Winter 2017 - In This Issue:
Photo credit: The Nature Conservancy in Vermont
News from Staying Connected

The stories assembled for this newsletter capture so well SCI's multi-faceted approach to sustaining connectivity: in Quebec, new funding will help launch efforts to raise community awareness and influence land use planning; in Vermont, SCI partners are expanding a program to enhance stewardship of private forest lands; in Maine, collaboration among state agencies is helping to make roads safer for moose and people.

It is exciting to see that governments in the U.S. and Canada are formally recognizing the importance of connectivity, especially in the context of climate change adaptation, and dedicating financial resources and staff time to advance this work. Two new large grants announced over the winter and described below, are a testament to this. Each will help catalyze new work and expand partnerships. Similarly, SCI's newly formed transportation agency sub-group, which includes representatives from all the states and provinces in the region, met for the first time over the winter to share information about projects and lessons learned. The New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers' Resolution on Ecological Connectivity, signed in August 2016, is in initial stages of implementation, as explained in the story below.

Thanks to all of our partners and supporters for your efforts to keep the Northern Appalachians connected.

Jessie Levine, SCI Coordinator
Action-Climat: New Funding for Connectivity in Southern Quebec

Nature Conservancy of Canada recently received notification from Quebec's Ministry of Sustainable Development, Environment, and the Fight Against Climate Change that have been awarded $915,000 as part of the government's Action-Climat Québec (Climate Action) program. The project, "Ecological corridors: a climate change adaptation strategy," will focus on maintaining connectivity in five key zones in southern Quebec (shown below and in a more  detailed map), including SCI's Northern Greens and Three Borders linkage areas. Working with many conservation groups active across Quebec, including Two Countr ies, One Forest and SCI partners Appalachian 
 Key connectivity zones in Quebec
(map courtesy of Nature Conservancy of Canada) 
Corridor and Horizon-Nature Bas Saint-Laurent, this three-year project kicks off in April and will focus on outreach and technical assistance to communities, decision makers, and private forest landowners to raise awareness of habitat connectivity as a climate adaptation strategy and begin to implement related land use planning and land management strategies. Learn more.
Update on Implementation of the New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers Resolution on Ecological Connectivity

A cross-border working group is collaborating to begin implementing the New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers Resolution on Ecological Connectivity, Adaptation to Climate Change, and Biodiversity Conservation within the eleven jurisdiction region. The first order of business for the work group is to assess the current level of knowledge and information about the connected landscape of the region as well as existing programs, projects, and tools that are already in place to help conserve it. Moving forward, this assessment will help build a broader awareness and understanding of the connected landscape of the region and identify opportunities for strategic conservation efforts.  C onsultations with various organizations will be part of the implementation of the resolution in order to seek support, direction, and expertise.
Enhancing Private Forest Stewardship in Vermont's Northern Green Mountains

In January, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced new funding for its Regional Conservation Partnership Program, which includes $640,000 for SCI partner Cold Hollow to Canada
Photo credit: Cold Hollow to Canada
to expand its Cold Hollow Woodlots Program The Woodlots program uses a peer-to-peer approach, engaging groups of landowners with  contiguous or nearly contiguous forested properties to collaborate and share experiences related to  managing wildlife habitat and addressing and adapting to the effects of climate change.  With this new funding, the program, which initially engaged twelve landowners in one town, will expand to include fifty landowners in three towns and covering 8,000 acres. Learn more.
Keeping Wildlife Off the Roads in Quebec's Eastern Townships

Over the last five years, Appalachian Corridor has been working with partners in Quebec to keep wildlife off Highway 10 in the Eastern Townships. Every year, 150 collisions with large mammals are recorded on the stretch between Bromont and Magog. Since this figure only  includes accidents where the animal was still on the scene 
  Daniella LoScerbo, student from Concordia University, installs a camera by a culvert under Highway 10.
Photo credit: Appalachian Corridor
when authorities arrived, it is likely that the actual tally is even higher. To help prevent these accidents, SCI partner Appalachian Corridor, in cooperation with Quebec's Ministry of Transportation and Concordia University, want to create safe wildlife crossings under the highway, as part of a wider project to secure a natural linkage connecting the Appalachians of southern Quebec to the Green Mountains in Vermont. Depending on the site, solutions may entail adapting existing infrastructures or building new ones. Over the last six months, remote-sensing wildlife cameras were installed at key locations on bridges and culverts under Highway 10. "The cameras show us where wildlife does manage to cross and where animals turn ba ck, helping us gather critical information about which infrastructures need to be adapted," said Caroline Daguet, a biologist with Appalachian Corridor. "We want to make sure we get it right."  Among species caught on cameras so far are minks, coyotes, red foxes, raccoons and numerous deer.  Learn more.
Identifying and Mitigating Moose Crossing Hotspots in Maine
Photo credit: Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife

