NPCA submitted the following position to members of the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water, Oceans and Wildlife ahead of a hearing scheduled for October 17, 2019.
H.R. 2795 – Wildlife Corridors Conservation Act: NPCA supports this legislation which will ensure wildlife can continue to migrate, move, and thrive in the face of increasing threats to their populations. National parks, and the larger ecosystems on which they depend, are home to some of America’s most iconic plant, fish and wildlife species. From pronghorn antelope at Grand Teton to Florida panthers in the Everglades, national parks provide core habitat for a variety of migratory species. But the same species that depend on parks require connectivity to habitat beyond park boundaries to thrive. Whether it’s migrating to seasonal habitats or adapting to climate change, species need the ability to move across the landscape to maintain healthy populations.
H.R. 2795 gives federal land managers like the National Park Service the authority to designate National Wildlife Corridors to support connectivity, resilience, and adaptability of native fish, wildlife, and plants on federal public lands. This is complemented by a grant program for states, tribes and private landowners that would provide additional resources and opportunities for connectivity priorities identified at the local level. Facilitating improved on-the-ground collaboration to encourage habitat connectivity efforts across the country may be the strongest tool for protecting park wildlife for the long term. H.R. 2795 will provide the framework to do this work while respecting the priorities, capacity and needs of land managers at all levels.