June 2019 - In This Issue:
News from Staying Connected

The Staying Connected Initiative held a two-day retreat in Orford, Quebec early in May, where we were joined by over 60 partner representatives and friends to celebrate our 10th year of connectivity work in the region, share success stories, and begin envisioning where we want to be a decade from now. Appalachian Corridor colleagues hosted a field trip the first morning of the retreat for us to learn about their connectivity work at one of their new land protection projects. In this vein, the rest of the first day was focused on learning from each other-through sessions where partners and invited guests shared their experiences applying science to inform connectivity work and innovative approaches underway around land use planning, community engagement, transportation, policy, protection and conservation finance to advance our connectivity strategies.

On the second day, we focused on looking forward: identifying what success would look like at the linkage, state/province and regional scale ten years from now and enabling conditions needed to get there. Based on this, we identified a series of policy, fundraising and communications opportunities we might focus on in coming years, to help us further scale and leverage our connectivity work.

I was awed by the incredible work SCI partners are doing across the region and the impact we are having working together to achieve connectivity goals across a vast geography. The level of energy and enthusiasm displayed at the retreat was amazing. The discussions around defining success and how to get there will help set a road map for SCI moving forward, and further engage partners, funders and others to help us achieve SCI's ambitious vision. Many thanks to those of you who were able to join us in Orford, to Jessie Levine in particular for organizing this event, and to the many people who helped with planning, organizing and pulling off such an inspiring retreat!

Dirk Bryant
SCI Executive Committee Chair 
©Jed Merrow
SCI Partner Exchange in China

SCI partner Jed Merrow of McFarland and Johnson recently participated in an academic exchange on transportation-wildlife issues with the Chinese National Transportation Department while on vacation in China. The exchanged was prompted through a connection made with Wang Yun from the Research Center for Environment Protection at the China Academy of Transportation Sciences at a past ICOET meeting. Jed shared information on Vermont's wildlife crossing and connectivity initiatives and had the opportunity to learn about connectivity research happening in China, including research on amphibian crossings. Access the full Chinese PowerPoint here.  
©Appalachian Corridor
New Land Protection in Quebec 

Appalachian Corridor and Conservation Espace Nature Shefford (CENS) are pleased to announce the protection of nearly 41 hectares (101 acres) in the Bromont-Shefford wildlife corridor. Acquired by CENS, a long-time partner and affiliate of Appalachian Corridor, this new acquisition protects forest and wetland habitats, allowing the movement of species between Brome and Shefford Mountains on both sides of Highway 10. This addition contributes to a total of 13,593 hectares (33,589 acres) protected by Appalachian Corridor and partners in the Appalachian region in southern Quebec. Other soon-to-be protected parcels will further enhance connectivity in this area. 
Click here for more information or contact Mylène Alarie
©Bethany Lynn Walsh
Chignecto Isthmus 2.0: Planning for Another Decade of Success

After a decade of  significant conservation gains  in the Chignecto Isthmus linkage, partners are seeking funding to facilitate a collaborative planning process to develop a renewed conservation agenda, affectionately being referred to as 'Isthmus 2.0'.  The Chignecto Isthmus is traditional territory of the Mi' k maw, and groups on both sides of the border have expressed interest in participating. Nearly completed research from Dalhousie University's Amelia Barnes and Dr. Karen Beazley will advance knowledge of wildlife and road interactions, help identify high conflict areas, and inform discussions about mitigation needs. This research will be supplemented by the Wildpaths Maritimes iNaturalist project, aiming to engage local residents while expanding wildlife and transportation data. Finally, under the Canada Nature Fund, partners including land trusts, municipal interests and the provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick are also looking to advance new land protection. Contact Craig Smith for more information. 
© Joe Klementovich, Kimball Hill in Groton, NH
New Hampshire's Wildlife Connectivity Bill 

New Hampshire's Wildlife Connectivity Bill, SB 200, was introduced earlier this year in the NH Senate by Senator David Watters (D) and has two Republican co-sponsors, Senators Jeb Bradley and Ruth Ward. The bill "requires the recognition and protection of wildlife corridors and habitat strongholds as public good." It prioritizes  "areas containing diverse ecological and geological characteristics" (i.e., TNC's resilience science) and explains that "wildlife corridors assist in adapting to warming temperatures and shifting habitats and creating habitat strongholds, protect ecosystem health and biodiversity, and improve the resiliency...to climate change". The bill defines wildlife corridors as "a habitat linkage that joins two or more areas of wildlife habitat, allowing for fish passage or the movement of wildlife from one area to another" and habitat strongholds as "a high-quality habitat that supports the ability of wildlife to be more resilient to increasing pressures on species due to climate change and land development".

