Beyond roads and bridges: The push to consider nature as essential ‘infrastructure’

By Tom Molanphy : 48hills – excerpt

In a land of drought and pollution, can environmental harmony be built into Build Back Better?

Last week, millions of baby salmon completed their long journey from the Central Valley by being dumped by the truckload into San Francisco Bay. Due to the impact of California’s ongoing drought on the highly modified Sacramento River, the juveniles could no longer swim from their birthplace to open ocean, so the trucks were called in to help them make their way.

The vehicle-assisted release highlights a crisis that some experts are calling infrastructural.

Oxford defines infrastructure as “the basic physical and organizational structures needed for the operation of a society or enterprise.” But some Bay Area environmentalists and wildlife professionals hope the Biden Administration’s federal infrastructure proposal offers an opportunity to consider the infrastructure that came before the roads and bridges that the term evokes…

For advocates like McManus who want to preserve natural resources, it’s less of a question of the restoration of infrastructure and more of the restoration of a healthier relationship with our natural resources. In short, “Build Back Better” should include giving Mother Nature a seat at the drafting board.…(more)

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