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Rep. Don Beyer Lauds Interior Department Actions Promoting Conservation and Restoration of Wildlife Corridors

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Good news, from Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA08)’s office:

Beyer Lauds Interior Department Actions Promoting Conservation and Restoration of Wildlife Corridors

Friday, April 8, 2022 (Washington, D.C.) – Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA), author of the bipartisan, bicameral Wildlife Corridors Conservation Act, applauds Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland’s announcement yesterday of new federal actions to advance the Department’s work on wildlife corridors. The actions announced by Secretary Haaland include $9.5 million in grant funding from the Department of the Interior (DOI), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and private partners to support 13 corridor projects; and a partnership between the Fish and Wildlife Service and the Native American Fish and Wildlife Society to coordinate support and use of the National Conservation Training Center to meet conservation needs.

“I am glad Secretary Haaland continues to prioritize wildlife corridors, and remains committed towards the implementation of the America the Beautiful Initiative. America’s native fish, wildlife, and plant species are part of our rich natural and national heritage,” said Rep. Beyer. “Scientists recognize that species have been declining as a result of habitat loss, fragmentation, and degradation, all of which are accelerated by climate change. Wildlife corridors, road crossings, and other habitat connectivity efforts are among our strongest tools to protect wildlife migration routes and habitats. The actions announced by Secretary Haaland build on previous holistic, science-driven initiatives that both protect and manage these ecosystems.”

During her remarks, Secretary Haaland also outlined how the Interior Department will advance its work on wildlife corridors through a number of steps, including:

  • Investing in collaborative conservation opportunities to support strategies that advance enduring conservation outcomes. These collaborative efforts will support connected lands, waters, and thriving fish and wildlife populations, reflect local needs and priorities, and improve quality of life for people. This includes continued implementation of Secretary’s Order 3362 through support for state-led science, identification of priority big game migratory habitat, technical assistance, and project implementation to advance conservation of big game species and the sagebrush ecosystem.
  • Prioritizing research, data collection, analysis and mapping to identify key habitats, including seasonal ranges, stopover areas, migration routes, and bottlenecks.
  • Collaborating with and supporting Tribal partners to conduct new wildlife migration movement studies and associated mapping as well as use existing migration data to enhance Tribal wildlife corridor and habitat connectivity priorities.
  • Updating agency policies, where appropriate, to identify and prioritize conservation and restoration of wildlife corridors as well as other lands and waters that advance habitat connectivity in partnership with state and Tribal wildlife managers and other stakeholders.

Beyer most recently introduced the Wildlife Corridors Conservation Act in 2020, which was included in the broad Moving Forward Act that passed in the House of Representatives in July 2020. In June 2021, the bill passed as an amendment to the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Beyer first introduced the bill in 2016 following conversations with biologist E.O. Wilson, who coined the term “biodiversity.”

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