|Habitat Conservation: Corridors and connectivity|
We're on the lookout for wildlife
Looking out for the complex needs of wildlife is central to everything Nevada Wilderness Project works on. For instance, when a utility wants to string a transmission line across a vast tract of Nevada desert, we’re there to make sure they don’t bisect a migration route or inadvertently provide man-made perches for ravens or raptors to hunt threatened sage-grouse on their mating and breeding grounds.
These habitats can be small and localized but more often they are expansive, covering hundreds of thousands of acres. Large, landscape-scale habitat can mitigate the effects of climate change by providing more and better habitat for animals to migrate into.
One critical wildlife refuge is the Desert Refuge, an hour north of Vegas, where bighorn corridors link this 1.6 million-acre wildlife refuge (the largest in the lower 48) with wilderness areas in a place we call the Delamar Wildlands Complex. We're working with developers and energy companies in the area to be "smart from the start" by identifying these corridors and planning to ensure what biologists call "permeability": the opportunity to move through powerlines, highways, etc.
Another incredible example of a large landscape harboring sensitive species is in northwestern Nevada, where the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge links up with the Hart National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon for a massive unfragmented habitat of more than a million acres (including wilderness study areas and other lands in the region). The Sheldon is one of a number of corridor regions we've identified in Nevada because of the antelope and sage grouse habitat, and its importance to combating the ills of climate change.
We’ll also pitch in when needed in other areas. NWP played a big role in the 2012 aerial survey of the Bi-state Sage-grouse population along the Nevada-California border. Our Renewable Energy Program Coordinator Craig Mortimore coordinated the surveys for the Nevada Department of Wildlife, and our Wildlife Biologist Gregg Tanner was instrumental in securing some of the private donations that paid for the flights. The surveys are a critical part of the state's efforts to measure the overall health of the Bi-state Sage-grouse, which is a high-ranking candidate for Endangered Species List.
NWP is doing all it can to ensure that Nevada maintains a stable population of sage grouse on healthy, functional and intact landscapes forever. That means: