Indentifying and Protecting Wildlife Corridors

Posts tagged ‘habitat’

April continues record temperature streak | World Meteorological Organization

Global temperature records were broken yet again in April for the 12th consecutive month, the longest such streak in the 137-year record of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Overall, 13 out of the 15 highest monthly temperature departures in the record have all occurred since February 2015. NOAA said the combined average temperature over global land and ocean surfaces for April 2016 was 1.10°C (1.98°F) above the 20th century average of 13.7°C (56.7°F) – the highest temperature departure for April since global records began in 1880. This value surpassed the previous record set in 2010 by 0.28°C (0.50°F). The global analysis from NOAA confirmed the findings of separate datasets from NASA and the Japan Meteorological Administration.

Source: April continues record temperature streak | World Meteorological Organization

Sandia Bear hair study mis-reported by Journal

The article last Monday in the ABQ Journal confused the number of years this study has been going, giving this data more credit than it currently deserves.  This is the first year of the study in the Sandia Mts., while it has been going for three years in other mountain ranges of NM. The article stated that this the third year in the Sandias as well, but that just isn’t true.  I’ve been participating in this study, along with 9 other groups/agencies, and the data is just now coming in for our first year (2014).

This is important because for Game and Fish to increase the bear hunt in the Sandia Mts. based on one year’s worth of data is just wrong.

Read the Journal article here: Bear-kill boost upsets critics | Albuquerque Journal News.

Polar Bears fry on the “back burner”

What’s the future of polar bears? Studies say they may soon be extinct.

This article from the Christian Science Monitor describes the sad fate of polar bears, who are being left to die in a melting Arctic Sea by the US Fish&Wildlife Service.  When are “responsible” government agencies going to become  ~ responsible?

For Mule Deer, an Incredible Journey – NYTimes.com

Deer release

One of the priority wildlife passages in the Rocky Mts. is highlighted here in this NY Times piece:

For Mule Deer, an Incredible Journey – NYTimes.com.

Seeking justice for Corazón: jaguar killings test the conservation movement in Mexico

Read the lengthly article, with lots of gorgeous photos, here:

Seeking justice for Corazón: jaguar killings test the conservation movement in Mexico.

Jaguar in northern Mexico

As iconic and well loved as the Jaguar is in Mexico, there are still those who would wantonly kill them. As the article points out however, in this case it could make the social contract with the jaguar in Mexico even stronger.

The Day We Set the Colorado River Free | Nature | OutsideOnline.com

A great article in “Outside” magazine was sent to me recently:

The Day We Set the Colorado River Free | Nature | OutsideOnline.com.

about how the Colorado river was released from its last dam so that it could flow all the way to the ocean in the Gulf of California. This has not happened but rarely since 1966 when the Glen Canyon dam was built to create Lake Powell.

Paddle boarding the lower Colorado

Hopes are for more releases in the next 5 years to maintain some riparian restoration efforts in the delta. As water supplies tighten up in the Southwest, and as Big Business and Big Decisions continue to be made in the interest of money and people and people with money, the land itself is busy making its own decisions. Thank you for looking up and away from human business toward the actual life which supports it all. (and saying), “wait, we need rivers to flow to the Ocean for about a million reasons, and a million more we don’t even know yet.”

“Critical Habitat Assessment Tool” (CHAT)

Detail of

Another article in the “High Country News” about wildlife connectivity in the West:

A new mapping tool shows how states value wildlife — High Country News.

Its nice to get data about critical wildlife habitat out to the world at large, but really, at this point ALL habitat is critical, as wildlife are losing ground, falling out of balance with their predator/prey populations, and coming down with incurable fungal diseases.
With more humans to feed every day, wildlife, and nature in general, takes a back seat to human needs. Some day we may realize that we need wild, intact natural ecosystems in order to grow our food, have clean water, and be in balance with pests and disease.

Sevilleta Wildlife Refuge

Planting willows

Planting willows

 

 

Western Willow Flycatcher habitat was improved last Saturday at the Sevilleta Wildlife Refuge as 22 volunteers with the New Mexico Volunteers for the Outdoors helped by cutting and trimming willows, then planting them in holes that were augered down to the water table.

Willow prep

Willow prep

 

Satisfying work on a calm, clear February day.  Flocks of snow geese headed south to the Bosque del Apache refuge as we worked on the willow prep. under the budding old growth cottonwoods along the Rio Grande.  Cutting all but the very top branches off the willow rods helps the willow roots get a good start.  By May they will be leafed out and growing into their first season in their new spot along the river.  These Gooding’s willows will grow much taller than the ubiquitous Coyote Willow, and when filled out with new branches in a few years, provide good habitat, along with the Cottonwoods, for the endangered Western Willow Flycatcher.

The refuge manager, Kathy Granillo, also voiced her concern for wildlife pathways throughout the state of NM, and recognizes the importance of wildlife connectivity between all the refuge lands.  Even though Sevilleta is the largest refuge, 200,000 + acres, it still depends on connectivity with surrounding lands to stay healthy.

As we like to say at Pathways, “Life is a moving thing!”

 

Black Bear foraging study

This study comes out of Missoula, Montana, but is applicable here in NM as well.  Read the full report here: ASM Online Journals – Food availability and foraging near human developments by black bears.

The upshot is, if you’ve got fruit trees, you have one of the most reliable attractants for bringing bears to your yard, even more so than garbage cans, this study found.  Surprisingly, even with wild foods nearby or in village yards, the bears still preferred to eat the fruit and other tender greens being grown domestically.  Black Bears are so much like people, which makes their behavior predictable, but still challenging to live with.

With a good soil moisture base coming into the winter, and now with sporadic snows in Dec. and Feb., there may be some good set of wild foods for bears this year.

NewsDaily: APNewsBreak: Western governors show wildlife maps

Read an article here : NewsDaily: APNewsBreak: Western governors show wildlife maps. about the Western Governor’s Association rollout of the wildlife mapping that has been underway for the past 3 years.

Pathways has not contributed to this effort directly, it was too broad scale and general of project.  The really fine scale, on the ground, site specific type of research and monitoring that we’re interested in has not been funded on the state-wide scale that really needs to be done.  Even a broad state-wide survey of “crucial” wildlife corridors and linkages for our large mammal species like Rocky Mountain Elk, Mule Deer, Mountain Lions, and Black Bears, has not been funded, even though the laws are in place to do so, through RETA :New Mexico Renewable Energy Transmission Authority.  Funny how the “Authority” didn’t make it from the acronym into the title.

In thinking about how this is a benefit to wildlife, on the one hand, it may seem to be pandering to industry, giving ammunition to those who would destroy, disrupt, fragment, and exploit life to make money while providing some service or “product” to humanity.  On the other hand it may seem like a way to bring those very industries to a closer understanding of how they can “produce” without harming the very people they intend to “service”..  (because lets face it, industry has never cared about wildlife, unless forced to, or unless it makes good P.R.  And humans care about humans first, right?).  So are the maps a benefit to wildlife?  In my opinion, having data is good, having a data platform is good, having a data platform that the public can plug into is even better. Like :iNaturalist.org · Pathways

Does massive amounts of data do any good?  I think it does when its connected to a massive brain, which can make massively intelligent decisions, with compassion for all the diversity of life.  Are we there yet?  I don’t think so.  Are we on our way?  We better be.