Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Groups work to strengthen wildlife pathway between Catskills, Adirondacks

This month, the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy (MHLC), in partnership with The Nature Conservancy (TNC), was awarded a Mohawk Watershed grant for $88,744 through the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s Mohawk Watershed Program. The grant stream is intended to protect the Mohawk Basin and help mitigate the impacts of climate change.

MHLC will work closely with TNC to assess two areas of wildlife connectivity: Glenville Hill in the town of Glenville, and a location known as the “Noses” in the town of Sprakers. Roads in this area are a significant challenge for wildlife movement. However culverts and bridges, when designed correctly, can be used as a safe passageway for animals, reducing car collisions, and mortality. Culvert assessments will be completed by TNC along major roads in the area, including New York State Thruway 90, to determine if upgrades are needed to better facilitate wildlife movement.

The locations in Glenville and Sprakers were selected using TNC’s Resilient and Connected Lands Model that highlights the importance of this area in facilitating wildlife movement.

“The Resilient and Connected Network of lands was identified and mapped over a 10-year period by Nature Conservancy scientists to create a roadmap of natural highways and neighborhoods where plant and animal species have the best chance to move away from growing climate threats and find new places to call home. We are thrilled to partner with the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy to fortify a pathway between two climate strongholds, the Catskills and the Adirondacks,” said Alissa Fadden, Wildlife Connectivity Project Manager.

Working with willing landowners and communities to identify the mutual benefits to people, MHLC will conserve private lands to reduce development and provide protected areas for wildlife along these corridors. Creating a buffer of protected lands near busy road crossings can provide respite for wildlife migrating across an area.

Wildlife requires additional space to move and adapt as they seek suitable habitat in the face of climate change. Projects like these will ensure the practices are in place to best help wildlife and mitigate the impacts of climate change. With grant funds in motion, MHLC and TNC anticipate their work starting in early 2021, beginning with a broader planning document for land protection and wildlife movement facilitation in the targeted areas.

Photo: Two bobcats cross CR 113 in Stillwater, NY. Courtesy of The Nature Conservancy.

 

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3 Responses

  1. James Schaefer says:

    Great ideas. The man-made barriers can be changed. Rather than tunnels, expenses of wide open air — natural habitat are best to enable critters to move back and forth over rails, pipes and highways.

    Alaska pipeline experiences are suggestive for herd migrations and apparently benefit solitary game as well.

    A natural challenge to regional movement of all game in our area is the east/west nature of Mohawk River. Is there a data base regarding river crossings of large game animals? When the river is frozen and flowing? Are there sufficient migratory patterns that require short-term mitigation? Or is the idea to model needs 25 and 50 years from now?

    I’m sure the wildlife experts and community panels will be exploring corridors for game movement that list risks and benefits for the public to consider.

  2. Robert White says:

    Hopefully these corridors will have protections for the critters from hunters, trappers and poachers who may see the critters that use these pathways as easy pickin’s. The wider and more numerous the corridors the better. DEC monitoring would help with this and may help with population counts too.

  3. gabe susice says:

    another feel good story

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