Early Winter 2018 - In This Issue:
©Larry Master
News from Staying Connected

Dear SCI partners and supporters,

This is an exciting time to be working on connectivity conservation. Earlier this week, at a connectivity science workshop in Montreal, over 100 people came together to hear from leading researchers and agency staff about new science and policy opportunities. We learned about the newly forming connectivity work group for Pathway to Canada Target 1, which will help inform a pan-Canadian connectivity strategy. We also heard about the U.S. Wildlife Corridors Conservation Act of 2018, introduced on December 6. If passed, the act will establish a National Wildlife Corridors Program to facilitate designation of wildlife corridors on federal lands and provide grants to protect wildlife corridors on non-federal lands. Workshop participants shared ideas about how to accelerate implementation, how to improve social acceptability, and how to measure success of connectivity conservation. I look forward to sharing a synthesis of those ideas with you later this winter.

Please mark your calendars for the SCI all-partners gathering, May 7-8, 2019, in Orford, Quebec. A team of SCI steering committee members is busy preparing for this event, where we will celebrate and take stock of our ten years as a partnership. Registrations will open in January. Until then, I wish you all a healthy and joyful holiday season!

Jessie Levine,  SCI Coordinator
©Google Earth
Multi-Partner Connectivity Restoration Project in Vermont

A number of SCI partners in Vermont - including The Nature Conservancy (TNC), Vermont Agency of Transportation  (VTrans), Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department (VTFW), and Lamoille County Planning Commission (LCPC) - along with the Town of Wolcott - have begun work on a new implementation project along a major fragmenting road in an important wildlife area in the Worcesters to Northeast Kingdom linkage. The project includes multiple actions to restore site scale connectivity and resilience, with partners bringing unique expertise and resources:
  • VTrans will modify an existing bridge on VT Route 15 to add a shelf for wildlife passage, remove a derelict bridge nearby, and restore the site. 
  • TNC provided the science that identified the site, raised $225,000 from a private foundation, and is managing the project.   
  • VTFW is overseeing wetland and floodplain forest restoration to increase resilience and habitat connectivity alongside the roadway.
  • VTFW and Vermont Land Trust have conserved lands adjacent to the road. 
  • LCPC is playing a liaison role between the SCI partners, the Town, and adjacent landowners.
Funding for the wetland and floodplain forest restoration design and implementation - $30,000 - is being provided by Vermont's Department of Environmental Conservation. The rest of the project, including the bridge work and tree planting, is funded by the Canaday Family Charitable Trust. 

This new Vermont Public Radio story highlights the project, and this press release discusses Governor Phil Scott's visit to the site, connecting the project to the New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers Resolution on Ecological Connectivity.   For more information,  contact Paul Marangelo
©The Nature Conservancy in Vermont
SCI Partners' Collective Achievements 

44 SCI partners recently completed a survey about their connectivity work in 2017. Here are some highlights of the combined accomplishments of these partners:

  • Research projects initiated or completed: 26
  • Land protection projects completed: 44,088 acres / 17,842 ha
  • Number of landowners in priority ownerships engaged: 200
  • Crossing sites assessed for connectivity: 141
  • Number of barriers mitigated: 7
  • Number of municipalities or regional commissions reached: 127
  • Number of municipalities or regional commissions that added connectivity provisions to land use plans: 16
  • Reports: 21
  • Workshop presentations: 62
  • News media articles: 85
Thanks to the partners who provided information about their work! We look forward to repeating the survey annually to track our progress as a partnership.
©Bethany Lynn Walsh
Chignecto Road Watch Study 

Dalhousie University graduate student Amelia Barnes has been studying how roads affect wildlife, focusing her work in the Chignecto Isthmus, the SCI linkage area between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. Last summer, Amelia conducted roadkill surveys on a weekly or biweekly basis along 12 roads that intersect the isthmus. This pilot study, the first to systematically collect roadkill data in the region, was made possible by funding from the New Brunswick Wildlife Trust Fund and the Nova Scotia Habitat Conservation Fund In partnership with Nature Conservancy of Canada, data from the study were added to the Wildpaths Maritimes iNaturalist page to promote citizen participation in monitoring roadkill. Currently, preliminary spatial analysis is being performed on the data to determine base rates of mortality and identify clusters of incidents to help direct future surveys. Partners are hopeful that transportation planners in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia will use the results  to inform collision mitigation decisions (such as wildlife fencing coupled with a crossing structure) at problem spots for both human and wildlife safety, as well as for wildlife habitat connectivity.  For more information, contact Amelia Barnes.

