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Staying Connected Initiative: A Vision for Community and Landscapes

The Northern Forest is one of the most intact temperate broadleaf forests in the world. In addition to the numbers above, it’s a home to rare alpine vegetation, at-risk species, old-growth forests and dynamic rivers.  However, development pressures threaten to fragment existing connectivity and to decrease the ecological health of the region.

In 2009, $1 million grant from the US Fish and Wildlife Service catalyzed a partnership between the Nature Conservancy, State wildlife and transportation agencies, and 11 other organizations. The Staying Connected initiative was born. The Staying Connected initiative works to restore, maintain, and enhance large blocks of wildlife habitat and the connections between them.

According to the initiative, the goal is to protect existing connectivity and work to restore lost connectivity between forested habitat from New York to Maine. The priority linkage areas are from the Adirondacks to the Green Mountains, from the Greens to the Worcester Mountains, and on into the expansive forests of Maine and Quebec.

The partners work together to determine where fragmented habitat most threatens wide-ranging forest animals and consider how decisions about land use and habitat are made in each state. Engaging communities to encourage local maintenance and restoration of landscape connections across the Northern Appalachians has been the successful strategy to date.

Jens Hawkins-Hilke a Conservation Planning Biologist for VT Fish & Wildlife Department says it well:

“It is a vibrant partnership that is addressing the need for habitat connectivity with a proven and effective multi-tiered approach that translates landscape scale science into action at the local level,”

Meet the partners:

Maine Audubon

Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife

Maine Department of Transportation

New Hampshire Audubon

New Hampshire Department of Transportation

New Hampshire Fish & Game Department

New York Department of Environmental Conservation

New York Department of Transportation

Northeast Wilderness Trust*

The Nature Conservancy* (NY, VT, NH**, & ME)

Trust for Public Land*

Tug Hill Commission

Tug Hull Tomorrow

Two Countries, One Forest

Vermont Agency of Transportation

Vermont Department of Fish & Wildlife

Vermont Land Trust*

Vermont Natural Resource Council*

Wildlands Network*

Wildlife Conservation Society

*Approved 1% for the Planet NGO

**The Nature Conservancy New Hampshire Chapter serves as the fiscal agent and overall project manager

 

This is remarkable for a couple of reasons:

1. It is an unprecedented partnership due to it’s scope .

2. It seeks to address significant ecosystem issues that can serve as a model in other areas.

 The map below identifies key areas of connectivity in need of protected, restoration, or maintenance to allow wildlife to successfully move though intact and fragmented landscapes.

We invite 1% for the Planet member companies to learn more and support this initiative through financial contributions or in-kind services.

Staying Connected was chosen as one of only 12 nationwide projects to receive grant funding through the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s Competitive State Wildlife Grants Program.  The project has also received funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation through the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Fund and the Jessie B Cox Charitable Trust for it’s significant long-term goals for the Northern Forest.

Please consider supporting a highlighted non-profit partner or making a direct donation to the Staying Connected Initiative.

Feel free to be in contact directly with Leah (leah@onepercentfortheplanet.org) with questions.

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