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Protecting Western Wildlife Corridors

February 13, 2009 |  5:28 pm

Sagegrouse

Conservation initiatives in the 2008 Farm Bill could help animals safely migrate across western states, according to a report by the Environmental Defense Fund.

The report encourages state agencies and groups to take measures to protect wildlife corridors - areas with natural vegetation that provide animals with a safe passageway when moving or migrating between habitats.

The Farm Bill includes a Conservation Reserve Program that could help restore wildlife corridors, which enable animals to migrate and interbreed. In western states, salmon, elk, migratory birds, ocelot, sage grouse and countless other species use wildlife corridors to move across landscape.

The bill could provide tens of millions of dollars to protecting corridors if conservation groups and state agencies take advantage of its provisions, the report said. Among the report's recommendations:

  • Reward land management practices, such as modifying or removing fences, that protect wildlife corridors
  • Use Farm Bill programs to create wildlife-friendly fence designs and reduce fencing when feasible for ranchers and farmers
  • Focus resources from the Farm Bill's programs toward creating and preserving wildlife corridors

--Catherine Ho

Photo: Sage grouse near Reno, Nevada. Credit: Nevada Department of Wildlife

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