Wildlands Network is committed to providing you with up-to-date information about our on-the-ground efforts to reconnect, restore, and rewild North America. To that end, we've started a new series of monthly newsletters focused on a different Wildway each month.

Below, you'll learn about our new Pacific Wildway, as well as what some of our Pacific Wildway partners are doing to support continental conservation. Collaboration is key to Wildlands Network's success, so we hope you enjoy hearing these stories as much as we enjoy living them!

 

Photo: Jean Pierre Lavoie

Pacific Wildway Update

As 2019 begins, we are excited about what we accomplished in the first year of our Pacific Wildway and look forward to all 2019 will bring. As you read through our short newsletter, you'll learn about the launch of our Pacific program, the  "Wildlife For All" event we cohosted with partners, and the mapping work we undertook in 2018. But there are so many other exciting opportunities on the horizon for our Pacific program this year.

In 2018, we started working with several scientists at the University of Washington to produce a connectivity map for Washington, Oregon, and Northern California. In April this year, we are anticipating the completion of the first iteration of the map—but don't miss the update below from our partners at the University of Washington and the current version of our connectivity map. We will develop a list of important connections throughout the Pacific Northwest based on the results of our mapping effort and share that with the public as well as local, state, and federal agency personnel to help implement projects on the ground to reconnect, restore, and rewild our most valuable connections for wildlife.

We are also excited about new developments on the policy front this year. As you may have read, Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) recently introduced the Wildlife Corridors Conservation Act of 2018 in the House, while Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) introduced a companion bill in the Senate. The Act will provide connectivity protections for wide-ranging species across the nation, including the Pacific region's grizzly bears. Leveraging the success of this federal effort, we are working with several other organizations to help launch state corridor bills in Pacific states and beyond, modeled on the Wildlife Corridors Conservation Act. We will keep you informed of our efforts here in the Pacific, but we are optimistic about the potential to help move connectivity and wildlife corridors forward in the Pacific states.

We also anticipate working more closely with state agency personnel in California, Oregon, and Washington on wildlife-related issues, as well as preserving connectivity on the ground. In 2018, we began to build relationships with key partners in the Pacific and develop strategy that we will continue to cultivate in 2019 to meet our mission to reconnect, restore, and rewild the Pacific.

If you are interested in learning more about our Pacific Wildway, please contact our Pacific Wildway Director, Jessica Walz Schafer, at jessica@wildlandsnetwork.org.

 

Photo: Richard Forbes

Official Launch of the Pacific Wildway

We officially launched the Pacific Wildway in October and introduced a draft map of the Wildway, highlighting priority conservation areas.  We were delighted to host presentations focused on how connectivity will sustain our region's precious natural resources and the health of our communities. We heard from Caitlin Littlefield, ecologist in Dr. Joshua Lawler's Creative Conservation Lab at the University of Washington; Lylianna Allala, Outreach Director for Congresswoman Jayapal and liaison for Burien and Normandy on environmental issues; and Dr. Robert Long, carnivore researcher for the Woodland Park Zoo's Living Northwest Conservation Program. 

To those of you in Seattle who were able to join us for the successful launch, thank you for standing with us as we begin our work to reconnect, restore, and rewild the Pacific region. We'd also like to thank the generous sponsors who helped to make the night a success, especially MiiR and Patagonia.

 

Partner Highlights from the Pacific 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 Pacific Wildway Network.

Progress on The Pacific Wildway Map: An Important Connectivity Tool in the Pacific Region

The team of scientists at the University of Washington is making steady progress toward mapping landscape connectivity in the Pacific Northwest to help prioritize conservation efforts to protect wildlife—now and into the future. The final Pacific Wildway Map will highlight vital linkages for species traversing the landscape, particularly as they track suitable climatic conditions.

To generate this map, the UW team is leveraging existing connectivity datasets across Washington, Oregon, and Northern California and then integrating multiple novel modeling approaches that expressly take climate-driven movements into account. Both types of spatial datasets—existing connectivity datasets that do not expressly include climate projections and new datasets that do—are important for helping us understand the relative influences of human land use and climate change on hindering species' movement across the landscape.

Currently, the team is aggregating and processing over 65 existing datasets and will soon be able to identify how climate-informed datasets differ from those that do not use climate projections. We will be able to compare outputs from these integrations to maps of existing protected areas to identify critical gaps in the network where connectivity could be greatly enhanced, offering crucial protections for imperiled species like wolverines.

Coming Together for Washington Wildlife at Wildlife for All Event

Last month, we coordinated an evening for community members to voice support for biodiversity and science-backed management prior to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife's (WDFW) open house in Issaquah, Washington.

We collaborated with partner groups to discuss crucial wildlife issues in the state, including orca, salmon, and gray wolf conservation, and carried those sentiments into comments we voiced to WDFW's new director, Kelly Susewind, in the open house following our event. In particular, we're concerned about WDFW's lethal management of Washington's wolves, despite the best available science recommending against lethal control.

The conversation at WDFW's open house was productive and respectful. Thank you to all who attended the event in solidarity with Washington's wildlife. Don't forget to stay engaged with your state wildlife agency: You can call, email, or write to Director Susewind to ask about the progress WDFW has made to address your wildlife concerns.

We thank our friends at Western Wildlife Outreach, Endangered Species Coalition, Center for Biological Diversity, Mountain Lion Foundation, and Farmer Frog for cosponsoring this successful evening of citizen engagement, and for all of their important work.

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

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