Museum exhibit highlights habitat connectivity in Cascadia this summer

Maintaining and restoring habitat connectivity is a top adaptation priority for wildlife, allowing them options to move on the landscape in response to changing conditions over time.  This summer, a museum is bringing that concept to life in Cascadia for a suite of species utilizing the drier habitats of the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia that extends southward into Washington.

The Penticton Museum and Archives presents “How Do We Get From Here to There? Traveling the Green Highway” an exhibit that looks at how animals use natural pathways, or wildlife corridors, to travel finding food, water, shelter, and mates. The exhibit hopes to increase awareness of the importance of wildlife corridors and offers hands-on activities that illustrate life for an animal looking for ways to move around the Okanagan Valley. Visitors can also explore natural and human-made landscapes through a layered map interface and build their own pollinator garden to improve bee connectivity in a 3D neighbourhood. The exhibition runs from June 8 to September 2. For more information contact the Penticton Museum & Archives 250-490-2454 or chandra.wong@penticton.ca.

New video highlights unique transboundary collaboration to recover Cascadia wildlife.

Screenshot from the new video on fisher recovery in Washington.

A new brief video highlights a remarkable collaboration between partners in British Columbia and Washington to recover a species in the Cascades, increasing our biodiversity and showing the power of partnerships.

Partners that working together to recover fishers in the Washington Cascades include First Nations, tribes, NGO’s, and state, federal, and provincial agencies.

Historically a common species in Washington, fishers were over-trapped to extinction due to their highly valuable fur. Even after decades of absence from the ecosystem, fisher habitat and their prey base remains intact and abundant, making them exceptional candidates for a population restoration project. Washington is now actively restoring the fisher population by translocating fishers from a healthy British Columbia population to the evergreen state’s landscape.

For project updates visit, http://wdfw.wa.gov/conservation/fisher/.

For more information on North Cascades National Park Service Complex and Mount Rainier National Park visit, https://www.nps.gov/noca and https://www.nps.gov/mora

New fund to create Resilient Communities, pre-proposals due March 30th

Wells Fargo and NFWF have partnered to create the Resilient Communities program. Through improvements to natural features and enhanced community capacity, the program will help communities prepare for future impacts associated with sea level rise, water quantity and quality and forest conservation. By taking advantage of natural features like wetlands, resilient shorelines, urban tree canopies, natural forests and healthy upstream watersheds, communities can accrue quality of life benefits today, enhance fish and wildlife resources, and help prepare for foreseeable resiliency challenges.

The program places special emphasis on inclusion and helping traditionally underserved, low- and moderate-income communities build capacity for resiliency planning and investments in “greener” infrastructure. Lower income communities are often most vulnerable, communities are stronger and bounce back more quickly after an impact/disaster when people work together and have the skills, knowledge and capacity to rebuild.

Wells Fargo and NFWF will invest in these two focus areas:

  • Category 1: Adaptation  through Regional Conservation Projects
  • Category 2: Community Capacity Building and Demonstration Projects

Pre-proposals are due March 30, 2017.  Learn more and apply by clicking here.

Alternatives for restoration of grizzly bears presented in draft EIS out for public comment through March 14

The National Park Service (NPS) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) invite the public to participate in a series of informational open houses regarding the proposed alternatives for the restoration of grizzly bears to the North Cascades Ecosystem. The alternatives are described in the draft Grizzly Bear Restoration Plan/Environmental Impact Statement (draft EIS), released today by the two agencies. The meetings are one part of the public’s opportunity to comment on the draft EIS with an open comment period through March 14, 2017.

The purpose of the EIS is to determine what actions, if any, should be taken to restore the grizzly bear to the North Cascades Ecosystem. Although there are six populations of grizzly bears in North America, the last-known siting of grizzlies in the United States portion of the North Cascades Ecosystem is 1996. The goal of the public comment period is to gather comments regarding the draft EIS; public comments received on the draft EIS will be evaluated and considered in the identification of the preferred alternative, which will be published in the Final EIS. The full draft EIS is available at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/grizzlydeis.

As an iconic species that has been identified as both culturally and ecologically significant by our partner forum, grizzly bears have been a priority issue for us since our inception.  View this newly created video exploring whether it is Time for the grizzly? in the North Cascades Recovery Zone.

Great Northern LCC Offers FY17 Funding Opportunity

The Great Northern LCC is pleased to announce the FY17 funding opportunity. Proposals targeting the priorities and specific criteria described in the Funding Guidance will be accepted until February 17, 2017 at 6pm MST / 5pm PST. There will be two conference calls for questions about the Funding Guidance:

January 9, 2017 at 2:30 pm MST / 1:30 pm PST
January 18, 2017 at 10:30 am MST / 9:30 am PST

More information can be found in the FY17 Funding Guidance.