Biologists from Maine's Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and staff from Maine's Department of Transportation are working together to identify crossing hotspots for moose in the western mountains. The collaboration has focused on identifying, mapping, and measuring roadside moose wallows along the state highways in this region, in order to prioritize hazardous areas along the road. The transportation department uses the information to decide where to install roadside safety measures such as motion-activated warning signs. Read more about the initiative, or contact Amanda Shearin for more information.
Staying Connected Beyond the Northern Appalachians
Eastern Wildway boundary (map courtesy of Wildlands Network)

To ensure that the work we do in our region connects to larger regional landscapes and is informed by other great work happening nearby and around the world, SCI is involved in a number of networks and partnerships. SCI is an active partner in the Eastern Wildway Network, the New England-based Regional Conservation Partnership Network, and the international Network for Landscape Conservation. In February, SCI participated in a meeting of the Algonquin to Adirondacks Collaborative (A2A), a connectivity initiative to the west of the northern Appalachians, to learn more about their efforts and begin exploring how the work of SCI and A2A can complement each other.  Jessie Levine, SCI coordinator, serves as the Regional Lead for the eastern U.S. and Canada on the World Commission on Protected Areas' (WCPA) newly formed Connectivity Conservation Specialist Group. Learn more.
Connectivity and Transmission Lines in Quebec
Mont Hereford
Photo credit: Appalachian Corridor

Last fall, Two Countries, One Forest Society (the Canadian organization), Appalachian Corridor, and three other environmental groups in Quebec provided comments at the public hearing of Quebec's Bureau d'audiences publiques sur l'environnement (BAPE, the office of public hearings on the environment) on the proposed Quebec-New Hampshire Interconnection Power Line Project of Hydro-Quebec. The route of the proposed 79-km transmission line would have passed through a  50- square-kilometer forest tract donated to the local communities by the Tillotson family, now managed by Forêt Hereford, with a working forest servitude (easement) with Nature Conservancy Canada. The forest is within SCI's Northeast Kingdom to Western Maine priority linkage and is a highly valued landscape and recreational destination for outdoors enthusiasts. In February, the BAPE released its report on the power line and noted that Hydro-Quebec should evaluate other scenarios for routing the line, including burial. Read the BAPE report (French) or contact Louise Gratton to learn more.
New Mapping Tools and Resources From SCI Partners

The Nature Conservancy recently launched the  Resilient Lands Mapping Tool , an online web map for vie wing results of the Resilient and Connected Landscapes project . The project bring s together data on resilience, permeability, and diversi ty t o ide ntify a prioritized an d connected network  of land.  The results identify specific  places in Ea stern North America that are critical for sustaining diversity, resilience, and natural movements.   View SCI's linkages with these new results  (86  MB file).

The Wildlife Conservation Society's Adirondack Progr am has developed an online  resource for people in New York State
 to discover natural assets  within their communities and learn how to protect them with planning tools. Visit the New York State Tools for Land Use Planning gallery on DataBasin .

SCI at Upcoming Conferences


SCI partners will be presenting our collaborative work at these upcoming meetings:

Are you planning to attend an upcoming meeting and interested in making a presentation featuring SCI?  Let us know. We are updating our poster, and we have plenty of presentation materials to share.

The Staying Connected Initiative, a program of Two Countries One Forest, promotes wildlife habitat connections in an increasingly fragmented landscape. This unique cross-border public/private partnership includes over 30 collaborators, spanning five northeastern states and three Canadian provinces, working to ensure that people and wildlife thrive together.