Staying Connected in the Northern Appalachians: Mitigating Fragmentation and Climate Impacts on Wildlife through Functional Habitat Linkages

Project #: 3837  –   Updated: March 10, 2012

Project Summary

Staying Connected is a new initiative to help safeguard wide‐ranging and forest‐dwelling wildlife such as bear, moose, lynx, marten and bobcat from the impacts of habitat fragmentation and climate change by maintaining and restoring landscape connections across the Northern Appalachians region. This project works to maintain, enhance, and restore habitat connectivity for wildlife Species of Greatest Conservation Need in six key linkages across four states of the Northern Appalachian Ecoregion (ME, NH,NY,VT).

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Location (by county):
["", "Schenectady County (NY), ", "Franklin County (VT), ", "Berkshire County (MA), ", "Androscoggin County (ME), ", " (show more)", "Essex County (NY), ", "Rutland County (VT), ", "Lamoille County (VT), ", "Lewis County (NY), ", "Madison County (NY), ", "Coos County (NH), ", "Montgomery County (NY), ", "Fulton County (NY), ", "Saratoga County (NY), ", "Piscataquis County (ME), ", "Grafton County (NH), ", "Jefferson County (NY), ", "Caledonia County (VT), ", "Oswego County (NY), ", "Saint Lawrence County (NY), ", "Oxford County (ME), ", "Penobscot County (ME), ", "Clinton County (NY), ", "Chittenden County (VT), ", "Grand Isle County (VT), ", "Washington County (VT), ", "Belknap County (NH), ", "Herkimer County (NY), ", "Onondaga County (NY), ", "Orange County (VT), ", "Waldo County (ME), ", "Kennebec County (ME), ", "Oneida County (NY), ", "Windham County (VT), ", "Rensselaer County (NY), ", "Warren County (NY), ", "Franklin County (ME), ", "Lincoln County (ME), ", "Sullivan County (NH), ", "Aroostook County (ME), ", "Washington County (ME), ", "Cumberland County (ME), ", "Knox County (ME), ", "Orleans County (VT), ", "Windsor County (VT), ", "Sagadahoc County (ME), ", "Washington County (NY), ", "Addison County (VT), ", "Hamilton County (NY), ", "Bennington County (VT), ", "Essex County (VT), ", "Franklin County (MA), ", "Somerset County (ME), ", "Hancock County (ME), ", "Carroll County (NH), ", "Franklin County (NY)", " (show less)"]

Watersheds:
Upper Connecticut, St. Francois, Mohawk, St. Croix, Missisquoi, Winooski, Hudson-Hoosic

Congressional Districts:
["", "MA District 01, ", "NH District 02, ", "VT District 00, ", "ME District 01, ", " (show more)", "NY District 21, ", "NH District 01, ", "NY District 20, ", "NY District 22, ", "NY District 24, ", "ME District 02, ", "NY District 19", " (show less)"]

Bird Conservation Regions:
Atlantic Northern Forest, Lower Great Lakes/ St. Lawrence Plain

USFWS Regions:
Northeast Region

Project size:
100137286.26 acres

Public Access

Site Name Publicly Accessible
Northern Maine - Gaspe Linkage Yes
Northeast Kingdom - Northern NH - Western ME Mountains Yes
Worcester Range - Northeast Kingdom Linkage Yes
Northern Greens Linkage Yes
Greens - Adirondacks Linkage Yes
Adirondacks - Tug Hill Linkage Yes
Greens - Taconics Linkage Yes
Northern Appalachians Ecoregion Yes

Full Project Description

Staying Connected is a new initiative to help safeguard wide‐ranging and forest‐dwelling wildlife such as bear, moose, lynx, marten and bobcat from the impacts of habitat fragmentation and climate change by maintaining and restoring landscape connections across the Northern Appalachians region. This project works to maintain, enhance, and restore habitat connectivity for wildlife Species of Greatest Conservation Need in six key linkages across four states of the Northern Appalachian Ecoregion (ME, NH,NY,VT).

Project Assistance & Partnership Opportunities

Funding

Staying Connected partners are seeking additional funding for enhanced community outreach, to advance policy work that will facilitate connectivity, to expand connectivity work into the Canadian part of the Northern Appalachians Ecoregion, and to increase the number of land protection projects that we can complete.

Goals and Targets

Primary motivations:

Conservation Mission
Most of the partners involved in the Staying Connected initiative have habitat conservation and/or wildlife conservation as a core part of their organizational/agency missions.
Climate Change Adaptation
Protecting and restoring landscape connections across the Northern Appalachians is a key element of allowing species to adapt to changing climate.