Seattle City Light Wildlife Research Grants for North Cascades – Pre-proposals due January 12

The City of Seattle, through its City Light Department, is soliciting research project applications for its Wildlife Research Program (WRP).  The WRP is a grant program that supports research on wildlife species and habitats in the greater North Cascades ecosystem.  It was established by Seattle City Light as part of the federal license for the Skagit River Hydroelectric Project.  Since 2001, the WRP has awarded more than 40 grants, totaling more than $1.5 million on a wide range of wildlife species and habitats in the region.

The next deadline for pre-proposals is January 12, 2017.

For complete information and application submittal requirements, please visit our website at http://www.seattle.gov/light/environment/wildlifegrant/.

NW Climate Science Conference – November 14-16

The 7th Annual Northwest Climate Conference will be held at Skamania Lodge in Stevenson, WA.  The conference will run from the evening of Monday, November 14th through 4pm on Wednesday November 16th, with a mix of plenary and concurrent sessions. The poster session will be the evening of Tuesday, November 15th.

Learn more information at http://pnwclimateconference.org/

CEQ Releases Final Guidance on Considering Climate Change in Environmental Reviews

This week, the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) released final guidance for Federal agencies on how to consider the impacts of their actions on climate change in their National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) reviews. Following years of engagement and after receiving public comments and other feedback from members of Congress, State agencies, tribes, corporations, trade associations, and other stakeholders, the final guidance is another step to consider how all types of federal actions will impact climate change and identify opportunities to build climate resilience. In addition to providing agencies with a suggested approach as to how to describe climate change impacts of an action, the guidance:

  • Advises agencies to quantify projected greenhouse gas emissions of proposed federal actions whenever the necessary tools, methodologies, and data inputs are available;
  • Encourages agencies to draw on their experience and expertise to determine the appropriate level (broad, programmatic or project- or site-specific) and the extent of quantitative or qualitative analysis required to comply with NEPA;
  • Counsels agencies to consider alternatives that would make the action and affected communities more resilient to the effects of a changing climate; and
  • Reminds agencies to use existing information and science when assessing proposed actions.

In Cascadia, this new guidance will play out on all actions that undergo federal review from highway projects to restoration projects on national forests.  It is an opportunity to utilize the large amount of quality climate science our region has to inform actions and clearly communicate the impacts of those actions to the public.

Swinomish Indian Tribal Community Wins Climate Adaptation Leadership Award

The Swinomish Indian Tribal Community Climate Change Project has been awarded the National Climate Adaptation Leadership Award. The Swinomish Tribe is a community of Coast Salish peoples descended from groups and bands originating from the Skagit and Samish River valleys, coastal areas surrounding nearby bays and waters, and numerous islands including Fidalgo, Camano, Whidbey and the San Juan Islands residing today in Cascadia’s Puget Sound region.

The new award recognizes the outstanding leadership by organizations and individuals who develop innovative approaches to prevent changes that are affecting valuable wildlife and natural resources.  The award was established as part of the Obama Administration’s Priority Agenda for Enhancing the Climate Resilience of America’s Natural Resources, which identifies key actions across the federal government to support resilience of America’s vital natural resources and the many people, businesses and communities that depend on them. The award is sponsored by the National Fish, Wildlife, and Plant Climate Adaptation Strategy’s Joint Implementation Working Group in partnership with the Department of the Interior, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Resource Conservation Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Forest Service, and the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.

“Climate change is one of the greatest threats facing our natural resources and the communities that depend on them,” said Michael Bean, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Fish and Wildlife and Parks. “These recipients are using innovative tools right now to combat this global threat. Their leadership advances smart conservation and resource management approaches that will increase the resilience of our natural resources for our communities and economies.”

The recipients’ projects were selected from 47 nominations based on a criteria of effectiveness, innovative approach, high potential for replication, promotion of preparation and response, and collaboration. More information about the Swinomish Tribe’s project is available in a 2015 article from NW Climate Science Magazine.

 

Judge tells USFWS to reconsider wolverine listing in light of climate threats

Wolverine captured by citizen wildlife monitors in the North Cascades in 2012.

Wolverine captured on camera by citizen wildlife monitors in the North Cascades in 2012.

Describing the wolverine as a “snow-dependent species standing squarely in the path of global climate change,” a federal judge today overturned an August 2014 decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service deciding not to provide protection for this species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  Judge Christensen released an 85-page ruling.  He stated, “It is (my) view that if there is one thing required of the Service under the (Endangered Species Act), it is to take action at the earliest possible, defensible point in time to protect against the loss of biodiversity within our reach as a nation. For the wolverine, that time is now.”

Cascadia is home to a recovering population of wolverines that our partner forum recognized early on as a priority issue for transboundary collaboration and coordination.  Our population benefits from strong research and monitoring efforts that will inform the next steps by the US Fish and Wildlife Service as they consider a listing in light of climate science.