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Friends of the East,

As we hit peak hurricane season, our thoughts are with all of our friends, colleagues, and families who were in the paths of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. It is hard to see such destruction to both our human and natural communities, and harder still not to consider our role in causing climate change, which no doubt has influenced the severity of these storms.

In the immediate future, we will spend our time and donate our dollars to help those affected by these terrible storms. But, as we look toward our long-term future, we can once again see the importance of the work we do in reconnecting eastern North America. The Eastern Wildway considers not only where animals are moving or could move right now, but also where they will be moving as habitats change and species migrate to find more hospitable homes.

As we look to the future of our work on the Eastern Wildway, we should consider more and more how a reconnected East will be integral in mitigating and adapting to climate change. What role does climate change have in your own conservation priorities? How can we better integrate climate work into our Eastern Wildway efforts? Share your thoughts with me or join us at the Eastern Conservation Summit next month as we tackle questions like these.

For the wild,
Maggie and the Wildlands Network team

Have news or updates to share? Email Maggie at Maggie@wildlandsnetwork.org.

 

Summit

A beautiful view of the Blue Ridge at the inaugural Summit in 2015. Photo: Tracey Butcher, Wildlands Network

SAVE THE DATE: Eastern Wildway Summit, October 9-12, 2017

A gathering of conservation leaders and luminaries thinking ambitiously and strategically about a grand continental vision for wild nature restoration in Eastern North America.

Goals for this Summit include:

  • Review the past year’s mapping exercises and identify priority cores and corridors
  • Develop place-based campaigns to highlight and defend a selection of priorities throughout the Eastern Wildway
  • Strengthen support for Wildlife Corridor bills
  • Advance strategic discussions on collaboration with outdoor recreation and scenic trail groups
  • Fully incorporate climate mitigation and adaptation as a primary driver of the Eastern Wildway Network
  • Explore opportunities to restore ecosystem function through the reestablishment of top carnivores, such as wolves and cougars
  • Build a more inclusive and diverse collaborative network

Location of Summit: Wildacres Retreat Center, located on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Little Switzerland, NC

Take Action

The draft Eastern Wildway map. Photo: Ron Sutherland, Wildlands Network.

Feedback needed for draft Eastern Wildway map
Have you taken a look at our draft Eastern Wildway map yet? If you haven’t, please do! If you have, let us know what you think. We are currently pulling together feedback from conservationists across the wildway to assess what improvements need to be made. If you have feedback or would like to get our GIS layers, please reach out to Dr. Ron Sutherland at ron@wildlandsnetwork.org. For more information about the type of feedback we are looking for or more on our methodology, please check out our newest blog for the South Atlantic LCC here.

News from the Eastern Wildway

Nova Scotia adds 11 new species to its list of species at risk
Nova Scotia has added 11 new species to its list of species at risk, raising the total number of listed species to 71. The government puts the list together with advice from scientists on the status of various species. Three species of bee were included: the gypsy cuckoo bumblebee, Sable island sweat bee, and yellow-banded bumble bee.  The other species listed include the evening grosbeak, monarch butterfly, bank swallow, tall beakrush, transverse lady beetle, wrinkled shingle lichen, eastern waterfan, and black foam lichen. 

Urban habitat corridors of Montreal highlighted in The Atlantic
The Atlantic recently ran an in-depth piece on habitat connectivity, specifically focusing on the work that Dr. Andrew Gonzalez is doing in Montreal at McGill University. In the long-term, his goal is to develop connectivity models in a way that the public can easily access and see in real time. For example, he imagines a tool in which people can pull up information about their changing landscape dynamics, such as urban heat islands, runoff, or species-specific observations. 

Conservation Fund acquires working forestland in Vermont, New York, and Massachusetts. Photo: Conservation Fund

Conservation Fund purchases land along Taconic Crest Trail
This summer, the Conservation Fund announced the purchase of 23,053 acres of working forestland in Vermont, New York, and Massachusetts for approximately $25 million. Sections of these parcels fall along the Taconic Crest Trail and present an opportunity to protect crucial lands along a wildlife corridor. Congrats to the Conservation Fund! 

Source: Energy company filings (shapefile), Energy Information Administration. Photo: Leanne Abraham, Alyson Hurt and Katie Park/NPR

 

Pipelines threaten the Appalachian Trail
Two proposed pipelines endanger the Blue Ridge Mountains and parts of the Appalachian Trail. The Mountain Valley Pipeline is a 300-mile funnel for natural gas moving from northern West Virginia to southwestern Virginia. The Atlantic Coast pipeline is a 600-mile funnel also starting in northern West Virginia but stretching southeast, ending just west of Wilmington, N.C., including a 70-mile spur to Norfolk, Va. The lines could be up to 42 inches across and will necessitate a right-of-way of 125 feet. The pipelines have been criticized for their potential environmental, recreation, scenic, and economic costs, but did not stop the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) from signing off on environmental impact statements for both projects. In addition, there are several more pipelines in the works. 

Public comments show overwhelming support for wild red wolves
In the most recent public comment period on the fate of North Carolina’s wild red wolf population, overwhelmingly the public showed strong support for keeping these wolves in the wild. In fact, of the 55,087 comments FWS received, 54,992 were supportive of recovering the red wolf in the wild – that’s 99.8% of comments. FWS received only 25 anti-wolf comments (0.045%) and just 10 comments (0.018%) that supported the federal Agency’s proposed plan to remove most red wolves from the wild and into captivity. Moreover, from the comments of landowners within the five-county recovery area, 68.4% were also in support of the red wolf recovery program. 

Sea-level rise accelerating in hot spots along the Southeast
In a new study, researchers found that sea-level rise is accelerating faster than expected in hot spots between Cape Hatteras, N.C. and Miami. The spike in sea-levels is believed to be a combination of human-induced climate change and other natural forces, such as El Nino and the North Atlantic Oscillation.  Importantly, this research points out that while planners often incorporate long-term sea-level rise into design projections, they often do not plan for short-term sea-level rise burts, brought on by natural forces. This is important not only as we think about urban design and infrastructure planning, but also as we map out networks of wildlife corridors as species will be pushed inland overtime. 

Part of the Altamaha River Corridor. Photo: conservationcorridor.org

 

The Altamaha River Corridor a successful model of conservation cooperation
The Altamaha River Corridor meanders 137 miles across southeast Georgia and flows out to the Atlantic Ocean. Often called the “Amazon of the South,” the Altamaha River Corridor is becoming a successful model of conservation cooperation. Bringing together business, industry, and military, in addition to conservationists and federal agencies, the ultimate goal for the corridor is to see a connected and protected Altamaha.  So far, nearly $100 million has been spent towards this effort. A completely protected Altamaha River Corridor is expected in 2060.

Large carnivores have lost more than 90 percent of habitat
A new study by Chris Wolf and William Ripple at Oregon State University finds that large carnivores have lost more than 90 percent of their habitat in the past 500 years. Using historical accounts and maps dating back as far as 1500 AD, they analyzed 25 large carnivore species. Of these, 15 had lost more than half of their preferred habitat. The species whose habitat’s have been most affected include lions, tigers, and Ethiopian wolves, in addition to red wolves, one of North America’s most endangered mammals. This study highlights the extent of habitat loss to large carnivore species throughout the world. 

 

Upcoming events & conferences:

A2A Trail Project Hike - Oct. 1-15, 2017

The Algonquin to Adirondacks Collaborative (A2A) will be coordinating a trans-national hike this October, retracing the path of Alice the Moose, who in 2000-2001 walked, swam, and ran from New York’s Adirondack Park to Algonquin Park in Ontario. Conservationist and wildway trekker John Davis will be traversing the U.S.-portion of the trail and John Allport will take up the Canadian portion. Join John Davis on Oct. 1 at the Adirondack Interpretive Center in Newcomb, N.Y. to kick off the two-week trek or come celebrate with both hikers as they complete the trail on Oct. 15 at the Minna Anthony Common Nature Center on Wellesley Island. For more information or to plan to join John during the hike, email him at john@wildlandsnetwork.org or call him at 518-810-2189.

Eastern Wildway Summit - Oct 9-12, 2017

Join Wildlands Network at a gathering of conservation leaders and luminaries thinking ambitiously and strategically about a grand continental vision for wild nature restoration in Eastern North America October 9-12, 2017.

Habitat Connectivity Broadwalk in Washington, DC – October 16-20, 2017

Advocate for habitat connectivity with Great Old Broads for Wilderness as they do a “Broadwalk” in Washington, DC in support of The Continental Divide Wilderness Bill, the Wildlife Corridors Conservation Act, and Northwest California’s Mountains & Rivers Bill

Quebec Conference: Roads, Wildlife, & Adaptation to Climate Change: From Research to Action - Oct 23-25, 2017

The only road ecology conference in French in Quebec took place six years ago.  This upcoming conference will share results from new research and various partnership projects initiated since 2011 to mitigate the impacts of roads on (terrestrial and aquatic) wildlife and habitat connectivity, and to better adapt to climate change. The conference will include presentations, workshops, kiosks and a fieldtrip, all available in French and English Oct 23-25, 2017.

Have news or updates? Share them in our next newsletter by emailing maggie@wildlandsnetwork.org.

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