New Voices of Cascadia video opens WildLinks 2015 meeting

Voices of Cascadia: The Next Generation - a video that opened up our 2015 WildLinks conference. Click to play.

Voices of Cascadia: The Next Generation – a video that opened up our 2015 WildLinks conference. Click to play.

Our partner forum hosted our annual WildLinks gathering October 28-30, 2015 at Manning Park Resort to bring together the diverse pool of practitioners working throughout Cascadia to create a more resilient landscape for species and ecosystems today and into the future.  Nearly 90 attendees from state, federal, and provincial governments, tribes, First Nations, NGO’s, universities, and scientific organizations gathered for a productive event.

This year the conference opened with a new video in our Voices of Cascadia Project that specifically brought forward the voices of the next generation telling conference attendees why Cascadia is important to them and what they want the older generation to know.  Watch the video now and enjoy their inspiring messages.

Learn more about the WildLinks 2015 conference on our event page.

British Columbia Releases Protected Areas Framework for South Okanagan With an Invitation for Public Feedback

Chopka grasslands, South Okanagan-Similkameen, British Columbia. Photo Graham Osborne, South Okanagan-Similkameen National Park Network (SOSNPN)

Chopka grasslands, South Okanagan-Similkameen, British Columbia. Photo Graham Osborne, South Okanagan-Similkameen National Park Network (SOSNPN)

In Cascadia, British Columbia’s South Okanagan region is an ecologically, socially, and culturally important place. As a result of discussions with stakeholders, community interests, and the Okanagan Nation, the provincial government has developed a proposed land protection framework for the South Okanagan that it hopes will address these interests both today and into the future.  Public comment is being sought on this proposal through October 12, 2015.

The South Okanagan region of British Columbia contains significant diversity and uniqueness of plants and animals, and is home to 30% of B.C.’s red-listed wildlife species and 46% of blue-listed species. Situated at the northernmost tip of the Great Basin Desert and representing a dry arid landscape that is not only unique to British Columbia, but to Canada, it is aptly named the “pocket desert.” This area is important to First Nations and contains sacred cultural and traditional use sites such as Spotted Lake and the White Lake basin and many other significant cultural, recreational and ecological sites. It is also an area that is facing intense development pressure and increasing population.

This region is included in an ongoing scientific and community stakeholders habitat connectivity collaboration between Washington and British Columbia, and has been identified as important in numerous discussions in the Cascadia Partner Forum as we consider our priority issues and contribution to the Great Northern Landscape Conservation Cooperative’s Science Plan.  Learn more and comment through October 12, 2015 on the Protected Areas Framework website for this proposal.

Great Northern LCC 2015 funding brings resources to Cascadia

The Great Northern LCC announced the commitment of $700,000 to landscape science, information management, and capacity support for the fiscal year 2015 including several projects covering the Cascadia landscape.

The Great Northern LCC continued its support for the work of our partner forum with $15,000 to track and foster implementation and update to conservation design for four Great Northern LCC conservation targets underway towards completion currently (see the priority issues we are currently working on) while initiating conservation design on two new conservation targets (Canada lynx and bull trout) to contribute to Cascadia-wide climate adaptation strategies and provide input and integration to the courser scale GNLCC-wide Science Plan’s established objectives, threats, metrics, and conservation actions for each target. Additionally we propose to continue our work to create a transboundary network of practitioners coordinating to increase the adaptive capacity of the ecosystems and species of Cascadia, while facilitating a Cascadia-wide discussion and identification of spatial priority landscapes that contribute to our resilient landscape vision.

Additionally, the Great Northern LCC is contributing:

  • $10,000 to the Yakama Nation Department of Natural Resources towards developing a department-wide Climate Adaptation Plan (CAP). YN staff will be integrating Traditional Ecological Knowledge with current science findings to better prepare their natural resource programs to address future climate conditions. Funding through this grant will facilitate sharing of key strategies between the CAP and the GNLCC Conservation Framework.
  • $75,000 towards wolverine metapopulation monitoring and connectivity in the U.S. Rocky Mountains and North Cascades that is intended to advance wolverine conservation across the Rocky Mountains and North Cascades in the contiguous United States. It will include maintaining landscape connectivity among occupied wolverine habitats, assessing the feasibility to assist wolverine distribution expansion with translocation, developing andimplementing a collaborative multi-state monitoring plan to assess distribution and genetic characteristics of the metapopulation, and engaging key partners at multiple levels to
    prioritize habitat conservation, population connectivity, and management activities.  Wolverine was an early priority conservation target of the Cascadia Partner Forum.
  • $38,000 to researchers in British Columbia towards developing an interagency stream temperature database and model for BC and northern half of GNLCC.  Stream temperature data will be compiled from federal and provincial government agencies, as well as other data holders in British Columbia which will be housed in an interagency database. Spatial statistical models for river networks like those used for NorWeST will be used with these data to develop a consistent set of high-resolution predictions for all streams and reaches within streams for a pilot area within the Cascadia ecotypic area of the GNLCC (i.e., middle Fraser River and Okanagan River basins). The pilot area work would entail development of technical protocols so that future efforts could be scaled broadly across BC and the northern half of the GNLCC to ultimately provide a consistentset of international stream temperature scenarios for planning and vulnerability assessments for aquatic species.

