March 2019 - In This Issue:
Winter at TNC's Green Hills Preserve, NH, ©Ben Herndon
News from Staying Connected

Dear SCI partners,

As the temperatures climb and the snow begins to melt, we are busy planning for some exciting events this spring:
  • In April, I will be joining SCI partners from Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and elsewhere for the Canadian Maritimes Ecological Connectivity Forum in Halifax. We will hear from practitioners, government agency staff, and researchers about best practices around the world and work underway in the Atlantic provinces.
  • In May, many of us will gather for the SCI Partners Retreat, where we will celebrate a decade of collaboration to conserve and restore the connected landscape of the Northern Appalachian-Acadian region and plan our next steps as a partnership. Over 50 people representing all of the states and provinces in our region, along with colleagues from neighboring regions, will be in attendance. For those registered, we will be sharing the full program soon.
Finally, I am inspired to see connectivity conservation gaining increasing attention within state, provincial, and federal levels in both Canada and the U.S. This newsletter includes stories on some of these developments. 

I look forward to seeing many of you in the coming months and hearing first-hand about your successes and lessons learned. 

Jessie Levine,  SCI Coordinator
Wildlife Underpasses Planned for 40 Kilometers of New Highway in Quebec 

Quebec's transportation ministry (MTQ) has designed wildlife passage construction specifications for a 40-km stretch of a new portion of Highway 185 in Quebec's Three Borders region. These include multi-use structures as well as structures designed specifically to facilitate the passage of large mammals under the highway.
Two Countries, One Forest and partners have been working in this region since 2013 to better understand wide-ranging species' use of the landscape and behavior towards barriers along Highway 185- which was planned to be upgraded from two to four lanes. Thanks to research funded by MTQ, researchers from the Université du Québec à Rimouski have answered key questions about wildlife movement on the landscape in this region. The goal of the study was to develop a methodology to model and validate wildlife corridors and to use this information to make recommendations to maint permeability and reduce the risk of collisions with vehicles. The report will be available at the end of the summer.
Since stakeholders - including NGOs, land use planners, and First Nations - have been involved in this project from the start, there is a solid foundation for future monitoring work to make sure these wildlife passages are effective in the long term. For more information,
contact Louise Gratton .
©Kent Mason
Developments in Connectivity Policy
in the U.S.

With the importance of protecting wildlife corridors gaining bi-partisan support, connectivity conservation and wildlife corridor policies in the U.S. are flourishing at the state and federal levels. At least eight states - from New England to the Pacific Northwest  are considering legislation to support wildlife crossings and corridors. In New Mexico, the House and the Senate have passed a bill ( SB 228 that would require a wildlife corridor action plan to be created for identifying, prioritizing and maintaining areas for wildlife movement. In New Hampshire, SB 200 would require the recognition and protection of wildlife corridors as a public good. In Mississippi, SB 2431  and  SB 2266  would direct the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, the Department of Environmental Quality and the Department of Transportation to identify existing and needed wildlife corridors. Other states also considering wildlife corridor bills this session include  Wyoming , Washington , Pennsylvania, Oregon and Virginia.

In Washington, DC, The National Wildlife Corridors Conservation Act is scheduled tbe reintroduced by Representative Don Beyer (D-VA) and Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) in early April. This exciting bill will establish a National Wildlife Corridors System on federal public lands and will also provide funding for states and tribes to protect wildlife corridors on non-federal lands. The legislation has the support of a broad coalition of over 150 national and regional groups as well as scientists like Dr. EO Wilson of Harvard and outdoor recreation companies such as Patagonia, Osprey and Petzl.  For more information, contact Susan Holmes of Wildlands Network. 
©Appalachian Corridor
Pathway to Canada Target 1 Connectivity Working Group
In 2017, federal, provincial, territorial, and local governments in Canada, in partnership with the Assembly of First Nations and the Metis National Council, launched the Pathway to Canada Target 1, a national initiative to help advance and coordinate efforts to conserve at least 17% of Canada's terrestrial and inland water areas through networks of protected and other conserved areas.
To help achieve the "network" element of the Target, a Connectivity Working Group was established to coordinate work that will lead to:
  • National-scale connectivity indicators for measuring structural connectivity among protected and conserved terrestrial and freshwater areas throughout Canada. These indicators will be used for measuring progress towards achieving ecological connectivity and for national and international reporting purposes.
  • Material for a conservation toolbox, such as best practices, implementation guidance, planning tools, methods and technologies that can be shared broadly to help achieve ecological connectivity among and between protected and conserved areas throughout Canada.
  • Adaptable regional-scale connectivity indicators for measuring functional connectivity among and between terrestrial and freshwater protected and conserved areas at a regional scale that can be adjusted to reflect species of local interest. These indicators will be made available for engaging stakeholders and regional management purposes.
Members of the Connectivity Working Group will be reaching out to experts and groups such as SCI partners for advice and lessons learned in the coming months.
©Sinton Edwards
Stop Carcasses! Citizen Science Project Expands in Quebec 

