Minister Halland announced progress towards preserving and restoring wildlife corridors and habitat connectivity

Date: Thursday, April 7, 2022
Contact: Interior_Press@ios.doi.gov

Washington Today, Home Secretary Deb Haaland announced several measures the department is taking to advance its work on wildlife corridors. The Department’s efforts will focus on preserving and restoring wildlife corridors and connecting habitats in a way that supports conservation outcomes, respects the rights of private landowners, and encourages collaboration with other federal agencies, state and local governments, tribes and other stakeholders.

To maintain healthy species and ecosystems, fish and wildlife must have the freedom to move and migrate. But as habitats and migration routes continue to be affected by climate change and become fragmented by roads, fences, energy development, and other man-made barriers, wildlife struggles to reach areas necessary to feed, reproduce, and find shelter.” Halland’s secretary. “Enhancing wildlife migration corridors and habitat connectivity is a top priority for conservation, and we are committed to developing strong partnerships and providing the resources and tools needed to support healthy wildlife populations across the country.”

Secretary Halland made the announcements today during a virtual event today with representatives from the Federation of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, the Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resources Trust, the Native American Fish and Wildlife Society, and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

Secretary Haaland announced $2.5 million in grants, which matched another $7 million in contributions, which will be distributed among seven states and three tribes for a total of 13 projects through Improving habitat quality in western great game migration corridors and connecting habitats a program. The grant program, which was initially created following Secretary’s Order 3362, is administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and receives funding from the Department of the Interior, Department of Agriculture, and private partners.

The Secretary also announced a first-of-its-kind agreement between the Fish and Wildlife Service and the Native American Fish and Wildlife Society to coordinate support, participation, and leverage of the National Conservation Training Center to meet conservation needs, such as improving wildlife corridors and connectivity. The Department has undertaken to finance this work with an initial commitment of $450,000.

And the USGS, working in collaboration with state and tribal wildlife agencies, has just published its second volume Migrations of ungulates from the western United States Report. The report provides detailed maps of trails, stops, routes, and wintering ranges so that migration can be taken into account by state and federal transportation officials, land and wildlife managers, planners, and other conservationists working to preserve large game migrations in the western states.

During her remarks, Minister Haaland also outlined how the Home Office will enhance its work on wildlife corridors through a number of steps, including:

  • Invest in cooperative conservation opportunities To support strategies that promote lasting conservation outcomes. These collaborative efforts will support connected lands, water, and thriving fish and wildlife populations, reflect local needs and priorities, and improve people’s quality of life. This includes continued implementation of the Secretary’s Order 3362 through state-led science support, priority big game migration habitat identification, technical assistance, and project implementation to enhance the conservation of large game species and the sagebrush ecosystem.
  • Setting research priorities, data collection, analysis and mapping To identify key habitats, including seasonal ranges, stopover areas, migration routes and bottlenecks.
  • Cooperate with and support Tribal partners are conducting new wildlife migration movement studies and associated mapping as well as using existing migration data to enhance the tribal wildlife corridor and habitat contact priorities.
  • Update agency policiesand, where appropriate, to identify and prioritize conservation and restoration of wildlife corridors as well as other lands and waters that enhance habitat connectivity in partnership with state and tribal wildlife managers and other stakeholders.

On May 6, 2021, the Biden-Harris administration filed a America the Beautiful initiative, an ambitious vision for how the United States can work collaboratively to achieve a national, locally led goal of conserving 30 percent of the land and waters of the United States by 2030. Enhancing wildlife corridors and habitat connectivity is an early focus of this effort and serves as an opportunity to embrace the efforts voluntary conservation for farmers, ranchers, and forest owners; leadership of sovereign tribal states; the contributions and stewardship traditions of the hunters, fishermen, and fishing communities of America; and collaboration between states, local communities, and federal agency partners.

In addition, President Biden’s bipartisan Infrastructure Act, the Great American Outdoors Act, and the Land and Water Conservation Fund provide important opportunities for investments in collaborative conservation. These restoration and conservation investments will expand the Department’s ability to enhance wildlife corridors and drive effective and meaningful conservation outcomes including migration corridors.

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