Other projects within the list range from site specific efforts elsewhere in the GNLCC to landscape wide efforts that will include input from Cascadia.  Click here to view the full list of FY15 Funding Allocation projects funded by the Great Northern LCC.

Public meetings announced for North Cascades grizzly bear recovery

Grizzly cub along the Chilcotin River in British Columbia.  Credit:  Jeremy Williams

Grizzly cub along the Chilcotin River in British Columbia. Credit: Jeremy Williams

On Friday, the National Park Service announced a series of public meetings to initiate public engagement in the recovery process for grizzly bears in the North Cascades.  The public is invited to participate in these informational open houses being held by the National Park Service (NPS) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) as part of the Grizzly Bear Restoration Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process for the North Cascades ecosystem.

Public engagement is the next step in a three-year process that the agencies announced in August of 2014. A public comment period will be open through March 26, 2015. Comments can be made during a series of open houses, online at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/NCEG, or via regular mail or hand delivery at: Superintendent’s Office, North Cascades National Park Service Complex, 810 State Route 20, Sedro Woolley, WA 98284.

The public open houses will be held at:

• Tuesday, March 3rd in Winthrop from 5-7:30 p.m. at the Red Barn Upper Meeting Room
• Wednesday, March 4th in Okanogan from 5-7:30 p.m. at the Okanogan PUD Meeting Room
• Thursday, March 5th in Wenatchee from 6-8:30 p.m. at the Chelan County PUD Auditorium
• Monday, March 9th in Cle Elum from 5-7:30 p.m. at the Putnam Centennial Center Meeting Room
• Tuesday, March 10th in Seattle from 5-7:30 p.m. at the Seattle Pacific University Bertona Classroom 1
• Wednesday, March 11th in Bellingham from 5-7:30 p.m. in the Bellingham Central Library Lecture Room

Grizzly bears are a conservation target of the Great Northern Landscape Conservation Cooperative regionally, as well as a priority issue identified by the Cascadia Partner Forum.  Learn more about our work to communicate and coordinate in Cascadia on the management and recovery discussions for this species of cultural and ecological importance.

Great Northern offers FY 2015 funding opportunity

The Great Northern LCC has announced the FY15 strategic science funding opportunity. Proposals targeting the priorities and specific criteria described in the Funding Guidance will be accepted until March 13, 2015 at 6pm Mountain Time / 5pm Pacific Time.

There will be two conference calls for questions about the Funding Guidance:

  • February 11 at 2pm Mountain / 1pm Pacific
  • February 19 at 10am Mountain / 9am Pacific

Click here for the FY 2015 funding guidance.

Funding proposals sought for Cascades wildlife research

The City of Seattle, through its City Light Department, is soliciting grant applications for its Wildlife Research Program (WRP). The WRP is a grant program that supports research on wildlife in the North Cascades ecosystem. It was established by Seattle City Light in response to federal
licensing requirements for the Skagit River Hydroelectric Project. Anyone who is conducting or planning to conduct research on wildlife or wildlife habitat in the North Cascades is encouraged to submit a pre-proposal.

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

The deadline for pre-proposals is January 3, 2014. Grantees will be selected after review of full proposals in March.

If you have any questions, please contact Ron Tressler with Seattle City Light at 206-386-4506 or ron.tressler@seattle.gov

 

Seattle Times celebrates North Cascades and looks ahead

In an article by William Dietrich in the Seattle Times entitled, In celebration of the North Cascades:  50 years after a landmark preservation law, a Washington gem is celebrated, the author states ” the author details why this ecosystem is such an incredible place that many have worked to protect.

He states, “Visionaries protected this range over many decades of political battle in the 20th century. What one sees today from the summit of Mount Baker — craggy Mount Shuksan, the fanged Picket Range, the ice cream mound of Glacier — now needs a new generation of stewardship. How shall we manage these crags? Can their complex succession of ecosystems be sustained? Will salmon survive in the rivers? Will grizzlies, wolves and wolverines roam? How can the North Cascades be resilient in the face of climate change? Since 1915, average air temperatures at Diablo Dam on the Skagit River have risen about 1 degree Fahrenheit, global warming shrinking the average snowpack.”

Read the full article, and then join the dialogue we are having in the Cascadia Partner Forum to address some of these questions into the future.

