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Recognizing Governors who Recognize the Need for Wildlife Habitat Connectivity

Conservationists urge action after precedent-setting resolution

Mount Pelier, VT (August 30, 2016) — Conservationists across New England and Eastern Canada are applauding the adoption by their governors and premiers of a joint resolution recognizing the importance of wildlife habitat connectivity, and advocating for its conservation.  Scientists, land-owners, outdoorspeople, and professional conservationists celebrated the move — particularly those representing organizations like Wildlands Network, Two Countries One Forest and the Staying Connected Initiative that have worked for years with local, state, and national governments to keep the northeast ecologically connected.

Wildlands Network Executive Director, Greg Costello, emphasized the precedent that the cross-border governors and premiers can set with their resolution, and the actions that should stem from it:  “If governors and premiers in others regions of the eastern and mid-western US and Canada will follow the lead of these heads of state, continental wildways could become politically feasible.  Such large-scale wildlife corridors are urgently needed biologically, yet difficult to implement politically.”

Conservation biologist Karen Beazley, of Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and co-author of From the Adirondacks to Acadia: A Wildlands Network Design for the Northern Appalachians, sees the governors’ and premiers’ resolution as acknowledgement of real threats to northeastern forests.  “New England and Eastern Canada share wildlife and habitat pathways critical to northward migrations across state, provincial and national boundaries in response to climate change. I applaud the Governors and Premiers for taking this significant step in ensuring those pathways are connected, protected and restored, now and into the future,” says Beazley.

Wildlands Network Policy Director, Susan Holmes, noted that the new resolution is being adopted at a time when federal officials are finally recognizing the importance of habitat connectivity.  “The New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers can do even more good by convincing their colleagues in the U.S. Congress to pass a Wildlife Corridors Act, which would establish a system of wildlife corridors on U.S. public lands,” Holmes noted.

Among the many regional species that need connected habitats, and that could benefit from the governors’ and premiers’ resolution, are bobcat, lynx, black bear, fisher, river otter, moose, songbirds, salamanders, trout, salmon, eel, shad, and wildflowers.  But a resolution alone, note local ecologists, will not save these species.  Core and connecting lands and waters will need to be permanently saved, and barriers to wildlife movement physically removed or mitigated.  Wildlands Network and it partners are urging the governors and premiers to take the next step and recommend specific steps ensuring protection of large, wild core areas and the wildlife corridors between them, and safe wildlife crossings on major roads.

According to outdoor adventurer John Davis, who has hiked, biked and paddled the northeastern wildlife corridors identified in regional conservation designs, “We urge these visionary officials to now recommend and fund on-the-ground projects that protect and restore natural flows of wildlife and water.”

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Wildlands Network envisions a world where nature is unbroken, and where humans co-exist in harmony with the land and its wild inhabitants. Our mission is to reconnect, restore, and rewild North America so life in all its diversity can thrive.

Contacts

John Davis, 518-810-2189

Kathy Henley, 303-601-7125, kathy@wildlandsnetwork.org

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