TerrAdapt

Cascadia

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Species

Species in TerrAdapt: Cascadia

In conservation planning, fine-filter approaches focus on the ecological needs of individual target species. Fine-filter approaches compliment coarse-filter approaches that are focused more generally on maintaining connected networks of wildlands.

Our team is working with regional wildlife scientists and practitioners to co-develop dynamic monitoring, projection, and prioritization layers in TerrAdapt:Cascadia for five target species: wolverine, Canada lynx, fisher, grizzly bear, and greater sage-grouse. Some preliminary layers (currently in peer-review, subject to change) for wolverine are now available and the complete array of layers for all species will be available in the fall of 2022.

Wolverine

The Cascadia region supports a population of wolverines (Gulo gulo luscus) that is reoccupying its former range and represents an important subpopulation for wolverine conservation in North America. Today, wolverines in this region benefit from preferred core habitat comprising remote, high mountain terrain, much of which is publicly-owned land and relatively well protected. While their primary alpine and subalpine habitat exhibit relatively high connectivity within the Cascade Range, it is fragmented regionally (within the larger Cascadia region) by both human-built and natural landscape factors. A changing climate, transportation infrastructure, and human pressures on the landscape--including backcountry recreation. Maintaining wolverines in Cascadia given the realities of climate change will require planning, coordination, and adaptive conservation across management boundaries and an international border.

Presently, wolverines are not listed as endangered or threatened by either the US or Canada, and there is not a region-wide existing recovery goal for the species. Our vision is that wolverines will be distributed within a suitable habitat and at population sizes across the Cascadia region to support viability into the future, and that habitat connectivity for this species will enable movement of individuals and gene flow such that blocks of suitable habitat are protected from extirpation. The persistence of wolverine in Cascadia will require that our natural system be resilient to the impacts of climate change. Survey efforts will be essential to understanding the success of monitoring wolverine populations, and there are efforts underway to develop a long-term, field-based monitoring framework.

Our team at TerrAdapt.org is working together with a region-wide group of wolverine biologists to co-develop a dynamic wolverine module in TerrAdapt that will monitor wolverine habitat and connectivity, project future impacts of climate change, and prioritize areas for implementation of conservation actions designed to increase the resilience of our regional wolverine population to threats from climate change and our expanding human footprint. The habitat and connectivity models in this module will be trained on and linked to field data being collected across our region from GPS telemetry and remote camera stations.

Wolverine Experts Team

We are grateful to the following individuals who are providing invaluable data, modeling expertise, and expert knowledge of wolverine ecology and management during development of the TerrAdapt wolverine module.


Jocelyn Akins, Cascades Carnivores

Keith Aubry, US Forest Service

Josh Chapman, US Forest Service

Bill Harrower, Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, BC

Bill Gaines, Washington Conservation Science

Glen Kalisz, Washington State Department of Transportation (retired)

Andrea Kortello, Wolverinewatch.org

Jeff Lewis, WA Department of Fish and Wildlife

Robert Long, Woodland Park Zoo

Paula Mackay, Independent consultant

Kelly McAllister, Washington State Department of Transportation (retired)

Cliff Nietvelt, Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations, and Rural Development

Melanie Percy, BC Parks, Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy

Cathy Raley, US Forest Service (retired)

Jason Ransom, National Park Service

John Rohrer, US Forest Service

Andrew Shirk, University of Washington Climate Impacts Group

Peter Singleton, US Forest Service

John Squires, US Forest Service

Carly Vynne, Osprey Insights

Jennifer Watkins, WA Department of Natural Resources

Rich Weir, Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, BC

Dave Werntz, ConservationNW

Scott Yaeger, Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations & Rural Development, BC

Canada Lynx

Lynx (Lynx canadensis) are an early and mid-seral sub-alpine forest-dependent species that are emblematic of our need for a regional, Cascadia-wide approach to managing priority species. In Washington State, the fewer than 100 lynx that remain in the North Cascades ecosystem face a host of challenges to survival, despite protections afforded by state and federal listing decisions. In British Columbia, lynx are classified as both a furbearer and game species and harvests are regulated at the regional level, in consultation with local trapper and hunter organizations.

To sustain a viable population of lynx in our region into the future, we need up-to-date information to help guide and coordinate land management decisions in ways that support lynx habitat and habitat connectivity over time. For example, if a wildfire occurs, we need rapid monitoring to assess the magnitude of habitat loss and fragmentation, and, if conditions warrant, rapid updates to land-use plans that account for the impacts of the fire and alternative ways to support the population. This could include shifting timber harvest away from an area that could provide alternative habitat for lynx or an alternative corridor linking local populations. It could also include restoration actions such as replanting trees in cleared and burned areas, thinning of dense and fire-prone stands, and mitigation actions like highway crossing structures.

Importantly, land management decisions affecting lynx need to be coordinated at a regional scale to be most effective, because small local populations like the one that inhabitants Washington’s Lynx Management Unit need to be connected to other regional populations in order to persist over time. Also, with climate change, the range of suitable lynx habitat may shift, and regional-scale coordination of land management can facilitate this range shift by protecting a network of habitat and corridors across management boundaries, allowing lynx to move as conditions change. This level of coordination requires a spatial blueprint defining areas that should be protected in order to support a viable lynx population in the region and also areas where habitat restoration and barrier mitigation could improve the viability of the population.

Our team at TerrAdapt.org is working together with regional lynx biologists to co-develop a dynamic lynx module in TerrAdapt that will monitor lynx habitat and connectivity, project future impacts of climate change, and prioritize areas for implementation of conservation actions designed to increase the resilience of our regional lynx population to threats from climate change and our expanding human footprint. The habitat and connectivity models in this module will be trained on and linked to field data being collected across our region from GPS telemetry and remote camera stations.

Lynx Experts Team

We are grateful to the following individuals who are providing invaluable data, modeling expertise, and expert knowledge of lynx ecology and management during development of the TerrAdapt lynx module.


Gary Bell, WA Department of Fish and Wildlife

Scott Fisher, WA Department of Natural Resources

Scott Fitkin, WA Department of Fish and Wildlife

Bill Gaines, Washington Conservation Science Institute

Marc Gaultier, Upper Columbia United Tribes

Jeff Lewis, WA Department of Fish and Wildlife

Andrea Lyons, Washington Conservation Science Institute

Jason Ransom, National Park Service

John Rohrer, US Forest Service

Abby Sage, US Fish and Wildlife Service

Andrew Shirk, University of Washington Climate Impacts Group

Dan Thornton, Washington State University

Carmen Vanbianchi, Home Range Wildlife Research

Carly Vynne, Osprey Insights

Dave Werntz, Conservation Northwest