Spring 2016 - In This Issue:
copyright Carl Heilman II
News from Staying Connected

Spring has arrived in the Northern Appalachians!

This newsletter includes stories from a variety of scales, from site-specific implementation work in New York's Black River Valley, to the growth of a large-scale connectivity initiative spanning the eastern portion of North America. The various stories underscore the multi-faceted nature of our collective efforts to sustain connectivity across the region; this work includes science, land protection, community engagement, transportation mitigation, and communication. We are also happy to share with you in this newsletter a new video about SCI and information about several SCI webinars.

Happy reading, and happy spring,

Jessie Levine, SCI Coordinator
New Video About the Staying Connected Initiative

Thanks to SCI partner, National Wildlife Federation, the Staying Connected Initiative now has an informational video. The six-minute  video provides an overview of SCI and is an exciting new outreach tool for raising awareness and engaging people.  Many thanks to all the partners who contributed to the production of this video. Y ou can watch it on the  SCI website .
Critter Walk in Adirondacks to Tug Hill linkage
Culvert wildlife shelf in Montana      

This summer, the Adirondack Chapter of The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and New York State Department of Transportation will work together to install a wildlife shelf inside a culvert on  Route 12, a busy road in the Adirondacks to Tug Hill Linkage.  The shelf, develope d and widely used in the west to allow animals to safely pass through culverts containing water, will b e one of the first of its kind in the Northeast. The site  combines habitat connectivity strategies  both inside and  outside of the right of way. TNC has strong connections with a key landowner on both sides of the culvert, and a conservation easement already protects habitat on one side, increasing the effectiveness of investment in this site. The partners installed wildlife cameras last fall and plan to leave them up for a year of post-installation monitoring. Read more about the project (see page 6).
OSI's Transborder Fund Advances Land Protection in Chignecto
Photo credit: Mike Dembeck

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) recently closed on another parcel of land in SCI's Chignecto Isthmus linkage. NCC's ongoing work to protect critical lands in this linkage  has been accelerated  by five grants  from the Open Space In stitute's (OSI) Tra nsborder L and Protection Fund , the only private funding source specifically focused on cross-border land protection projects in eastern North America. Support from the fund has resulted in the protection of 1,253 acres (507 hectares) in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, nearly 40% of lands protected by NCC in Chignecto. Read more about OSI's support of connectivity conservation on the Chignecto Isthmus (see page 3).
Elevating Habitat Connectivity with Our Region's Governors and Premiers

Staying Connected Initiative partners are pursuing a resolution on landscape connectivity at this summer's annual conference of the New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers (NEG-ECP). The resolution would highlight the importance of landscape connectivity for both nature and people, instruct government agencies to work within their jurisdictions and across borders to advance connectivity conservation and restoration with partners, and provide a high-level platform for increasing public attention to connectivity throughout the region. SCI thanks Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin and key leaders in his administration, including Secretary of Natural Resources Deb Markowitz and Fish and Wildlife Department Commissioner Louis Porter, for their leadership in spearheading this important initiative. 
Cross-Border Collaboration in the Northern Greens
Staff from Cold Hollow to Canada, Appalachian Corridor and
Ruiter Valley Land Trust

U.S. and Canadian groups working in the Northern Greens linkage recently met to for malize collaboration on a new project called WildPaths. Initiated in the region by Vermont-based Cold Hollow to Ca nada, WildP aths is a citizen science project that engages community members to monitor  ro ads for wildlife through live sightings, roadkill, and tracks.  Appalachian Corridor and Ruiter Valley Land Trust, SCI partners in Quebec, will lead the extension of WildPaths nort h of the border. Learn more .
State of Vermont Adopts Innovative Landscape Scale Conservation Approach 

The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department, an SCI partner, recently updated its State Wildlife Action Plan with a new landscape scale approach called Vermont Conservation Design. The project identified the lands and waters in the state that are of the highest priority for maintaining ecological integrity. Together, these lands comprise a connected landscape of large and intact forested habitat, healthy aquatic and riparian systems, and a full range of physical features on which plant and animal natural communities depend.  Vermont Conservation Design will become the state's new base map in our understanding of a connected, ecologically functional landscape. The information will inform land management, local planning, and land conservation decisions throughout Vermont. Learn more.
Growth of the Eastern Wildway Network
Draft boundary of the Eastern Wildway

For the past 25 years, the Wildlands Network has worked to reconnect nature across North America by building networks of people protecting networks of wildlands. From eastern Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, a new network is growing: the Eastern Wildway Network, with a shared mission to restore, reconnect, and protect the wildlands, wildwaters, and wildlife on this side of the continent.  The wildway vision is of wild core habitats linked by wildlife corridors, collectively forming an Eastern Wildway from the Canadian Maritimes and eastern Quebec south through the Appalachians and on through the Southeast Coastal Plain - wide and wild enough to accommodate the full range of native wildlife, including top carnivores. The Wildway builds on the work of regional habitat connectivity initiatives, like SCI and Two Countries One Forest, taking habitat connections up to the continental scale.   To learn more, contact Maggie Ernest
Using Regional Science to Enhance Conservation on Private Lands

The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and the North Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative (NALCC) - both partners in SCI and Two Countries One Forest - are working together to enhance the stewardship of priority habitats and species on private lands by facilitating the integration of regional science into local land use decision-making in the Northern Appalachians and beyond. The NALCC has supported the development of many regional datasets that provide opportunities to enhance conservation planning and implementation in the SCI region and beyond. In a webinar on June 23 at 2 PM Eastern/3 PM Atlantic, WCS conservation scientists will discuss how these regional datasets are being used to identify conservation opportunities at the local level. Register for the webinar here.
SCI Webinars and Events

Webinar: SCI in the Canadian context : June 13, 10 AM Eastern/11 AM Atlantic. Topics will include an overview of provincial and federal responsibilities and powers in Canada and an explanation of the land tenure system in the provinces where SCI works. You can join the webinar at this link.

Wildlife camera workshop at the Northeastern Transportation and Wildlife Conference : The workshop will be on September 13, and the conference runs from September 11-14 in Lake Placid, NY. Contact Jens Hilke for more information.


Informational SCI webinar: If you missed the informational webinar on May 11, you can listen to the recording here.
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 involves nearly 30 collaborators spanning five northeastern states and three Canadian provinces working to ensure that people and wildlife thrive together.