Primary goals:

Staying Connected is helping individuals and communities to choose actions that will sustain wildlife and local community values such as hunting, fishing, and other outdoor recreation in a rapidly changing world. The initiative focuses on seven priority areas across the Northern Appalachians where landscape connections for wildlife movement are at risk due to development and roads: 1) Tug Hill Plateau - Adirondack Mountains (NY) 2) Adirondack Mountains - Green Mountains (NY-VT) 3) Taconic Mountains - Southern Green Mountains (NY-VT) 4) Northern Green Mountains (VT-Canada) 5) Worcester Range - Northeast Kingdom (VT) 6) Northeast Kingdom - Northern NH - Western Maine Mountains (VT-NH-ME) 7) Maine’s North Woods - Quebec’s Gaspe Peninsula (ME-Canada) Within these landscapes, project partners and communities are identifying the key areas of local connectivity – or linkages - that allow wildlife to successfully move through intact and fragmented landscapes. We are engaging landowners, organizations and municipalities to protect, restore, maintain, and enhance habitat blocks and the connections among them. And we are working with state transportation agencies and local communities to reduce the dangers to wildlife seeking to cross well-traveled roads.

Consistent with plans:

Nature Conservancy Ecoregional Plan
Northern Appalachians Ecoregional Assessment.
State Wildlife Action Plan
NY, VT, NH, and ME SWAPS all identify connectivity as a key issues for many species of greatest conservation need.
Conservation Plan
Connectivity is identified as a conservation need in many conservation plans within the Northern Appalachians ecoregion.
Climate Change Strategy
Protecting and restoring landscape connections is seen as an important strategy for building more resilient conservation areas and to allow wildlife to adapt to changing climate.

Targeted habitats:

    • Forests and Woodlands
      • Conifer Forests
      • Deciduous Forests and Woodlands
      • Mixed Hardwoods and Conifer
    • Wetlands and Riparian Habitats
      • Forested or Shrub Wetlands and Swamps
      • Lowland Riparian Forests and Shrublands
      • Marshes, Bogs and Emergent Wetlands

Targeted species:

  • Canadian Lynx Lynx canadensis
  • American Marten Martes americana
  • Bobcat Lynx rufus
  • American Black Bear Ursus americanus

Actions

Project Actions
Conservation easement Show/Hide details
Land acquisition for conservation (fee simple, etc.) Show/Hide details
Other: Monitoring status of landscape connectivity Show/Hide details
Other: Developing spatially explicit connectivity models and plans Show/Hide details
Other: Strategies to mitigate the effects of transportation infrastructure on connectivity Show/Hide details

Assistance

Direct Funding
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (Federal Government) Show/Hide details
Wildlife Conservation Society - Duke Wildlife Action Opportunies Fund (Non-Governmental Organization) Show/Hide details
In-Kind Contribution
Various public and private partners Show/Hide details

Outcomes

Is the success of this project's actions being monitored?   Yes

Please describe your monitoring activity.

Staying Connected has established a Monitoring and Evaluation Workgroup to develop an efficient and meaningful set of measures through which the status of landscape connectivity in the Northern Appalachians region can be readily evaluated now and into the future, and that can be reported in a manner that is understandable to partners, key stakeholders, and the broader public.

This work has just gotten underway in winter 2010.

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Organization

The Nature Conservancy - New Hampshire
(Non-Governmental Organization)

Primary Contact

Mark Zankel  (Deputy State Director)
The Nature Conservancy
Send email

Partners

  • Maine Audubon
  • New Hampshire Audubon
  • Maine Dept of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife
  • New Hampshire Fish & Game Department
  • U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Vermont Land Trust
  • Two Countries, One Forest
  • Two Countries, One Forest
  • Trust for Public Land
  • Wildlands Network
  • National Wildlife Federation
  • Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • New York Department of Environmental Conservation
  • Northeast Wilderness Trust
  • Tug Hill Commission
  • Tug Hill Tomorrow
  • Wildlife Conservation Society
  • New York Department of Transportation
  • Vermont Agency of Transportation
  • New Hampshire Department of Transportation
  • Maine Department of Transportation
  • The Nature Conservancy - Adirondacks Chapter
  • The Nature Conservancy - Vermont Chapter
  • The Nature Conservancy - New Hampshire Chapter
  • The Nature Conservancy - Maine Chapter

Project Photos

Photos were not provided.