Winter 2016 - In This Issue:
Photo courtesy of Cold Hollow to Canada  
News from Staying Connected
Welcome to the first Staying Connected Initiative (SCI) newsletter! Through this newsletter, we hope to inform and inspire SCI partners and friends about our multi-faceted work to sustain the forested landscape connections across this binational region, for the benefit of nature and people. 

This first newsletter captures a few recent highlights from SCI partners, but I know there are many more stories to be shared.  If you have news to contribute - updates from your work, upcoming events, relevant research for the SCI community - please let me know. For day-to-day information-sharing, please continue to use

I am happy to have joined SCI as the new coordinator several months ago. As coordinator, my role is to work closely with SCI's Steering Committee and to lead and support a number of SCI's regional efforts. If you have any questions, p lease don't hesitate to get in touch .

Thanks to Margo Morrison, Laura Marx, Marie-France Moquin, Barbara Charry,  and Louise Gratton for their contributions to this first newsletter.

Warm regards,
Jessie Levine
SCI Joins with Two Countries, One Forest

Recognizing our closely  aligned visions and networks focused on conserving this globally significant transboundary region, the Staying Connected Initiative formally joined forces with Two Countries, One Forest (2C1Forest) in December 2015.  SCI is now a program of 2C1Forest, creating opportunities to enhance landscape conservation on both sides of the border. Together, we are uniting a broad range of partners from Canada and the U.S. to pursue our shared vision. Launched  in 2007,  2 C1Forest is a registered conservation organization in Canada and the United States, dedicated to protecting the natural heritage of the bi-national Northern Appalachian-Acadian region. Visit the 2C1Forest website to learn more.  
Functional Connectivity Workshop
Join SCI Partners in Lake Placid, NY, in September 

For the fall 2016 Northeastern Transportation and Wildlife Conference, SCI partners - Vermont's Agency of Transportation and Agency of Natural Resources - are organizing a panel session and a workshop focusing on the use of wildlife cameras to assess functional connectivity. The panel session will include presentations about wildlife camera and tracking studies around the SCI region. The workshop will provide an opportunity for practitioners to discuss methods, protocols, and lessons learned. I nterested in helping to organize these sessions or in participating? C ontac t James Brady or Jens Hilke.
©Mike Dembeck
Launch of Chignecto Wildlife Camera Study

Thanks to a grant from the New Brunswick Wildlife Trust Fund, SCI partner Nature Conservancy of Canada has launched a wildlife camera study to better understand the use of roads and adjacent land by wildlife in the Chignecto Isthmus linkage, a narrow 23- kilometer (14-mile) strip of land joining mainland Nova Scotia to New Brunswick and the rest of the continent. The study will focus on a landscape pinch point - previously identified through modeling - where three highways cut across the isthmus and have the potential to create multiple barriers to wildlife movement. Results of the camera study, combined with future winter tracking efforts and analysis of road kill data, will be shared with the New Brunswick Department of Transportation and Infrastructure, along with recommendations for possible mitigation solutions. Learn more.
© Berkshire Environmental Action Team
Mink Catalyzes Land Protection in Greens to Hudson Highlands

In our newest linkage, the Green Mountains to Hudson Highlands, SCI partners like to tell the story of the mink that does land protection. In western Massachusetts, The Nature Conservancy and the Hilltown Land Trust are working to close on two parcels that will be conserved thanks to the journey of an individual mink who slid, leapt, and hunted his/her way down these parcels of private land before crossing a major road to get to state-owned wildlife habitat land. The mink's tracks (shown in the photo) and story captured the attention and generosity of the landowners, who will be donating their land to help fill gaps in a wildlife corridor within the linkage. The partnership is now assessing road-stream crossings on this road (and many others) as they work to achieve a habitat connectivity vision through the linkage.  Learn more.
Google Trekker and Connectivity Conservation in the Northern Greens

In the Canadian portion of the Northern Green Mountains linkage, SCI partners, including Appalachian Corridor and Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC), are collaborating to expand the Green Mountain Nature Reserve, which is currently 7000 hectares (17,000 acres) and provides habitat for large-ranging mammals including moose, bobcat, and black bear. Last fall, NCC staff had the opportunity to capture images of the reserve's natural beauty using Google Trekker, a 19-kilogram (42-pound) backpack-mounted camera.  Once processed, the images will be stitched together and published in Google Maps to tell the story of this special place and its importance for habitat connectivity,  and to allow Quebecers and people around the world to visit the reserve virtually. Learn more.
Staff from Maine Audubon and Maine DOT survey a crossing.  (©Maine Audubon)
Maine Terrestrial Wildlife Crossings Survey Report

The new Maine Terrestrial Wildlife Crossings Survey Report shares results from work performed during the summer and fall of 2014. Maine Audubon, in collaboration with SCI partners - Maine Department of Transportation, Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, and The Nature Conservancy -  conducted a pilot project to survey and evaluate existing road crossings in Maine for retrofit potential for wildlife passage.  This project used the "Permeability of Existing Structures for Terrestrial Wildlife: A Passage Assessment System (PAS)," originally developed for the West. The report includes a new version of the PAS, adapted for the wetter conditions of the SCI region.
T h e wildlife crossing routes in the study are potential key habitat connectors for wildlife movement in SCI's Northeast Kingdom  to Western Maine Linkage. Project partners  are meeting with state wildlife and transportation agency staff, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and aquatic stream restoration practitioners to share results, discuss opportunities for using these results, and identify further information needed to increase and improve the safe movement of wildlife through road infrastructure.  Read the report.
Functional Connectivity Research Funding in Three Borders 

With the new year came great news for the Quebec team of the Three Borders Linkage. After several meetings about the importance of better addressing connectivity issues along the TransCanada Highway (Highway 85) upgrade project,  the Quebec Ministry of Transportation has granted $87,000 for  research to model and validate wildlife c orridors along a 40-kilometer (25-mile) str etc h o f the highway.  Th e target species are moose, deer, black bear, and Canada lynx . The timing for the project is ideal, since roadwork to finalize the upgrade will resume in 2017. The research will be undertaken by  Dr. Martin-Hugues St-Laurent, a large mammals specialist from l'Université du Québec à Rimouski, in collaboration with Louise Gratton from Two Countries, One Forest. Learn more
SCI Communications Materials

These new communications materials about SCI and the importance of habitat connectivity were developed for everyone to use and share.
Please share your SCI-related news and events. We plan to send newsletters seasonally, and we want to hear from you!