Photo credit: Nature Conservancy of Canada
News from Staying Connected - Winter 2018
Landowner Donation Protects Land in East Bolton, Quebec
Appalachian Corridor (ACA) and Conservation des vallons de la Serpentine (CVS) recently acquired over 70 hectares (173 acres) of forest in East Bolton, Quebec. Now in the hands of CVS, and aligning with ACA's transborder conservation strategy, the property will be protected in perpetuity. This is the third ecological gift from Ms. Ann Pâquet, who has developed lasting relationships with both conservation organizations over the years, leading her to protect a total of 80.6 hectares (198 acres).

Many organizations took part in the process, including the Open Space Institute (OSI). Kevin Webb, OSI attorney, stated, “We realized that neither state nor even national boundaries matter in the natural world. As our climate shifts, plants and animals will depend on us doing our best to connect core habitats on both sides of the US-Canadian border. We continue to believe that we must cooperate with our neighbors to the north to protect our shared natural heritage for future generations, and to mitigate the impact of climate change.“ Read the news release or contact Mylene Alarie to learn more.

Photo c r edit: Jacques Sztuke
New Hampshire Launches Transportation and Wildlife Work Group
In New Hampshire, The Nature Conservancy is supporting the Department of Fish and Game in reconvening a state Transportation and Wildlife Work Group, bringing together an interdisciplinary team to reduce the effects of roads on the state’s fish and wildlife, particularly Species of Greatest Conservation Need.

The work group will focus on: (1) prioritizing locations for road barrier/mortality mitigation; (2) collating and sharing road barrier mitigation best management practices, including culvert and bridge design, fencing, signage, etc; (3) promoting awareness of wildlife/transportation issues, including increasing outreach and technical assistance to stakeholders and highlighting success stories; (4) supporting transportation managers in considering fish and wildlife passage in the management and planning of state and municipal transportation networks; (5) increasing collaboration a mong partners to share and discuss projects, ideas, and improve data sharing; and (6) serving as a resource for fish and wildlife passage projects. Convening state or province work groups on transportation and wildlife is a strategy that can be replicated in other parts of the region. Contact Dave Patrick to learn more.

Photo credit: The Nature Conservancy in NH
Land Protection in a Key Corridor on Quebec's Gaspé Peninsula
The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) recently protected 170 hectares (420 acres) within an essential corridor between Forillon National Park and other public lands.

Although protected, Forillon National Park is insufficient in size to sustain the long-term health of its populations, such as Canada Lynx. Located on the northeastern tip of Quebec's Gaspé Peninsula, Forillon National Park faces an isolation threat, caused by increased development on the last remaining woodlots along the 10-mile stretch of Highway 197, which runs along its western boundary. NCC plans to continue efforts to protect additional habitat in this critical area. Contact Kateri Monticone to learn more.
Photo credit: NCC
New Report on Wildlife Crossings in the Berkshire Linkage
University of Vermont master’s student Andy Wood completed a thesis on wildlife camera research, roadkill surveys, and assessments of culverts and bridges to understand how Route 8 impacts wildlife traveling between two large protected forests in and around Otis, MA. Andy developed metho dology and training materials from his work on Route 8 and the Massachusetts Turnpike so that students and citizen scientists can repeat this study on other priority road segments. View the thesis , including useful appendices with datasheets, protocols, and how-to guides. Contact Laura Marx to learn more.

Photo credit: The Nature Conservancy in MA
Working with Landowners to Improve Connectivity in Western Maine
In late 2016, the U.S. Department of Agriculture awarded a $4.6 million grant for improving connectivity in western Maine, through the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). RCPP is a voluntary conservation program which provides farmers, ranchers, and forest land owners with conservation planning, technical, and financial assistance. Led by the Trust for Public Land, grant partners including Maine Audubon, the American Forest Foundation, and the New England Forestry Foundation are utilizing this grant in four distinct ways to improve inadequate fish and wildlife habitat in the Maine portion of the Northeast Kingdom to Western Maine Linkage:

  1. Purchasing conservation easements on nearly 10,000 acres (4,000 hectares) of high-priority lands for connectivity. Easements will be linked with restoration plans and management requirements that will benefit native species, including listed species.
  2. Engaging private landowners in 10-year restoration plans that will provide financial incentives for landowners to manage their forests to benefit high priority species.
  3. Improving aquatic organism passage by providing funds and technical expertise to help landowners replace undersized road-stream crossings that block the movement of fish and other aquatic organisms.
  4. Engaging small and medium-sized private landowners in active management for wildlife by assisting in development of forest management plans to improve specific wildlife habitats. These landowners will then be guided to other NRCS funds to implement the plans.

In 2017, outreach and education workshops identified landowners interested in improving wildlife habitat, and funds will now be allocated to implement projects on the ground. The RCPP funds will be matched by public and private support to bring the funds for the entire project to $10 million. While the project officially ends in 2021, the partners hope to replicate this approach in other parts of the region. Contact Betsy Cook to learn more.
Photo credit: Jerry Monkman
New Study Assesses Effectiveness of Wildlife Passages in Quebec
During the widening of Quebec's Highway 175 from 2006-2011, 33 wildlife underpasses and exclusion fences for small and medium-sized mammals were constructed. These are among the first in Quebec. Road mortality surveys, wildlife cameras and genetic analysis for American martens was used to monitor the structures’ effectiveness and overall permeability. While total wildlife mortality was not decreased (as a result of fence-end mortality and the need for longer fence sections), the structures demonstrated a major success for wildlife passage. View the full report or contact Jochen Jaeger to learn more about this research. 
SCI Partner Survey
In December, we conducted a survey of SCI partners and collaborators to learn more about the breadth of individuals and organizations now working to address landscape connectivity in the northern Appalachian-Acadian region and identify ways to improve the partnership. Over 80 people, representing over 50 organizations, completed the survey. Here are a few highlights from the survey results:

  • Our partnership now includes at least 45 organizations across the region, of which 52% are nonprofit conservation organizations or land trusts, 37% are government agencies, and 7% are academic or research institutions.
  • Partners are well distributed across the region (see chart).
  • Survey participants are involved in a wide variety of connectivity-related work, with land protection the most common strategy (by 59% of respondents). 50% of respondents reported current or past involvement in addressing connectivity through transportation and outreach to private landowners.
  • Many respondents are interested in learning more about or participating in science, land use planning, transportation, and riparian corridors work across the region.
  • 60% of respondents would like to participate in an all-partners gathering.

We have already begun to follow up with respondents seeking more information and greater engagement with the partnership. Stay tuned as we continue these efforts!
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