The bill also amends existing legislation to incorporate these new definitions of wildlife corridors and habitat strongholds- adding new language to the Community Heritage Investment Program (a statewide funding source for conservation of natural and historical resources), and a new section in the Administration of Transportation Laws asking NH DOT to consider wildlife corridors and strongholds in road mitigation and project planning.

The evidence base used to structure SB 200 builds off a 2016 bill (SB 376) on wildlife corridors, which required a comprehensive report developed by New Hampshire Fish and Game. While the language of SB 200 is non-binding, SCI partners see the bill as a valuable step towards a greater emphasis on the need to maintain habitat connectivity in New Hampshire. The bill is currently under consideration by the state Senate following passage in the New Hampshire house, and will hopefully reach the Governors desk soon to be signed into law. Read more.
Functional Connectivity Research - Share Your Data 

The Bren School of the Environmental Science & Management (University of California, Santa Barbara) is supporting a graduate student project to help SCI better assess and monitor connectivity. We have a team of master's students working with us for a 12-month period to help us identify new approaches for incorporating functional connectivity monitoring into our work (e.g. telemetry, game cameras, and tracking that can determine where species are actually present and moving across landscapes). Based on existing functional connectivity analysis, they will help us test and calibrate measures of structural connectivity (e.g. land cover and other metrics, used to predict connectivity) in order to monitor changes in connectivity at a regional scale, at relatively low cost. This will allow us to complete and apply a connectivity measures framework a number of SCI colleagues developed some years ago. Bren students have already begun reaching out to a number of SCI partners and others for input on functional connectivity studies within our geography, and for access to data. Your assistance and support will be critical if they are to complete this project, which will be invaluable to SCI in documenting the importance and impact of our work. Many thanks to the Bren team for stepping up to help us out!
©Morgan Rice
Canadian Maritimes Ecological Connectivity Forum 2019
Over 110 diverse attendees from across Atlantic Canada gathered at Dalhousie University in April for the Canadian Maritimes Ecological Connectivity Forum. Attendees included government agencies, academia, First Nations organizations, industry representatives and NGO's, many of whom are SCI partners. 

A primary purpose of the Forum was to advance Resolution 40-3 of the New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers, which acknowledges the need to work across landscapes and borders to restore and maintain ecological connectivity. Speakers addressed challenges and opportunities to improve connectivity on various scales, both between the Canadian Maritime provinces, such as in the Chignecto Isthmus, and beyond. The forum was a great step forward in fostering the regional and international relationships that will be critical to Resolution 40-3's success. View forum presentations.
Maine's New Conservation Action Tracker 

Maine's 2015-2025 Wildlife Action Plan identified habitat connectivity as one of three priority conservation needs. In order to track progress on this and other conservation initiatives across the state, Maine recently launched the State Wildlife Action Plan Conservation Action Tracker (SWAP CAT) The SWAP CAT allows partners to map conservation projects, search for other projects and partners, and track Maine's progress on addressing at-risk species, habitats, and stressors. The SWAP CAT was developed in conjunction with several key SCI partners and includes projects from culvert replacements to habitat restoration. For more information or to contribute information to the SWAP CAT,  contact Amanda Shearin at the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.
Updates on Quebec's Ecological Corridors Initiative 

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) released this recent newsletter highlighting progress on the Ecological Corridors project. Launched last summer, the project aims to link southern Quebec's conservation initiatives with those of neighboring provinces and states in a common vision that promotes ecological corridors and integrates climate change adaptation. In order to maintain the enthusiasm of the fifty or so experts and stakeholders involved so far, including many SCI partners, NCC held various workshops over the winter to identify collaborative practices to promote conservation, citizen science and mobilize communities. To date, more than 350 municipal representatives and landowners have been reached under the project. Toolboxes for conservation managers, municipalities, forest stakeholders and the general public are under development. M arketing efforts are also ramping up with increased attention through social media, press releases and public events. The new logo shown here and this bilingual story map also help tell the story of this multifaceted initiative. The project is funded primarily by the Fonds verts of the Quebec government and the Woodcock Foundation. Learn more about this project
Upcoming Events

September 22-26, 2019: International Conference on Ecology and Transportation (ICOET) , Sacramento, California. 

October 7-10, 2019:  Canadian Parks Conference, Quebec City.

October 17-19, 2019: Land Trust Alliance Rally, Raleigh, North Carolina. 

November 13, 2019:  Regional Conservation Partnership Network Gathering, Amherst, MA. 

June 11-19, 2020:  World Conservation Congress 2020, Marseilles, France.

September 20-23, 2020: Northeastern Transportation and Wildlife Conference, Atlantic City, NJ.
The Staying Connected Initiative promotes wildlife habitat connections in an increasingly fragmented landscape. This unique cross-border public/private collaboration includes over 65 partners, spanning five northeastern U.S. states and three Canadian provinces, working to ensure that people and wildlife thrive together.