush restoration work that will be supported by the investment.

Sagebrush and whitebark pine restoration is the focus of restoration efforts in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks as well as vulnerability of water supplies to climate change.

Over $1 million from the Inflation Reduction Act is being invested on the on-the-ground sagebrush restoration in Grand Teton National Park and five other national parks.

Additionally, $105,000 from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will help the diversity of native plant seed needed for restoration and increase the availability. Hayfields were cultivated by homesteaders prior to the establishment  of Grand Teton National Park and are being restored to native sagebrush communities at a landscape-scale.

This will improve the habitat’s quality and connectivity, increasing resilience for pronghorn, bison, elk, mule deer, and greater sage grouse among other species in this iconic conservation landscape.

An approximate $1 million of the funding will support removal of nonnative pasture grasses and expand native seed sources necessary for restoration. These funds  will help leverage funding from Federal and philanthropic sources acquired over the past 15 years to achieve added value and amplify project effects at a landscape scale.

Whitebark pine is a high elevation pine species that grows in mountainous areas of the western US and Canada. It provides important ecosystem services such as snow retention, reducing erosion, food and habitat for 19 wildlife species including the threatened grizzly bear, and providing cover for other tree species.

In recent decades, whitebark pine has experienced significant declines range-wide. It was also listed as “threatened” by the USFWS in January 2023.

Yellowstone, Grand Teton, and John D. Rockefeller Jr. Memorial Parkway all received Inflation Reduction Act funding in FY23 totaling $123,176 to implement conservation actions for whitebark pine.

Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park, and Glacier National Park also received $99,500 from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law in FY23 to support these efforts. These parks will work with other Federal, State, Tribal and nongovernment partners to plant blister rust resistant seed and seedlings, identify rust resistant trees for protection and seed source, monitor seedling survival, and identify climate refugia where whitebark pine conservation can be focused through the National Whitebark Pine Restoration Strategy.

These projects are an accumulation of 20 years of effort in Glacier National Park, Yellowstone National Park, and Grand Teton National Park. This funding will amplify conservation outcomes by allowing an adaptive, landscape-scale regional approach.

The conservation efforts of whitebark pine forests through their protection and restoration actions is what is  key to the species persistence. If not for these actions, threats from exotic white pine blister rust, mountain beetle infestations, and changing fire regimes, all of which are exacerbated by climate change, will result in irreversible loss of whitebark pine forests.

National parks across the country, including both Yellowstone and Grand Teton, another NPS project funded by IRA will assess the climate change vulnerability of park water supplies to increase the security and sustainability of NPS water for people, develop adaptation strategies, and inform investment decisions.

Thanks to partnerships, this project will complete all phases of ongoing pilot Climate Change Vulnerability Assessments (CCVAs) and expand efforts for additional parks with significant water supply improvement needs or suspected vulnerabilities.

The projects that were announced yesterday 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.

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, through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act.

These resources are making significant strategic investments to repair critical facilities and infrastructure. They are also enhancing conservation through ecosystem restoration and recreation opportunities.

The full lists of fiscal year 2023 projects in Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park are available online at IRA Restoration and Resilience projects and BIL Ecosystem Restoration projects.

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