Marking a significant step for wildlife conservation, the Wildlife Corridors Conservation Act along with $400 million for projects to reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions, passed the United States House of Representatives as part of H.R. 3684, the INVEST in America Act. These important provisions will safeguard biodiversity while helping stimulate the U.S. economy, mitigate climate impacts, and reduce highway fatalities.
Colorado residents and millions of annual visitors alike enjoy the state’s dramatic landscapes, abundant recreation opportunities, and iconic wildlife. So it’s not surprising that Colorado recently became the latest state to pass legislation to safeguard habitat connectivity and wildlife corridors, which are essential for healthy ecosystems. Protecting the ability of wildlife to move freely across the landscape is a win-win-win: it allows animals to meet their needs, enhances driver safety, and supports recreation opportunities for hunters, anglers, and wildlife viewers.
Wildlife-vehicle collisions take a toll on our environment and society in many ways. They endanger wildlife populations, cause human injuries and deaths, and cost US taxpayers billions of dollars a year. Well-designed wildlife road-crossing structures are a proven solution but are not without challenges. Two reports recently published by the US Forest Service—with contributions from Center for Large Landscape Conservation staff—address these challenges while providing useful information on costs, benefits, and planning of crossing structures.
The Biden administration has proposed a bold conservation agenda to address biodiversity, environmental justice, and climate change. Through an executive order and a subsequent report, the administration proposes an unprecedented and visionary response to the current environmental crises. However, this guidance does not detail how the principles, priorities, and objectives outlined in the report will be implemented. The Center for Large Landscape Conservation and partners have provided a potential roadmap for how to achieve these ambitious goals.
Collaborative landscape conservation is increasingly important as our country faces emerging challenges to address climate change, biodiversity, environmental justice, conservation of working lands, and rebuilding our economy. Join the Network for Landscape Conservation for the Policy Forum webinar “The Future of Landscape Conservation: Investments in Science and Networks for Biodiversity, Climate, and Cultural Conservation Goals,” which will highlight needed investments to meet these current conservation challenges.
Recently, the United Nations General Assembly adopted an unprecedented resolution recognizing the critical importance of ecological connectivity worldwide. The resolution, sponsored by Kyrgyzstan and signed by 60 other countries, encourages all 193 country members to enhance habitat and species connectivity to preserve ecosystems and wildlife corridors that share borders between countries.
The Network for Landscape Conservation is hosting a Virtual Policy Forum Series on the future of landscape conservation—a chance to learn from leaders in the field, share ideas, and explore together the challenges and opportunities necessary for conservation success. The Forums are open to everyone and are a particularly useful resource for policymakers and practitioners to help navigate the changing political, economic, social, and environmental landscapes.
As we deal with the economic and health fallout of COVID-19, and look to rebuild our economy and future, the smartest recovery plans will include measures to conserve wildlife habitat connectivity. Projects designed to connect habitat—such as wildlife crossing structures that span roads and highways—not only create healthier and safer landscapes and communities; they also create local jobs, bolster domestic manufacturing, provide a boost to the outdoor recreation industry, and stimulate ecological restoration economies.
As people throughout the United States—and across the globe—contend with a major pandemic, we also continue to face another grave threat: climate change. One only needs to pick up a newspaper or turn on the television to learn of the most recent natural disaster to devastate a community, from forest fires and extreme drought to hurricanes and floods.