A Pathway to Help Wildlife Move in a Changing World

Wildlife move both daily and seasonally to survive. However, the habitats animals rely on continue to be fragmented by housing, roads, fences, energy facilities, and other man-made barriers. As a result, animals are struggling more and more to reach food, water, shelter, and breeding sites.

Climate change is also increasing the need for better wildlife movement. The fourth National Climate Assessment, released earlier this month, stated, “habitat fragmentation and loss of connectivity (due to urbanization, roads, dams, etc.) can prevent species from tracking shifts in their required climate.” Therefore, it is critical that the United States redouble its efforts to make sure wildlife can continue to move across the landscape, and to retain, restore, and establish wildlife corridors in order to ease wildlife movements and range shifts.

Recognizing these serious challenges, Senator Udall of New Mexico and Representative Beyer of Virginia introduced a game-changing piece of legislation today that would create a national program for maintaining wildlife migrations, movements, and corridors. The Wildlife Corridors Conservation Act of 2018 would be a momentous step in forward for 21st century wildlife management.

Let them know you support their leadership for wildlife by retweeting the following tweet:

What the Wildlife Corridors Conservation Act of 2018 does for wildlife

 

monarchs

A national wildlife corridors system will help monarchs complete their crucial journey from wintering habitats to find native milkweed to host monarch caterpillars. Photo USFS.

Creates a National Wildlife Corridors System. This system will allow wildlife to migrate across public lands with the changing seasons, boost biodiversity in degraded ecosystems, and ensure species are better able to adapt to climate change by establishing a process to identify and maintain wildlife corridors on the nation’s public lands. This system is an important and long overdue investment in the long-term health of wildlife populations, and will benefit all species, from elk and mule deer to carnivores like the wolverine to insects like the monarch butterfly. 

Creates a Wildlife Movements Grant Program to fund important habitat connectivity projects on state, private and tribal lands. The projects will be identified by the Regional Wildlife Movement Councils. This work will consist of building bridges over roads blocking mule deer and pronghorn migrations, and creating culverts (pathways for water to flow under infrastructure) that allow turtles and amphibians to cross barriers safely. 

Yellowstone cutthroat trout

Spawning Yellowstone cutthroat trout. Photo Jacob W. Frank/NPS

Creates Regional Wildlife Movement Councils. These councils will develop regional plans that identify important areas on non-federal lands where key projects can improve wildlife movements. This will ensure habitat connectivity across the country is enhanced beyond public lands, and will allow wildlife to survive and thrive across the landscape. 

Creates a National Coordinating Committee. This committee will strengthen collaboration between the national system on public lands and the regional councils, which will oversee corridor efforts on state, private, and tribal lands. 

Creates a National Wildlife Corridor Database. This database that will include standardized, quality data, and will allow wildlife managers to make informed wildlife corridor decisions across the United States.

Thank you Senator Tom Udall & Congressman Beyer!

 

mule deer

Mule deer on the Red Desert to Hoback Migration Route in Wyoming. Photo Mark Thornhoff, BLM.

Overall, this legislation is a big step forward for wildlife and wildlife managers. Please join the National Wildlife Federation in thanking Senator Udall and Congressman Beyer for their conservation leadership.

Click to tweet a thank you to Senator Udall

Click to tweet a thank you to Congressman Beyer

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