Wildlife Corridor

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A watershed-related issue examined by the ENVS 560/L Watershed Systems class at CSUMB.

Summary

A wildlife corridor [1] or habitat corridor is generally defined as a relatively narrow strip of land that acts as a link between larger habitat areas that have otherwise been fragmented by human activity.

Law, Policy, & Regulation

California Assembly Bill No. 2785 [1](approved by Gov. Schwarzenegger Sep 26, 2008) revises the Significant Natural Areas Program "to investigate, study, and identify those areas in the state that are most essential as wildlife corridors and habitat linkages and prioritize vegetative data development in those areas". The funds would be provided by the Wildlife Conservation Board from the monies made available by The Safe Drinking Water, Water Quality and Supply, Flood Control, River and Coastal protection Bond Act of 2006.

The Natural Community Conservation Planning (NCCP) Act of 1991 (AB 2172) provides for multi-species habitat conservation planning (MSHCP), which is recognized as an effective way to preserve the species while minimizing economic disruptions. Several MSHCP’s have been developed in California, with the cooperation of developers, federal and state agencies, and local communities.

Case Studies

Monterey Bay is ringed by three distinct coastal ranges: the Santa Cruz Mountains to the north, the Gabilan Range to the east, and the Santa Lucia Range to the south. These ranges are separated from one another by the broad alluvial plain of the Salinas Valley [2], an area of intense agricultural activity. Maintaining connectivity between these ranges is seen as an important conservation measure for species with large territorial requirements. The Santa Cruz Mountains, for example, are believed to be too small to support a viable population of mountain lions. Corridors connecting those ranges have been identified, but no studies have been done to prove or disprove their utility. In Salinas Valley, where most land use is agricultural, there is little cover for animals to transverse across the valley, and waterway channels and riparian habitats are likely being utilized by traveling animals.

Cited References

  1. Wikipedia article on wildlife corridors http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wildlife_corridor
  2. Article on the Watsonville plain http://www.eoearth.org/view/article/157021/

Additional Resources

  • Tewksbury, J.J., Levey, D.J., Haddad, N.M., Sargent, S., Orrock, J.L., Weldon, A., Danielson, B.J., Brinkerhoff, J., Damschen, E.I., Townsend, P. 2002. Corridors Affect Plants, Animals, and Their Interactions in Fragmented Landscapes. Ecology, 99 (20):1223-1226.

Disclaimer

This page may contain student work completed as part of assigned coursework. It may not be accurate. It does not necessary reflect the opinion or policy of CSUMB, its staff, or students.