Reconnecting California for Nature: From Science to Action: Using Our Conservation Toolbox to Advance Landscape Scale Connections and Decrease Barriers to Crossings

Cara Lacey, The Nature Conservancy

The ongoing pressure to develop housing and build roads to address California’s growing population and transportation needs has resulted in a complex network of infrastructure barriers, as well as fragmented landscapes beyond those barriers. Such development patterns impede the ability of wildlife to move in response to habitat loss and over longer time periods, adapt to a changing climate. The Nature Conservancy’s Omniscape climate connectivity analysis enables us to identify the different types of connectivity challenges that exist in the state – from fragmented landscapes to linkages with infrastructure barriers.  This characterization increases the flexibility for implementation of conservation actions and enables us to create a portfolio of strategies to address roadway barriers and habitat fragmentation, so that we can effectively protect landscape-scale connections. This presentation will focus on moving “From Science to Action,” by demonstrating how we are implementing complementary tools and strategies in our connectivity “toolbox” so that we can address multiple connectivity challenges.  We will showcase our work using two examples - the Santa Ana to Palomar and Tehachapi linkages.  These two examples will illustrate the use of Omniscape for prioritizing and sequencing actions to restore connectivity at a landscape scale.