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  Bay Area Critical Linkages

Bay Area Critical Linkages

Bay Area Critical Linkages

Habitat Connectivity Planning for the Bay Area and Beyond

Please attend two Habitat Connectivity Workshops for the Bay Area Critical Linkages Project. Your participation will help us develop focused plans for maintaining functional habitat connectivity in an area that is highly threatened by habitat loss and fragmentation. We encourage you to attend one or both of the workshops. Your participation will be instrumental to the success of the Project and, ultimately, to the success of conservation efforts throughout the region.

This project was designed to complement the Bay Area Open Space Council’s Upland Habitat Goals Project. As the Council developed the Upland Habitat Goals Project to identify a network of conservation lands for biodiversity preservation, it became clear a detailed linkage analysis was needed but beyond the project’s scope. To address this information gap, the Council and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation convened a task force in March 2009 to explore the need and feasibility of identifying and protecting critical linkages within the San Francisco Bay Area ecoregion and connections to adjacent ecoregions. The task force identified several proposed linkage planning areas (see draft map) that could be irretrievably compromised by development projects in the next decade unless immediate conservation actions occur. The Critical Linkages project will fine tune the Upland Habitat Goals conservation lands network to insure functional habitat connectivity at a regional scale.  This large wildland network will serve as the backbone to which smaller wildlands can connect. 

The Bay Area Critical Linkages Project will develop focal species-based designs for several priority landscape linkages, implementation strategies, and a monitoring framework, and will also provide implementation tools to institutionalize support for a regional network of conserved lands.  This comprehensive strategy will be developed through collaboration among scientists, planners, land and resource management agencies, wildlife agencies, transportation agencies, conservancies, and landowners.

The workshop on April 19th will focus on the South Bay connections:

* Santa Cruz Mountains to Mt. Hamilton
* Mt. Hamilton - Mt. Diablo
* Mt. Hamilton - Inner Coast Range
* Mt. Hamilton - Gabilan Range
* Santa Cruz Mountains - Gabilan Range
* Gabilan Range - Santa Lucia Range
* plus three East Bay Hills connections

The workshop on April 20th will focus on the North Bay connections:

* Sonoma Coast - Mendocino National Forest
* Sonoma Coast Range - Northern Mayacamas
* Sonoma Coast Range - Southern Mayacamas
* Marin Coast/Pt. Reyes - Sonoma Coast Range
* Blue Ridge Berryessa - Northern Mayacamas
* Blue Ridge Berryessa - Southern Mayacamas

In the morning sessions, agency, academic, and professional scientists will provide overviews of connectivity conservation and the biogeography of the region, as well as case studies of potential focal species. In the afternoon, workshop participants will divide into taxonomic working groups to select focal species.  Each group will identify life history characteristics of species that are either particularly sensitive to habitat fragmentation or otherwise meaningful to linkage design. Participants will be provided with datasheets and maps and asked to summarize information on species occurrence, movement characteristics, and habitat preferences and to delineate suitable habitat and potential movement routes through the connection.

The success of this ambitious effort relies upon your participation. We are hopeful that the participants in the workshops will represent the diversity of expertise required to conduct this comprehensive planning analysis. The workshop will be an opportunity to confer with colleagues, and begin a meaningful course of action to catalyze large-scale conservation. We look forward to working with you on this exciting and important endeavor.

Kristeen Penrod, SC Wildlands
Bettina Ring, Bay Area Open Space Council
David Zippin, ICF International 


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