Promoting Wildlife Connectivity Through State Legislation

Renee Callahan, Center for Large Landscape Conservation
Rob Ament, Center for Large Landscape Conservation; Laramie Maxwell, Center for Large Landscape Conservation; Elizabeth Fairbank, Center for Large Landscape Conservation; Abigail Breuer, Center for Large Landscape Conservation; Grace Stonecipher, Center for Large Landscape Conservation.
Topic Area
Policy and Regulatory Developments in Transportation

This poster will focus on a recent publication of the Center for Large Landscape Conservation, entitled Wildlife Connectivity: Opportunities for State Legislation, and how the information provided in this publication can be applied to promote wildlife connectivity in transportation planning and project implementation. The publication is intended to serve as a "toolbox" for state legislators to promote wildlife connectivity through legislation. The provisions outlined in the document are organized into six categories: Identification and Data, Planning, Conservation Practice, Private Land Incentives, Partnerships, and Funding. The publication provides a menu of sample legislative provisions that state legislators can "pick and choose" from based on the provisions that advance their state-specific needs to promote wildlife in transportation planning and project implementation.

The poster will also highlight recent efforts to advance state legislation aimed at identifying and protecting wildlife corridors. For example, during 2018-2019, the Center for Large Landscape Conservation, in collaboration with its project partners, the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators, the Endangered Species Coalition, and Wildlands Network, provided materials to aid local advocates in promoting the introduction of wildlife corridor bills in 12 states, including Arizona, Colorado, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington. As of April 2019, five of those states (Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oregon, and Virginia) had introduced legislation, with the potential for more to come as legislative sessions progress. On April 2, these efforts also culminated in New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signing SB 228, the Wildlife Corridors Act, into law. Among other things, the Act requires the state department of game and fish, in coordination with the department of transportation, to develop a state "wildlife corridor action plan" that identifies and prioritizes the highest priority "hot spots" where highways pose a risk to wildlife migration or movement or risk to the traveling public, and to recommend potential mitigation measures.

Abstract Keywords
Policy
wildlife
transportation