Largely inspired by the WildPaths project of Vermont-based SCI partner, Cold Hollow to Canada, Stop Carcasses!, spearheaded by Appalachian Corridor and Nature Conservancy of Canada, is now spreading to six new regions of Quebec: the Eastern Townships, Laurentians, Outaouais, Center-du-Québec, Bas-Saint-Laurent and Gaspésie. The citizen science project, hosted on the iNaturalist platform, encourages community members to share their observations of animals (dead or alive) along roads to help inform transportation improvement projects for wildlife. Learn more
©Carl Heilman II
Leveraging New Funding for Water Quality and Wildlife Connectivity

The Nature Conservancy's Adirondack Chapter recently secured a $537,543 grant through New York State's Regional Economic Development Council Awards to undertake new land protection in the Adirondacks-to-Tug Hill wildlife linkage. The award falls under the Water Quality Improvement Program and will fund the protection of priority tracts that contribute to both wildlife connectivity and public drinking water protection. This award is exciting because it will advance the protection of lands that provide clear benefits for people and nature. For more information, contact Alissa Fadden.
Cumberland County Incorporates Wildlife Connectivity into Municipal Planning Strategy and Land Use Bylaw

The Chignecto Isthmus linkage area - a narrow, 23 km-wide strip of land - connects mainland Nova Scotia to New Brunswick and the rest of the continent. Cumberland  County, Nova Scotia's second-largest municipality with a  population of 19,402 people, makes up most of the Nova Scotia portion of the Isthmus. Recently, the county  recognized the importance of its landscape for wildlife connectivity by including connectivity considerations in its new municipal planning strategy and land-use bylaw. The new strategy incorporates wildlife corridors identified by Nature Conservancy of Canada in its Sensitive Environments mapping, and carefully  considers impacts to planning proposals in those areas. For more information, visit the Plan Cumberland website
New Forest Restoration Manual Now Available

Nature Conservancy of Canada has released a new manual titled "New England-Acadian Forest Restoration - A Landowner's Guide to Theory and Practice."  The guide provides woodlot owners, land trusts, and protected area managers with comprehensive how-to instructions for restoring old forest conditions on degraded and converted lands. Developed with a team of experts from both the United States and Canada, the manual draws on a robust mix of scientific literature and professional experience to provide tools to effectively restore forest biodiversity.
Taking Stock of the Ecological Corridors Project in Quebec

The Ecological Corridors Project is a climate change adaptation initiative in Quebec involving  more than 100 experts and stakeholders, including several SCI partners. A new mid-term report details some of the accomplishments to date, including: 
  • ongoing work to develop an action plan to address climate change in southern Quebec
  • bringing together more than 150 landowners and municipal representatives as well as members of the forestry sector who represent more than 130,000 forest owners and producers
  • media attention in local and national outlets
  • the creation of decision support tools for municipalities, foresters, farmers, and communities
  • and the investment of $915,000(CAD) by the Government of Quebec with $550,000 obtained in additional matching funds
The Ecological Corridors project is primarily funded by the Fonds Vert (Green Fund) as part of Action-Climat Québec, the Woodcock Foundation, the Echo Foundation and the Quebec Wildlife Foundation. For more information, contact Kateri Monticone.

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. Remaining places are limited. For more information, contact Jessie Levine.

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

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