The issue of protecting key wildlife corridors was addressed during a meeting of the Western Governors' Association's (WGA) Wildlife Council. Gov. Brian Schweitzer, D-Mont., who is also chairman of the WGA, demonstrated an information and mapping tool that will be implemented in Montana. Other states are developing similar tools to help identify and protect these corridors.
The governor addressed the Western Governors' Wildlife Council at a meeting attended by a variety of public, nonprofit and private entities, and the general public.
‘The maps, models and data sets that can be generated by wildlife Decision Support Systems will be shared with our communities and state managers to inform their choices as they seek to provide the best opportunities for meeting our needs for growth and maintaining room to roam for wildlife,’ Schweitzer says.
WGA's Wildlife Corridors Initiative brought together experts from government, tribes, industry and conservation entities to advise the states on strategies to protect wildlife.
States will identify and map crucial habitat and wildlife corridors individually, but in a manner that is comparable across the region and that supplies wildlife information early in land planning and decision-making processes, according to the WGA.
Jack D. Sahl, director for environment and resource sustainability for Southern California Edison, says environmental decision-support tools create a more productive dialogue that should create better results for all.
‘Working in partnership, these tools can be used to protect habitat and wildlife so that government, communities and the electricity supply industry can meet the clean energy needs for today's and future generations,’ he says.
Sahl also serves on the steering team of Freedom to Roam, a coalition of organizations and businesses working to increase support for and protection of wildlife corridors across North America so that animals can continue to move and adapt with human use and climate change.
SOURCE: Western Governors' Association