Newly Introduced Legislation Will Conserve and Restore Wildlife Corridors
Habitat Fragmentation Threatens to Prevent Species from Migrating
WASHINGTON (April 21, 2010) – John F. Calvelli, the Wildlife Conservation Society’s (WCS) Executive Vice President of Public Affairs, applauded Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ) for his leadership and vision in introducing the Wildlife Corridors Conservation Act. The bill, which was co-sponsored by Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO), seeks to protect critical wildlife corridors through a comprehensive approach of information dissemination, grant allocation and oversight over government land-use management.
“Habitat fragmentation is a danger to many of North America’s most treasured but threatened species.This legislation ensures effective government coordination to address this critical issue,” said Calvelli. “The Wildlife Conservation Society thanks Rep. Holt and his staff for their efforts in conserving habitat and corridor connectivity, and we look forward to working with them to pass this historic bill.”
WCS is recognized as a leader in corridor conservation research. Its Corridor Conservation Initiative works with businesses, the outdoor recreation industry, the conservation community and other key decision makers to increase support and public backing for wildlife corridor conservation across North America. For example, since 2003 WCS has been studying a migration route of pronghorn antelope in western Wyoming, known as the Path of the Pronghorn. Recently, the U.S. Forest Service, the National Park Service and the National Wildlife Refuge System pledged to work together to support the protection of this important corridor.
In addition, Jodi Hilty, the director of WCS’s North America Program, wrote a book on the subject, titled, “Corridor Ecology: The Science and Practice of Linking Landscapes for Biodiversity Conservation.” In October 2009, WCS researchers including Dr. Hilty and Keith Aune hosted Rep. Holt at a hike of Montana’s Glacier National Park for an up-close assessment of the habitat connectivity principles described in the book, many of which are embodied by the new legislation.
The Wildlife Corridors Conservation Act includes several provisions to produce similar collaboration, including:
Creating a program within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to collect and disseminate information about wildlife movement paths to states and federal agencies;
- Establishing a Wildlife Corridors Stewardship and Protection Fund to provide grants to federal agencies, states, local governments, nonprofits and corporations for the management and protection of essential wildlife corridors;
- Requiring that the Department of the Interior, Department of Agriculture and Department of Transportation consider corridor preservation in their management plans.
The Wildlife Conservation Society saves wildlife and wild places worldwide. We do so through science, global conservation, education and the management of the world's largest system of urban wildlife parks, led by the flagship Bronx Zoo. Together these activities change attitudes towards nature and help people imagine wildlife and humans living in harmony. WCS is committed to this mission because it is essential to the integrity of life on Earth.
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