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Conservation Northwest, partners receive awards

Aug 24, 2011

Conservation Northwest and others were recognized by the Federal Highway Administration for our work with the Washington Wildlife Habitat Connectivity Working Group and wildlife bridges for I-90 Snoqualmie Pass East Project, in the Cascades.

Conservation Northwest, partners receive awards

Conservation Northwest's partnerships for wildlife connectivity science and transportation safety received federal kudos this week. Photo: Brett Cole

Conservation Northwest recently received an Environmental Excellence Award from the Federal Highway Administration for our work as a part of the Washington Wildlife Habitat Connectivity Working Group. The award is the agency’s highest form of recognition for innovative solutions that reduce the environmental impact of the nation's highways.

"These winners are setting the standard for the way the transportation community meets environmental challenges," said Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez. "By shortening project delivery and advancing innovative technology, the people behind these projects are helping make every day count."

The Excellence in Ecosystem, Habitat, and Wildlife Award was granted to the Working Group partners for our Washington Connected Landscapes Project. Comprised of representatives from management agencies, non-profit conservation groups, and universities, the Working Group produced a suite of  tools and analyses that offer communities unprecedented data on wildlife connectivity for a number of representative species, such as elk, sage grouse, wolverine, and lynx. These tools and analyses help highlight opportunities and priorities for providing habitat connectivity in Washington and surrounding habitats.

The FHA recognized the Working Group analysis as an important tool in the design of transportation projects that "allow for the long-term movements of wildlife while minimizing collisions with the traveling public."

"It is fantastic to be recognized for the collaboration and the products of our working group," said Jen Watkins of Conservation Northwest.  "We certainly feel that both the process and outcome were unique and benefited Washington in the long run.  To have others see that as well adds to the meaning.”

The Washington State Department of Transportation and US Forest Service also received an award for the I-90 Snoqualmie Pass East Project. The collaborative approach taken by WSDOT and its partners, like our I-90 Wildlife Bridges Coalition, enabled the project team to consider ecological issues early, thereby streamlining the environmental review process and saving both time and money. The preferred alternative that resulted will improve wildlife connectivity and mitigate hydrological impacts while improving transportation mobility and safety.

Conservation Northwest is honored to be a part of both these award-winning collaborative solutions for our state's wildlife and transportation systems.

Congratulations to our co-recipients: Western Transportation Institute, Washington State DOT, Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife, Washington State Department of Natural Resources, US Fish and Wildlife Service, US Forest Service, The Nature Conservancy, and the University of Washington

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