Wildlife Corridor Policy Efforts (Nation)

WELC is focusing its strong legal capacity and advocacy expertise at the state, federal, and local levels to permanently safeguard pathways for wildlife. Below is a description of some of our work to protect wildlife corridors in the West.

FEDERAL LANDS Protecting wildlife passages on federal lands. Building on the success of the Bridger-Teton Forest Plan Amendment, which safeguards the Path of the Pronghorn, we are advocating for similar amendments in national forests and BLM lands across the West. We are also seeking road closures and more protective travel management policies on federal public lands.

STATE LANDS Partnering with the Western Governors’ Association to preserve wildlife corridors. WELC formed Conservation Working Groups in Colorado, New Mexico, Montana, Nevada, and Utah to implement the Western Governors’ Association (WGA) policies and strategies in each state to protect wildlife habitat and migration corridors. We are also working with local and regional wildlife experts to integrate wildlife corridor data into the WGA’s alternative energy development zone designation process to ensure that habitat connectivity is protected.

1% FOR WILDLIFE The Western Wildlife Governors’ Council has endorsed WELC’s plan to request 1% of state transportation dollars from the economic stimulus package be allocated for safe wildlife passages. We are working with stakeholders to make 1% for Wildlife a permanent part of state budgets across the West.

PRIVATE LANDS Advocating for Smart Growth. We are working with county planners across the West to defend land use decisions and develop solid zoning ordinances that provide safe passages for wildlife. For example, we are working side-by-side with Missoula County, Montana, to protect important terrestrial and aquatic habitat from an ill-conceived, high-density subdivision; and we are consulting with planners in Montana’s Missoula County and Colorado’s La Plata County on a number of land use and zoning strategies to protect wildlife migration corridors.

ADDITIONAL STATE-WIDE EFFORTS

Montana: Ongoing defense of our victory protecting MacDonald Pass, a key corridor for Canada lynx, gray wolves, and grizzly bears, from recreational development and grazing.

Colorado: Protected Wolf Creek Pass, a key corridor for Canada lynx, from the proposed construction of a destination ski resort. Collaborating with the Southern Ute Tribe to safeguard the mule deer’s migratory passage over a dangerous stretch of roadway and across oil and gas fields. Striving to establish a wildlife overpass on interstate highway I-70 at Vail Pass. Launched the Colorado Safe Passage Coalition, a partnership of wildlife conservation groups. We are working with the Department of Transportation to include wildlife crossing structures in the list of “ready-to-go” projects it presents to Congress and the Obama administration for consideration under the proposed Economic Stimulus Plan.

Wyoming: Partnering with the Greater Yellowstone Coalition to defend the watershed Bridger-Teton wildlife corridor amendment.

(WELC project #204)

Our efforts to protect wildlife corridors extend throughout the West.