Conserving Wildlife Migrations Starts With Listening to Landowners

Conservation issues rarely inspire bipartisan consensus in Washington, but the need to maintain wildlife migration corridors is proving to be an exception. A series of orders from the secretary of the Interior and the Wildlife Corridors Conservation Act, introduced last month in both the House and the Senate, all seek to give migratory species the freedom to roam to find food, cover and places to raise their young.

But any effort to protect wildlife corridors will necessarily require support from a key group: private landowners. That’s because whether it’s elk, deer or grizzly bears, the survival of many species depends on the actions of landowners. Good policies derive from good process, and for this landscape-scale approach to conservation to succeed, it will require not only refocusing the management of some public lands but also enlisting the early input and active involvement of America’s private landowners who provide essential habitat.

Former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke ordered agencies to work with states to conserve migratory corridors for species such as elk, deer and pronghorn on federal lands in the West. His successor, David Bernhardt, expanded the order to include pursuing cooperative relationships with private landowners whose property provides important wildlife habitat.

Read the entire piece in The Hill.

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