Wildlands Network is committed to providing up-to-date information about our on-the-ground efforts to reconnect, restore, and rewild North America. Each month, we’re bringing you updates from each of our Wildways. 

This month, we’re bringing you updates from the Eastern WildwayCollaboration with partners is key to Wildlands Network’s success on the ground, so we hope you enjoy hearing their stories as much as we enjoy working with them!

 

Photo: Tracey Butcher

Reconnecting the Eastern Wildway

In this blog post, Dr. Ron Sutherland details our efforts to reconnect the Eastern Wildway by pursuing habitat connectivity. Despite landscape fragmentation and overpopulation, Wildlands Network is reconnecting, restoring, and rewilding the East Coast of North America, from the Florida Keys to Canada’s Gaspé Peninsula. To guide our efforts, we’ve created a map that shows what connectivity could look like in the East. The map, affectionately called our Half-East Map, is one of our most important tools for making the visionary Eastern Wildway an on-the-ground reality. 

 

Photo: Wildlands Network

USFWS Announces Plan to Allow Hunters to Kill All But 10-15 Remaining Red Wolves

In June, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced their new plan to manage North Carolina’s population of wild red wolves, of which only about 40 remain. The new plan reduces the recovery area for the wolves in North Carolina from 5 counties to just 1, which—by the agency’s own estimation—can only support 10-15 wolves. The new plan also allows hunters and landowners to shoot any wolf who wanders outside the newly restricted recovery area. Read more about the alternative plan Wildlands Network recommended the agency adopt during the public comment period.

Several media outlets covered our response to the agency’s disastrous new plan, including WECT,The Charlotte ObserverThe Washington Post,Blue Ridge Outdoors, and Carolina Public Press.

 

National Parks: Core Reserves of the Eastern Wildway

Dr. Ron Sutherland spoke with National Parks Traveler about how our ambitious vision for a reconnected, restored, and rewilded Eastern Wildway builds upon large protected areas like national parks to create wildlife corridors for the benefit of both wildlife and people. Protected public areas like national parks, forests, and monuments are critical building blocks of our Wildways.

If fully connected according to our Half-East Map vision, the Eastern Wildway would safeguard nearly half of the East Coast of North America, providing protections for iconic Eastern species like Florida panthers, red wolves, and lynx. Such species are wide-ranging migratory animals that require connected, protected spaces to find food, mates, and suitable habitat.

Read more about our efforts around public lands in the East.

Introducing Wildlands Network’s New Eastern Team Members

Our Eastern team is growing! Earlier this year, we brought on Emily Blanchard in Durham, North Carolina as a Wildlife Conservationist to help manage several field research projects, including our elk collaring study and red wolf camera trap project. 

Recently, we hired Carly Creef-Alexander as our Coastal Plain Conservationist in northeastern North Carolina to grow local support for red wolf recovery. We also hired Liz Hillard in Asheville, North Carolina as our Mountain Wildlife Conservationist to manage the study design, implementation, and analysis of our road ecology research in the Southern Appalachians. Finally, we brought on Christine Laporte as our Senior Network Specialist to grow the Eastern Wildway Network.

Please join us in welcoming our new team members! We’re excited to have them.

 

Partner Highlights from the Eastern Wildway Network

Wildlands Network fosters connections between on-the-ground conservation organizations, all of us working toward the common goal of reconnecting, restoring and rewilding North America so that life in all its diversity can thrive. By stitching together the conservation efforts of regional organizations, Wildlands Network is better able to build Wildways across the continent. Here are a few highlights from some of our partners in the Eastern Wildway Network.

Growing the Florida Wildlife Corridor Movement

The Florida Wildlife Corridor connects, protects, and restores over 15.8 million acres in a statewide network of lands and waters to support wildlife and people. As the movement to expand and further protect the Corridor grows, the organization has shared several exciting updates, including the search for the organization’s next executive director, reconvening their annual partner summit to refine the vision for the Corridor, and premiering their Heartland to Headwater film later this year. Read more on their website.

Mountain Valley Pipeline Halted

Major victory for Eastern Wildway Network partners, including Sierra Club, Wild Virginia, and the Wilderness Society: The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) halted construction of the Mountain Valley natural gas pipeline after lawsuits from environmental groups showed permit approval was rushed. 

FERC issued a stop work order for the Mountain Valley Pipeline along the project’s entire 300-mile route through Virginia and West Virginia, 3.6 miles of which would run through Jefferson National Forest. The court vacated the project’s 2 federal permits because it wasn’t clear if the pipeline’s erosion and sedimentation controls would effectively prevent harmful runoff in nearby water sources. Read more from Appalachian Voices.

South Atlantic LCC Aids The Nature Conservancy in Updating Conservation Vision

The Nature Conservancy in South Carolina (SC TNC) used South Atlantic LCC’s South Atlantic Blueprint to update their South Carolina Conservation Vision. The Vision is based on the Southeast Blueprint, which provides statewide coverage of conservation priorities by combining the South Atlantic Blueprint and the Appalachian NatureScape Merged Design. The newly released final Vision, which highlights key conservation cores and corridors for regional partners, incorporates advances in conservation planning, threat projections, and connectivity modeling. Read the full report.

Learn more about the Eastern Wildway

and the Eastern Wildway Network.

Wildlands Network
1402 3rd Ave. Suite 1019 | Seattle, Washington 98101
206-538-5363 | info@wildlandsnetwork.org

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