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.

New short video on the grizzly bears and recovery efforts in the North Cascades

New 7-minute film "Wanted? Grizzly Bears?".  Click to watch.

New 7-minute film “Wanted? Grizzly Bears?”. Click to watch.

Curious about grizzly bears? A new 7 minute film entitled “Wanted?  Grizzly Bears” about the elusive North Cascades grizzly bear narrated by ecologist and film maker Chris Morgan, and including appearances by many Washington State residents who share their opinions of bears, and help bust some myths. The film includes beautiful footage of the North Cascades, and bears in Alaska where Morgan has hosted several films for PBS Nature, the BBC, and others.

The Cascadia Partner Forum has identified grizzly bears as a priority issue for our network due to the cultural and ecological importance of this species to our transboundary ecosystem.  Learn more on our page dedicated to grizzly bears in Cascadia.

Enjoy the new video, and make sure to stay engaged as this important dialogue about this species future is underway in Cascadia.

Beavers may be part of answer to climate change

An article in the Methow Valley news in north Central Washington starts by asking “Can a rodent species native to the Methow Valley help solve problems created by climate change? Absolutely, according to a local biologist who leads the Methow Beaver Project.”

Read about this impressive effort climate adaptation effort in the Cascades, and the monitoring that displays just how much water the project is helping store in the upper portions of watersheds.

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.