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Holy melting glaciers, Batman!

Posted by Joe Scott at Jan 13, 2010 11:25 PM |

Ecologists have insisted for decades that our parks and protected areas are too small and disconnected to satisfy long-term conservation needs – way before Al Gore took to the stump with his Graphs of Disaster. Is the tide finally turning for the fate of wildlife in the face of global warming? Some new plans from the powers that be may just mean yes.

Holy melting glaciers, Batman!

As climate change may affect ecosystems dramatically, we need to protect and connect the core wild places and the important habitat connections in between, and government groups are planning for that. Are they planning quickly enough?

Funny how a little thing like climate change can get people scrambling!

For years, conservation biologists and ecologists have been preaching the gospel of connectivity for wildlife, especially for the large toothy animals like wolves and bears. Ecologists have insisted for decades that our parks and protected areas are too small and disconnected to satisfy long-term conservation needs – way before Al Gore took to the stump with his Graphs of Disaster.

There’s nothing like a looming catastrophe for folks to hop on the "protect and connect" bandwagon, apparently. If someone had told me 10 years ago that the Western Governors’ Association would convene a wildlife connectivity working group, I would have asked for the name of their supplier.

Or how about the state of Washington assembling the biggest brains on wildlife connectivity and calling them the Washington Wildlife Habitat Connectivity Working Group?

(Leave it to government and GIS geeks to come up with that one – WWHCWG?!? How about animalsmoveon.org or something?)

The mandate of the group is to produce a landscape-scale analysis of core habitats and connectivity routes for a bunch of critters – and to include neighboring states and British Columbia. Basically, this group will create one of the broadest and deepest understandings of wildlife movement and habitat needs in WA and beyond.

Wow. Somebody pinch me.

To top it all off, the federal government’s getting into the act! I kid you not. The US Fish and Wildlife Service has drafted a climate change strategic plan.

Its objectives include establishing Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (including agencies, academics, and conservation groups) to build a National Fish and Wildlife Adaptation Strategy that will organize the effort to protect the country's water, land, fish, and wildlife against the effects of global warming. On top of all that, USFWS proposed to be carbon neutral by 2020, as well! 

Holy melting glaciers, Batman! 

I’m not complaining mind you. I’m thrilled and delighted. This is undoubtedly an “all hands on deck” issue, and the sign-on of government entities to this important issues is encouraging.

But this is only the first leg of the relay race and many questions remain: will the Canadians take the baton and run with it? Will governments actually implement the strategies and recommendations all these brilliant people devise? And the all-important anchor question – is all this too little too late?

Of course, unless there’s a serious effort to cap greenhouse gases consistent with climate gurus’ recommendations of 350 ppm, it may be, but we’ve got to start somewhere. So let's start with protecting and connecting the most biologically vital ecosystems for wildlife and people!

[Where we are working to forge those connections in WA]

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Thank you

Posted by Paul Novak at Jan 28, 2010 09:55 PM
Wow. A blog that's not all conservation doom and gloom. Refreshing. Nice to see that between all the damage, there is some chance left after all. Nice blog, keep at it. I'll definitely be checking for more here.

Paul Novak
Writingfourmylife.com

thanks!

Posted by Barbara Christensen at Jan 28, 2010 09:57 PM
Hey Paul, Thanks! We are a little behind on posting due to a new database this month, but will be back on track with good conservation news soon! We are always looking for guest bloggers; email me if you ever feel an urge to join the crew! barbara@conservationnw.org

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