©The Nature Conservancy in MA
Land Protection Catalyst Fund Expands to Become a Four-State Program

The Green Mountains to Hudson Highlands (Berkshire Wildlife) linkage is soliciting applications for land protection projects for its Catalyst Fund. Projects in New York state are now eligible for funding, making this a four-state program (MA, VT, CT, and NY) covering the entirety of the linkage. The g rant program, which is offered through the Nature Conservancy in Massachusetts, started in May 2017 thanks to a generous donation from the Jessie B. Cox Charitable Trust. So far, awards have gone to projects to protect over 1,000 acres in three states, including the parcel pictured here.  The program covers up to $15,000 in due diligence funding for priority connectivity projects that have a bargain sale or donation component. The application form can be found here For more information, contact Laura Marx
©Vermont Fish and Wildlife
SCI Shares Expertise in the Yukon

In October, the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative (Y2Y) and the Yukon Conservation Society hosted a team of outside experts to help advise Ministry staff and First Nations in the Yukon on connectivity. The Territory is preparing for major expansions to its road network - it recently received $400 million for road development from the federal government - for resource extraction. SCI partner  Jens Hilke from the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department was an invited advisor, along with Jodi Hilty, Y2Y President and Chief Scientist, and Rob Ament, Road Ecology Program Manager for the Western Transportation Institute. Jens shared his expertise on inter-agency coordination between transportation and natural resource staff, ways to mitigate the impacts of roads on wildlife, SCI's landscape scale approach to conservation, and land-use planning tactics for local communities. The exchange builds on the increased collaboration and information sharing between SCI and Y2Y over the last year.
© Nature Conservancy of  Canada
New Story Map to Promote Connectivity Projects in Quebec 

Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) has launched a new interactive story map to highlight its project Ecological Corridors: A Climate Change Adaptation Strategy. The story map highlights various connectivity strategies and successes in southern Quebec that involve nearly 100 experts and stakeholders. Implementation is led by NCC, Nature Action-Québec, Appalachian Corridor, Éco-corridors Laurentiens, Horizon nature Bas-Saint-Laurent, le Conseil régional de l'environnement du Centre-du-Québec, and Staying Connected. 

The story map also provides information about SCI's linkage areas and additional connectivity projects in Quebec. For more information, or to add your project,  contact Kateri Monticone 
©International Institute for Sustainable Development
Infrastructure Impacts on Connectivity and Biodiversity Highlighted at Biodiversity COP in Egypt

Sustainable Infrastructure Day took place at the UN Convention on Biological Diversity Conference of the Parties (COP-14) in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt in November. The event, sponsored by the Center for Large Landscape Conservation, The Nature Conservancy (TNC), World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the United Nations Environment Program, and others, helped launch two weeks of discussions on the need to mainstream biodiversity into development processes, including infrastructure development. Panelists highlighted the coming wave of infrastructure projects, the importance of including biodiversity considerations at the outset of infrastructure planning processes, the value of natural capital to maintain connectivity, and the roles of finance and industry engagement in developing sustainable projects.  WWF and TNC produced this short film about the event. 
©Appalachian Corridor
Appalachian Corridor Celebrates 15th Anniversary 

Fifteen years ago, three nature lovers - Louise Gratton, Francine Hone and the late Terri Monahan - developed and launched an ambitious conservation project to protect the natural corridor in the Northern Green Mountains in Quebec. Since then, with unwavering support from its partners, Appalachian Corridor has pursued the vision of its founders. Since the inception of Appalachian Corridor, the area protected on private lands has expanded from 400 ha (990 acres) to more than 13,300 hectares (32,900 acres). Other achievements include  work with municipalities, influencing land use planning, outreach, collaborative studies about how to mitigate the impact of Highway 10 on wildlife, and organizing a road ecology conference in Quebec City.  To celebrate their 15th anniversary, team members got outside with partners to visit some of the most inspiring sites they've conserved, like the one pictured here. Learn more about Appalachian Corridor's success here.
Upcoming Events

April 24-25, 2019: Canadian Maritime Ecological Connectivity Forum, Halifax, Nova Scotia. For more information, contact Morgan Rice .

May 7-8, 2019: SCI Partners Retreat, Orford, Quebec. Registration information will be available in January 2019. For more information, contact Jessie Levine.


The Staying Connected Initiative promotes wildlife habitat connections in an increasingly fragmented landscape. This unique cross-border public/private collaboration includes over 55 partners, spanning five northeastern U.S. states and three Canadian provinces, working to ensure that people and wildlife thrive together.