Building the largest wildlife crossing in the world: the Liberty Wildlife Corridor Partnership

Beth Pratt, National Wildlife Federation
Date From
Date To
Ballroom E


  • Beth Pratt, National Wildlife Federation
  • Sheik Moinddin, Caltrans
  • Barbara Marquez, Caltrans
  • Dr. Seth Riley, National Parks Service, UCLA
  • Rorie Skei, Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy
  • Clark Stevens, land planner, architect
  • Fran Pavley, retired senator
  • Mary Ellen Hannibal, journalist, author


How do you get the largest wildlife crossing in the world built, under a rapid timeline, and with a price tag of over $60 million? The old adage "It takes a village," proves once again true, as the wildlife crossing at Liberty Canyon project illustrates the vast power of partnerships. In this session, learn how a focus on core partnerships and leveraging widespread public support has taken this wildlife crossing from a visionary idea to an impending reality. 

The strength of the wildlife crossing project from its earliest stages has been a dedicated coalition built with a wide variety of public, private and nonprofit resources, agencies, and supporters. The Liberty Wildlife Corridor Partnership is at the core of this effort, and is represented by: California Department of Transportation, National Park Service, Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy/Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority, National Wildlife Federation, and the Resource Conservation District of the Santa Monica Mountains. Elected officials such as State Senator Henry Stern, Assembly member Richard Bloom, and Senator Fran Pavley (retired) also serve on the partnership.

In this session, you'll learn the key roles each of the partners play in this project, from research, design, land management, advocacy, education and fundraising, and also get an update on the project, which has entered the final design and engineering phase. Additional, we'll explore what is possible in leveraging public support with showing examples of how the initiative is using a variety of contemporary techniques, including social media marketing, a "celebrity" mountain lion personality, crowd-sourcing, and foundational and private sector funding.

Beth Pratt, California Regional Executive Director for the National Wildlife Federation; has worked in environmental leadership roles for thirty years and leads the #SaveLACougars campaign. Education: BA & BS from UMass Boston, MBA from Regis University.

Sheik Moinddin, Caltrans Program and Project Manager; 27 years of experience working for Caltrans. Manages large-scale projects such as the wildlife crossing. Education: pursuing a Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering at UCLA, M.S. Environmental Engineering and a B.S. in Civil Engineering.

Barbara Marquez, Deputy District Director for Sustainability Caltrans District 7; presented and co-authored articles on wildlife connectivity related to impacts from Caltrans freeways. Education: B.S. Biology University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, M.S. Urban and Regional Planning Cal Poly Pomona.

Dr. Seth Riley, biologist National Park Service, Adjunct Assoc. Prof., in the Dept. of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at UCLA; Manages the wildlife research program for the NPS. Education: Ph.D. Ecology from UC Davis, and a B.A. in Human Biology, Animal Behavior and Ecology, from Stanford. 

Rorie Skei, Chief Deputy Director for the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy; involved in Southern California open space preservation and parkland issues for over 40 years. Oversees acquisition, park development, partnerships and resource protection of the 75,000 acres of parkland.

Clark Stevens architect, resource conservationist, and land planner with the Resource Conservation District of the Santa Monica Mountains; has extensive experience working on ecological restoration projects. Served as the lead architect on the Liberty Canyon Wildlife Passage Enhancement Phase 1 & 2.

Senator Fran Pavley served two terms in the California State Senate and three terms in the California State Assembly before retiring.  Senator Pavley received national acclaim for her work that established California as a worldwide leader in promoting clean energy and reducing climate pollution. 

Mary Ellen Hannibal is a long-time journalist focused on natural history and literature. Her book The Spine of the Continent profiles the most ambitious conservation effort ever made: to create linked protected areas from the Yukon to Mexico.