Media contact: Chris Carney, Communications Director, 530-543-6057
Published: Jul 25, 2023
South Lake Tahoe, Calif.—The California Tahoe Conservancy has awarded a $500,000 grant to the nonprofit Wildlands Network, in partnership with Pathways for Wildlife, for a multi-year study of wildlife connectivity in the California side of the Lake Tahoe Basin. Understanding how wildlife move through and within the Basin will help land managers and other Basin partners protect the diversity of Tahoe wildlife species.
Wildlands Network and Pathways for Wildlife will analyze wildlife movement patterns, distribution, and abundance. The study team will also identify key barriers and bottlenecks to wildlife movement, such as roads and infrastructure development. Using this information, the team will recommend actions Basin partners can take to remove barriers to enhance existing wildlife connectivity.
“We are proud to partner with the Tahoe Conservancy, the Wildlands Network, and Pathways for Wildlife on their upcoming wildlife connectivity study,” said Erick Walker, Forest Supervisor for the USDA Forest Service, Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit and Conservancy Board member. “The Forest Service recognizes the importance of connectivity as well as understanding and addressing the barriers to wildlife movement to enhance and protect species biodiversity in the Lake Tahoe Basin.”
Native wildlife move across the landscape to find food, mates and new territories annually, seasonally, or even daily. Development at Lake Tahoe has fragmented wildlife habitat. Roads, other structures, and degraded habitat all pose barriers to wildlife movement.
Climate change can impact the quality and distribution of habitat, and the ranges of some species are already shifting. Connectivity is becoming more important to allow wildlife to adapt, adjust, and move in response to climate change.
The study results will help the Conservancy and other Tahoe land managers base management decisions on a more complete understanding of wildlife movement and connectivity in the Basin. For example, the study data will help inform Basin forestry projects to meet forest resilience and biodiversity goals.
Wildlands Network is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah. Its mission is to reconnect, restore and rewild North America so that life—in all its diversity—can thrive.
Pathways for Wildlife works with land trusts, conservation organizations, and transportation agencies, to help identify important wildlife and habitat linkages for land conservation efforts by conducting wildlife connectivity surveys and implementing connectivity designs for wildlife movement within a landscape.
Funding for this grant comes from the State of California’s 2021 climate resilience package.
The California Tahoe Conservancy is a state agency, established in 1985, with a mission to lead California’s efforts to restore and enhance the extraordinary natural and recreational resources of the Lake Tahoe Basin. Learn more at tahoe.ca.gov.