FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Gary J. Taylor, Legislative Director
Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies
firstname.lastname@example.org, (202) 624-1402
Jeff Parrish, Executive Director
Freedom to Roam
email@example.com, (720) 289-4677
Washington, D.C., April 21, 2010 – U.S. Representatives Rush Holt (NJ-12) and Jared Polis (CO-2) introduced today the “Wildlife Corridors Conservation Act” that would identify and protect wildlife corridors on public and private lands. These corridors are needed to give wildlife the room they need to roam as they seek new habitat in response to climate change.
The Wildlife Corridors Conservation Act comes on the heels of an April 16th Presidential Memorandum that defines a 21st century strategy for preserving America’s Great Outdoors and which also recognizes the importance of wildlife corridors and connectivity.
“It is vitally important that we identify and maintain habitat connectivity and migration corridors for fish and wildlife in response to the effects of climate change and other landscape level impacts on these critical resources. This bill will facilitate meaningful cooperative endeavors to this end between states, federal agencies, tribes, industry, and private landowners,” observed Gary Taylor, Legislative Director of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.
The Wildlife Corridors Conservation Act would create a national wildlife corridors information program within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to collect and disseminate information among states and federal agencies about essential wildlife movement areas. It would also establish a Wildlife Corridors Stewardship and Protection Fund to provide grants to federal agencies, states, local governments, nonprofits, and corporations for the management and protection of essential wildlife corridors. Finally, it would require the Departments of Agriculture, Interior, and Transportation to consider the preservation of these movement areas in their management plans. This legislation incorporates and builds on the wildlife habitat and corridors provisions of the Climate Change Safeguards for Natural Resources Conservation Act (H.R. 2192), sponsored by Rep. Raul Grijalva, and ultimately incorporated into the House-passed climate bill (H.R. 2454).
“The lives of the American people always have been interwoven with the movement of wildlife. Today, wildlife corridors are vital to the outdoor traditions that are a central part of our national character,” Holt said. “As we celebrate Earth Day this week, we recognize that protecting our planet entails protecting all of its inhabitants. Passing this legislation and preserving wildlife corridors would honor the ideals of Earth Day.”
“Wildlife corridors connect natural areas and allow animals to move, migrate, and adapt in a warmer, more crowded world, ” says Jeffrey Parrish, Executive Director of the Freedom to Roam Coalition, which represents a broad group of businesses, non-profits, and government agencies. “Corridors also connect people to the outdoors, and ensure that all our citizens can hunt and fish, watch wildlife, and recreate while still developing our nation’s economy and addressing our energy challenges sustainably.”
Support for the Wildlife Corridors Conservation Act includes the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, National Wildlife Federation, Freedom to Roam, the Society for Conservation Biology, Wildlife Conservation Society, World Wildlife Fund, the Wildlife Alliance, National Parks Conservation Association, Defenders of Wildlife, the Wildlife Society, Wildlands Network, Sierra Club, the Humane Society, Conservation Northwest, American Wildlands, Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative, New Jersey Conservation, Center for Large Landscape Conservation, Oregon Natural Desert Association, and the Western Environmental Law Center.