Staying Connected in the Northern Appalachians: Mitigating Fragmentation and Climate Impacts on Wildlife through Functional Habitat Linkages

Project Description

Staying Connected is a new initiative to help safeguard wide‐ranging and forest‐dwelling wildlife such as bear, moose, lynx, marten and bobcat from the impacts of habitat fragmentation and climate change by maintaining and restoring landscape connections across the Northern Appalachians region. This project works to maintain, enhance, and restore habitat connectivity for wildlife Species of Greatest Conservation Need in six key linkages across four states of the Northern Appalachian Ecoregion (ME, NH,NY,VT).

Project Map

Publicly Accessible: Yes
County: Aroostook County, ME; Bennington County, VT; Chittenden County, VT; Coos County, NH; Oneida County, NY; Orleans County, VT
Project Size:
  • 1.00137288E8 acres

Project Sites

  • Adirondacks - Tug Hill Linkage
  • Greens - Adirondacks Linkage
  • Greens - Taconics Linkage
  • Northeast Kingdom - Northern NH - Western ME Mountains
  • Northern Appalachians Ecoregion
  • Northern Greens Linkage
  • Northern Maine - Gaspe Linkage
  • Worcester Range - Northeast Kingdom Linkage

Goals and Targets

Primary Motivations:

  • Conservation Mission
    Most of the partners involved in the Staying Connected initiative have habitat conservation and/or wildlife conservation as a core part of their organizational/agency missions.
  • Climate Change Adaptation
    Protecting and restoring landscape connections across the Northern Appalachians is a key element of allowing species to adapt to changing climate.

Primary Goals:

  • Staying Connected is helping individuals and communities to choose actions that will sustain wildlife and local community values such as hunting, fishing, and other outdoor recreation in a rapidly changing world. The initiative focuses on seven priority areas across the Northern Appalachians where landscape connections for wildlife movement are at risk due to development and roads: 1) Tug Hill Plateau - Adirondack Mountains (NY) 2) Adirondack Mountains - Green Mountains (NY-VT) 3) Taconic Mountains - Southern Green Mountains (NY-VT) 4) Northern Green Mountains (VT-Canada) 5) Worcester Range - Northeast Kingdom (VT) 6) Northeast Kingdom - Northern NH - Western Maine Mountains (VT-NH-ME) 7) Maine’s North Woods - Quebec’s Gaspe Peninsula (ME-Canada) Within these landscapes, project partners and communities are identifying the key areas of local connectivity – or linkages - that allow wildlife to successfully move through intact and fragmented landscapes. We are engaging landowners, organizations and municipalities to protect, restore, maintain, and enhance habitat blocks and the connections among them. And we are working with state transportation agencies and local communities to reduce the dangers to wildlife seeking to cross well-traveled roads.

Consistent With Plans:

  • Nature Conservancy Ecoregional Plan
    Northern Appalachians Ecoregional Assessment.
  • State Wildlife Action Plan
    NY, VT, NH, and ME SWAPS all identify connectivity as a key issues for many species of greatest conservation need.
  • Conservation Plan
    Connectivity is identified as a conservation need in many conservation plans within the Northern Appalachians ecoregion.
  • Climate Change Strategy
    Protecting and restoring landscape connections is seen as an important strategy for building more resilient conservation areas and to allow wildlife to adapt to changing climate.

Targeted Habitats:

  • Forests and Woodlands
    • Conifer Forests
    • Deciduous Forests and Woodlands
    • Mixed Hardwoods and Conifer
  • Wetlands and Riparian Habitats
    • Forested or Shrub Wetlands and Swamps
    • Lowland Riparian Forests and Shrublands
    • Marshes, Bogs and Emergent Wetlands

Targeted Species:

  • American Black Bear Ursus americanus
  • American Marten Martes americana
  • Bobcat Lynx rufus
  • Canadian Lynx Lynx canadensis

Conservation Actions

Action Status Start Year End Year
Conservation easement In Progress 2010 2012
Land acquisition for conservation (fee simple, etc.) In Progress 2010 2012
Research In Progress 2010 2011
Other - Monitoring: Monitoring status of landscape connectivity Proposed 2010 2012
Other - Conservation plans and agreements: Developing spatially explicit connectivity models and plans In Progress 2010 2011
Other - Terrestrial habitat restoration and management: Strategies to mitigate the effects of transportation infrastructure on connectivity Proposed 2010 2012


Is the success of this project's actions being monitored? Yes

Monitoring Activities
Staying Connected has established a Monitoring and Evaluation Workgroup to develop an efficient and meaningful set of measures through which the status of landscape connectivity in the Northern Appalachians region can be readily evaluated now and into the future, and that can be reported in a manner that is understandable to partners, key stakeholders, and the broader public. This work has just gotten underway in winter 2010.

Quick Facts

Owning Organization

Wildlife Conservation Society

Managing Organization

The Nature Conservancy - New Hampshire
(Non-Governmental Organization)

Contact Information

Mark Zankel (Deputy State Director)
The Nature Conservancy

General Information

Project #: 3837
Last Updated: March 10, 2012

Project Relations


Maine Audubon
Maine Department of Transportation
Maine Dept of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife
National Wildlife Federation
New Hampshire Audubon
New Hampshire Department of Transportation
New Hampshire Fish & Game Department
New York Department of Environmental Conservation
New York Department of Transportation
Northeast Wilderness Trust
The Nature Conservancy - Adirondacks Chapter
The Nature Conservancy - Maine Chapter
The Nature Conservancy - New Hampshire Chapter
The Nature Conservancy - Vermont Chapter
Trust for Public Land
Tug Hill Commission
Tug Hill Tomorrow
Two Countries, One Forest
Two Countries, One Forest
U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Vermont Agency of Transportation
Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife
Vermont Land Trust
Wildlands Network
Wildlife Conservation Society

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