Investment in our nation’s infrastructure is long overdue — including restoration of our “natural infrastructure” — riparian, lake and forested ecosystems. Ecosystem restoration must include landscape corridors that allow for migration of the natural communities (plants and wildlife) of which they are comprised.

When natural ecosystems, like coastal shorelines, forests and rivers are degraded, everything that resides in them, human and wildlife, are more vulnerable to extreme weather and the accelerating impacts of climate change. The integrity of our ecological infrastructure is essential to sustaining our communities and nation.

Ecosystem restoration is critical to ensuring the perpetuation of their services and products on which each of us depends. Examples: Forest storage of carbon to offset climate change threats; bays and wetlands capable of providing fish nurseries for food; river systems capable of functioning as flood control; soil capable of producing food; rivers, lakes and aquifers to supply drinkable water.

Our leaders are disregarding the rapidly decreasing degradation of the environment on which our lives depend. Its ecological viability must now be addressed as a key component in national infrastructure repair. Livable communities and viable economies depend upon it. Ecosystem infrastructure repair creates jobs.

The integrity and health of ecological systems is manifested in their ability to sustain the plants and animals (native biodiversity) of which they are composed. For humans to exist it is necessary to restore and maintain that ecosystem biodiversity.

The current mass extinction of species mirrors our own peril. Their inability to survive and flourish directly diminishes our ability to do so. The natural world is not a backdrop for our lives. It is the basis of it. It cannot be replaced by any product of human engineering or only physical infrastructure repair.

It is absolutely critical that any national infrastructure program addresses ecological infrastructure restoration through policy, legislation and funding. The human-caused sources of climate change and environmental degradation must be arrested by 2030 to avert disaster by 2050.

The scientific evidence is clear and indisputable. Demand federal and state action. Call your federal legislators (202-224-3121), the White House (202-456-1111) and the governor's office (717-787‐2500).

NORMA KLINE

Meadville

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