What is the difference between a drug smuggler and a deer?by Hugh Holub on Jun. 27, 2011, under border issues, environment water and energy, politics
A bunch of state and federal agencies are scheming together with the Sky Island Alliance and the WildLands Project to create corridors for wilflife thoughout the state…and clearly from the border into the interior of the state.
Wildlands Network has been a leader in the effort to raise awareness of wildlife corridors fragmentation resulting from the construction of security infrastructure along the U.S.-Mexico border in Arizona and New Mexico. Wildlands Network and its partners have organized and convened several Border Ecological Symposiums that have brought together a broad range of stakeholders. Together, we have also acted as a founding sponsor of the Without Walls coalition, developed detailed recommendations yes”> for placement of security infrastructure, identified cross-border wildlife corridors, and promoted legislation to halt federal exemptions to environmental laws that have allowed wall construction to proceed without public input or review under the National Environmental Policy Act.
Sky Islands Connectivity
The iconic “Sky Islands” mountain ranges in southeastern Arizona, southwestern New Mexico, and northern Mexico are essential as the southern connection for the Spine of the Continent Initiative. Without continuous wildlife linkages between the southern Rocky Mountains and the Sky Islands, one of the most critical components in the Spine of the Continent will be lost. Wildlands Network is focused on this connection, particularly the wildlife conduits– the Peloncillo and Chiricahua mountain ranges. We also are working with numerous partners to raise awareness of the area’s ecological value with local residents, elected officials, planners, and agencies. Of primary concern are threats to connectivity posed by loss of roadless areas, overgrazing, border security infrastructure, subdivisions, and “green” energy corridors.
I wonder if Arizona Governor Jan Brewer is even aware her state agencies are collaborating with radical environmental groups?
I wonder why this Arizona Wildlife Linkages Workgroup has no representatives from private property owners? Ranchers? and others who might point out some dubious thinking going on with the WildLands Project agenda.
Bottom line…wherever a deer can go a drug smuggler can go.
And from the rhetoric from those groups that put protection of the environment ahead of border security, it looks like state agencies are working against border security.
From the Arizona Department of Transportation
The Arizona Wildlife Linkages Workgroup
The Arizona Wildlife Linkages Workgroup is a collaborative effort between nine public agencies and nonprofit organizations:
The partners began collaborating on this project beginning with the “Missing Linkages” workshop in April 2004. Biologists, engineers, planners and land managers have worked together since then to identify large blocks of protected habitat, the potential wildlife movement corridors through and between them, the factors that could possibly disrupt these linkage zones, and opportunities for conservation.
Recognizing that habitat connectivity is a landscape issue involving multiple land jurisdictions, this workgroup has engaged in unprecedented cooperation and facilitated discussions and partnerships to help ensure a unified approach to wildlife linkage conservation and management.
This reinforces the commitment to and efficiency of wildlife connectivity measures undertaken by all stakeholders, using research and adaptive management in ongoing evaluations of those measures.
The Arizona Wildlife Linkages Workgroup Mission Statement
“To identify and promote wildlife habitat connectivity using a collaborative, science based effort to provide safe passage for people and wildlife”
Arizona’s Wildlife Linkages Assessment
Prepared by:The Arizona Wildlife Linkages Workgroup
Why the assessment was undertaken
The phenomenal growth of Arizona’s population and infrastructure—including construction of roads, railroad, fences, canals and urban development—has presented challenges regarding highway safety and conservation of our wildlife resources for the future.
Vehicle-wildlife collisions cause human injuries, fatalities and property damage. Nationally, it is estimated that more than 200 human deaths and nearly 30,000 injuries, along with more than one billion dollars in related property damage, occur annually from these accidents.
Vehicle-wildlife collisions cause wildlife injury and mortality.
Vehicle-wildlife collisions pose a risk management issue for the state.
The proliferation of roads, railroads, fences, canals and urban development is fragmenting wildlife habitat and potentially creating barriers that can inhibit animal movement and migration and isolate wildlife populations.
The challenge: How can we address this situation (and coordinate diverse jurisdictional agencies and interests) in a way that accommodates growth, helps make highways safer and helps conserve our wildlife populations?
Case study: A similar partnership’s past success — The State Route 260 reconstruction project. One impetus for the formation of the Arizona Wildlife Linkages Workgroup was the success of a different (and ongoing) effort involving multiple partners on the reconstruction of State Route 260. Using radio telemetry tracking of elk, underpass design research and fencing placement research, design measures have been implemented in an effort to reduce the chance of vehicle-elk collisions on parts of the highway while maintaining wildlife permeability. On the Christopher Creek section of the project, implementation of strategically placed fencing, designed to “funnel” elk toward underpasses, reduced wildlife/vehicle collisions on that section from 51 in 2004 to eight in 2005.
Arizona’s Wildlife Linkages Assessment Document
The assessment document and map are the initial efforts to identify potential linkage zones that are important to Arizona’s wildlife and natural ecosystems. This is only the first step in a continuing process of defining critical habitat connectivity areas.
This non-binding document and map will serve as an informational resource to planners and engineers, providing suggestions for the incorporation of these linkage zones into their management planning to address wildlife connectivity at an early stage of the process.
If considerations for wildlife connectivity can be integrated into regional planning and projects early in the process, the linkage areas (or some portion of them) have the potential to be maintained or conserved during this time of growth and development.
Due to the large file size of this study, it is divided up into the following Adobe PDF segments:
Section I – Introduction, 947 KB
Figure 6-3 Arizona’s Fracture Zones, 9.05 MB
Figure 6-5 Land Ownership, 10.8 MB
Figure 6-6 Tribal Nations, 10.3 MB
Figure 6-7 USDA Forest Service, 10.3 MB
Figure 6-8 Department of Defense, 10.2 MB
Figure 6-16 Congressional Districts, 10.1 MB
Figure 6-17 Council of Governments, 10.1 MB
Figure 6-19 Legislative Districts, 10.1 MB
Figure 8-3 Perennial Waters, 11.4 MB
Figure 8-6 Surface Water Basins, 10.3 MB
Figure 8-7 Unique Waters, 9.43 MB
Figure 8-8 Wild and Scenic Rivers, 10.2 MB
Figure 8-9 Impaired Waters, 10.0 MB
Section IX – Future Directions, 514 KB
Appendix A – Linkage Data Sheet, 436 KB
References, 509 KB
More on border security and the environment: