Bill would help to connect wildlife habitat and benefit endangered species

WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 24, 2024) — 

In a show of bipartisan support for wildlife conservation,  U.S. Senator Padilla (D-CA) and U. S. Representatives Don Beyer (D-VA) and Ryan Zinke (R-MT) announced new legislation to protect wildlife movement and migration.   The Wildlife Movement Through Partnerships Act, which will be introduced in the U.S. House next week, establishes a new program to provide financial and technical assistance to states, Tribes, and regional partnerships for the conservation of wildlife migration routes and connectivity.  The bill would also direct the U.S. Geological Survey corridor mapping team to provide technical assistance to states and Tribes and collaborate with federal and state agencies and tribes to map movement areas. 

“Ensuring wildlife movement is one of our most important tools to address the biodiversity crisis, especially in the face of climate change,” said Susan Holmes, Executive Director of the Endangered Species Coalition. “This bill is a step forward to healing the landscape, lessening the effect of roads, fencing, and habitat loss on some of our most critically endangered species.  By providing funds for states and tribes to protect wildlife migration and movement, this bill is a win for wildlife such as the ocelot in Texas, the Sonoran pronghorn in Arizona, and the California Tiger Salamander. The Endangered Species Coalition thanks our House and Senate leaders for introducing this important bill.”

“With one in five migratory species facing the threat of extinction, recognizing connectivity corridors can help us understand biodiversity loss and better protect the migration patterns of iconic American species, like the Pronghorn,” said Representative Don Beyer. “Our Wildlife Movement Through Partnerships Act would provide the necessary grants and technical assistance to enhance wildlife connectivity and enable the collection and analysis of data on wildlife movement areas. Additionally, this bill would support the U.S. Geological Service mapping efforts that track wildlife movement to accurately identify active corridors and migration patterns. I thank my colleagues and conservation leaders who worked with us to craft this important bill and urge my colleagues to support it as we seek to protect our wildlife diversity by ensuring that species can move freely across landscapes and access vital resources.”

With a 69% of loss of abundance in mammal, bird, reptile, and fish species since 1970 globally, biodiversity loss and the disruption of natural wildlife habitats are among the nation’s greatest conservation challenges. Connecting habitats by protecting corridors enables species to migrate, access resources for survival, and better adapt to changing landscapes and climate. Many endangered species, such as the red wolf, Florida panther, ocelots, grizzly bears, and the red-cockaded woodpecker, struggle due to habitat fragmentation resulting from roads and poorly planned development.  A 2021  report from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) calls for wildlife corridors as part of an integrated strategy to address both climate change and biodiversity loss. This past February, the first of its kind United Nations (UN) report on the State of the World’s Migratory Species revealed that one in five of the migratory species on the UN’s global list are threatened with extinction, and of these, the North American species are experiencing faster declines than other regions. Identifying key sites along migratory pathways and increasing management effectiveness of protected and conserved areas are among the top recommended priority actions. 

A one-page summary of the Wildlife Movement Through Partnerships Act is available here

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