Wildlife corridors attract bipartisan support

Jun 27, 2024

A bipartisan group of lawmakers has introduced a bill that would support mapping and protection of wildlife migration routes. Earlier this week, Senator Alex Padilla of California and Representatives Ryan Zinke of Montana and Don Beyer of Virginia introduced the “Wildlife Movement through Partnerships Act.” Among other provisions, the bill would create a new Wildlife Movement and Migration Corridor program and a State and Tribal Migration Research program within the Interior Department; support the U.S. Geological Survey’s Corridor Mapping Team in coordinating with states and Tribes on mapping wildlife migration routes; and direct the Interior, Agriculture, and Transportation departments to coordinate better with each other and with states, Tribes, and non-governmental organizations.

“Wildlife across the country face additional barriers to their migration, threatening the vibrant biodiversity of our nation and putting human lives at risk,” Senator Padilla said in a statement. “Protecting wildlife corridors is a crucial bipartisan priority, and I am glad to work across the aisle to better conserve, restore, and enhance habitat connectivity and migration routes across the nation.”

Protecting wildlife habitat and migration routes enjoys near-universal support among Western voters. The Colorado College State of the Rockies Project 2024 Conservation in the West poll found that 85 percent of voters in Western states, and 88 percent of voters in Rep. Zinke’s home state of Montana, support constructing wildlife crossing structures across major highways that intersect with known migration routes. When given a choice, 78 percent of Western voters, and 78 percent of Montana voters, would prefer to see more emphasis placed on conserving wildlife migration routes, providing crossings over or under highways, and limiting new development in those areas than on new development, roads, ranching, or oil and gas production.

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Quote of the day

To have [Joshua trees] as a long-term legacy, and not just zoo animals, you need to also have a functioning ecosystem.”

—Christopher Smith, Willamette University, Los Angeles Times

Picture This

@grandcanyonnps

If this vista allowed you to look directly down on the Colorado River, you would be looking at a river almost a mile (1.6 km) below.

That’s how far down the river has cut through the rock layers over the past five million years. It is still cutting, but at a slower rate. Now it is slicing at the extra-hard basement rock.

If it weren’t for the river there would be no Grand Canyon. The downcutting triggers side-canyon erosion, the side streams race to reach the level of the Colorado, and so doing, widen this great chasm. The rock, gravel, and sediment keep falling into the canyon, and, like a grand conveyor belt, the river keeps carrying them away.

NPS Photo/Tyson Joye

 

Feature image: Pronghorn in sagebrush steppe near the Wind River Range, Wyoming, U.S. Geological Survey