Conserving Connecting Corridors for Biodiversity

In recent years the Prairie Conservation Forum (PCF) has moved to an ‘outcomes focused’ Prairie Conservation Action Plan (PCAP) with the intent of providing a spatial focus to applied knowledge, stewardship and extension efforts. These outcomes target large native landscapes, connecting corridors and isolated habitats. With limited resources, the PCF has focused on the first outcome until recently.

Various measures have been undertaken to ‘prepare the ground’ for effective conservation action on the conservation corridors outcome. These measures and a listing of relevant resources are as follows:

Establishment of the Transboundary Grassland Partnership (TGP):

PCAP outcomes in Alberta cannot be achieved in isolation of the connections and interdependencies across the eastern and southern boundaries of Alberta’s Grassland and Parkland Natural Regions. The TGP connects AB, SK and MT colleagues across borders with an explicit focus on our shared responsibility for the conservation of native grassland ecosystems in the transboundary North West Glaciated Plains.

Connecting Habitats Report:

In order to build capacity to effectively address the conserving connecting corridors outcome, following a Request for Proposals, the PCF let a contract with 02 Planning and Design Inc. to produce a literature review report focused on prairie and parkland Alberta addressing key habitats to be connected, movement facilitators and inhibitors and mitigation options. The consultant was asked to describe key movement and connectivity characteristics for waterfowl, grassland birds, raptors, amphibians, reptiles, large and small mammals, and plants. The report, “Connecting Habitats in the Prairies of Alberta: What Does This Mean and How Do We Manage For It?” was published in 2017.

 

PCF Connecting Corridors Work Group: 

Following publication of the 02 report, the PCF Board of Directors struck a work group to review the report and craft a path forward. Current membership of this group is: Nolan Ball, Christyann Olsen, Rylee Hewitt, Benjamin Misener, Ron McNeil, Chelsea Kraus and Ian Dyson with Sasha Harriott and Katheryn Taylor providing secretariat support. The group identified the need to clarify justifiable spatial priorities as a prerequisite to further meaningful progress and that a 2019 ‘experts workshop’ was needed, focused on ‘what, where and why’. Professional community development facilitators from the Alberta government were retained to help design the workshop. In an effort to focus on group work rather than ‘information out’ on the day of the workshop, it was decided to hold an advance on-line webinar for that purpose.

Connecting Corridors Webinar - October 24, 2019

With the generous support of our Saskatchewan PCAP Partners the webinar provided an opportunity for 60 participants including workshop invitees as well as other interested parties from the PCF/PCAP networks to hear about the following projects:

  • Dr. Leif Olsen, 02Planning and Design, Calgary, AB: “Connecting Habitats in the Prairies of Alberta: What Does This Mean and How Do We Manage For It?

  • Dr. Andrew Jakes, National Wildlife Federation, Missoula, MT:“Pronghorn: A focal Species for Grassland Connectivity.”

  • Tracy Lee, Miistakis Institute, Calgary, AB: “Improving Highway Safety for Wildlife and People in Alberta” Results of a project undertaken with Dr, Adam Ford, UBC Okanagan, BC and Dr. Tyler Creech, Center for Large Landscape Conservation, Bozeman, MT.  

Connecting Corridors Workshop: Connecting Corridors Workshop Agenda 10.20.2019

The workshop was held 29th Oct at the Agriculture Centre in Airdrie, AB. Two dozen invited expert participants attended the workshop representing a diverse group including colleagues from Alberta, Saskatchewan, Montana and Idaho. Indigenous peoples were represented by two colleagues from the Kainai First Nation and the Blackfeet Tribe link to participants spreadsheet. Following an introductory presentation to set the scene and recap highlights from the webinar Connecting Corridors presentationDyson, participants spent the day in both plenary and break-out sessions brainstorming on identifying what, where, why and criteria priorities, along with recommendations for priority locations. Following is a summary of 18 surveys that were submitted at the end of the workshop day:

 

 

top photo by Francois Blouin | RSS