 

Landscape Conservation Cooperatives fund Cascadia Partner Forum work

This summer the Great Northern Landscape Conservation Cooperative announced $45,500 in funding to our Cascadia Partner Forum proposal to complete conservation design for four Great Northern Landscape Conservation Cooperative identified conservation targets with significance to the transboundary Cascadia landscape: grizzly bear, salmon, aquatic, and terrestrial connectivity.  Our planning aims to inform sound, data-driven management planning and action. This project aims to complete conservation design at the Cascadia-wide scale to contribute to the Great Northern LCC Science Plan, while providing input and integration to the courser scale Science Plan’s established objectives, threats, metrics, and conservation actions for each target.  Each of the conservation targets is relevant on both sides of the Cascades crest, so we hope to inform North Pacific LCC discussions as well.

Additionally we propose to conduct analyses on a common landscape stressor within Cascadia that land and species managers have identified science needs for to apply with stakeholders in planning efforts aimed at addressing and mitigating their impact – roads.  This builds on the dialogues our forum hosted last year on access management considerations in light of climate change.

This work will address two specific needs: (1) the Great Northern LCC’s need for contribution from our on the ground practitioners in Cascadia to development of their Science Plan and (2) the need to bring scientific information and analyses to ongoing land and species management dialogues within Cascadia.

Additionally, funding from the North Pacific Landscape Conservation Cooperative and Brainerd Foundation allow us to leverage these dollars even further in the Cascades including hiring two fellows and bringing applied science to an additional landscape.

We are currently hiring two 6-month fellows to assist in this work, and will initiate planning discussions on each conservation target this fall.  We are working in partnership with land and species managers to develop applied science on roads in coordination when it is most useful to their decision making processes.  Stay tuned as our workload moves forward, and please contact us if you would like to be engaged directly in any of this work.

Click here to read the full funding proposal submitted by the Cascadia Partner Forum.

See all 2014 funded projects by the Great Northern LCC.

 

Doris Duke Conservation Scholars visit Cascadia

Patty_Craig_DDSatI-90Yesterday, the Doris Duke Conservation Scholars had their first field day in Cascadia visiting both the Cedar River watershed and the I-90 wildlife corridor.  The Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program at the University of Washington brings together a diverse, committed, and exciting group of students from around the country for an 8-week journey from the urban jungle to the old growth forest and back in Washington. They explore why conservation can make a difference, and how they can make a difference in conservation.  One of their topics of focus this summer is climate change.

As they left Seattle, they spent the morning in the Cedar River watershed learning about the issues in managing a forest and landscape that provides Seattle’s water supply.  Then as they crossed Snoqualmie Pass, they arrived at Gold Creek pond just east of Snoqualmie Pass to begin their afternoon journey in the I-90 wildlife corridor.  They were met by Craig Broadhead (WSDOT), Patty Garvey-Darda (US Forest Service), Jen Watkins (Conservation Northwest and I-90 Wildlife Bridges Coalition), Aja Woodrow (US Forest Service), and Josh Zylstra (WSDOT).  Over lunch they got an overview of how partners are working together to address climate change adaptation in the Cascades through the Cascadia Partner Forum in coordination with the North Pacific and Great Northern Landscape Conservation Cooperatives.  They also heard the regional context of how the I-90 corridor is the connective link between Washington’s north and south Cascades, and why connectivity is so important for fish and wildlife today and into a changing future.  Then, the students were taken on a tour through the I-90 corridor that included remote camera checks and visits to the wildlife underpasses already constructed through the I-90 Snoqualmie Pass East Project.

Today the scholars moved on to other locations and experiences in the Washington including meeting additional partners throughout the Washington portion of the Cascadia landscape.  Members the Cascadia Partner Forum will see them again in the Okanogan Valley and North Cascades National Park, where we look forward to continuing the dialogue on how partners are working to create resilient ecosystems at the local scale that add up to making a bigger difference.

Applications being accepted for 2015 community adaptation planning

Model Forest Policy Program offers the highly regarded Climate Solutions University: Forest & Water Strategies to assist communities in the challenging work of adapting to climate change.  Applications are now being sought for communities interested in facilitated climate adaptation planning in 2015.

Preparing your community for climate adaptation is critical. Smart planning protects vulnerable citizens from floods and drought, conserves water resources, preserves watershed health, stabilizes micro-climates, maintains species habitat, preserves the economy, and ensures community climate resilience.

The climate adaptation plan you create is ready for action. The finished product is thorough and specific. It includes action steps, timelines, deliverables, and responsible parties. The plan is not made to sit on the shelf, and your community qualifies for additional support to ensure implementation of your plan is a success.

Learn more about Climate Solutions University and their annual program to assist communities with adaptation planning, then if you are interested apply to become one of their 2015 communities.