From Backcountry Hunters & Anglers:
WASHINGTON – Backcountry Hunters & Anglers today commended a decision by the Bureau of Land Management to formalize the conservation of connections between habitats, such as migration corridors, for fish and wildlife species, thereby advancing habitat connectivity activities and elevating the BLM’s work with a range of stakeholders.
The BLM instructional memorandum, or IM, will enable the bureau to expand its actions in support of migration corridors and other sensitive areas of habitat in a substantive, results-oriented way, bolstering its work on habitat connectivity, permeability and resilience in collaboration with state and Tribal wildlife managers and other engaged entities. The IM also directs the BLM to conduct an assessment for existing priority habitats and the connectivity between them.
Priority activities identified by the BLM in the IM include the following:
- Removing physical and disturbance barriers to fish and wildlife (e.g., removing hazardous fencing, installing wildlife friendly fencing, improving fish passages and building wildlife crossings);
- Installing signage to mitigate vehicle-wildlife collisions;
- Pursuing treatments that promote resilient species composition and structure of native plant communities;
- Developing and locating water sources and other features to encourage wildlife utilization of suitable habitat across landscapes;
- Implementing travel management and undertaking projects that address impacts of fire, drought and invasive species;
- Supporting Land and Water Conservation Fund and/or Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act acquisitions that advance habitat connectivity.
“Big-game species need to have access to established migration routes to reach important seasonal habitat,” said John Gale, BHA conservation director. “The Bureau of Land Management must be a leader in setting expectations and delivering concrete results for how these valuable areas of habitat are managed. The policy released today will play a key role in our ability to maintain robust, huntable populations of game species, including but not limited to mule deer, pronghorn and elk.
“Backcountry Hunters & Anglers applauds the BLM’s dedication to conserving and improving critical habitat,” Gale continued, “and to its commitment to working cooperatively toward this goal with a range of stakeholders, including state and Tribal interests as well as other entities.”
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