In the United States, the vitality of ecosystems and economies are deeply intertwined. Healthy lands, rivers, and wildlife can sustain local communities with clean air, affordable food and water, and strong tourism and outdoor recreation industries.
But fragmentation has degraded the quality and abundance of terrestrial and aquatic landscapes, even as demand for their resources grows. More than 2.6 million miles of paved roads carve up important habitat, and tens of thousands of dams and other barriers disrupt the flow of rivers, yet a significant portion of the nation’s public lands and rivers lack permanent federal or state safeguards.
The long-term protection of biodiversity and natural resources so critical to healthy ecosystems depends on conserving intact landscapes that consist of ecologically significant “core” lands that are connected by terrestrial and freshwater corridors. To conserve these landscapes, Pew is undertaking the following efforts:
- Identifying and conserving valuable corridors for wildlife migration and access to seasonal habitat through state and federal policies, federal administrative land use plans, and implementation of wildlife-friendly infrastructure and highway crossings.
- Conserving U.S. waterways through federal and state legislative and administrative protections and removal of obsolete dams and culverts to restore free-flowing waterways.
- Protecting ecologically important public lands through locally supported federal legislation or agency land management processes and restoring landmark conservation policies that have recently been rolled back, such as the Roadless Area Conservation Rule.
- Ensuring efficient implementation of national park repair projects funded through the Great American Outdoors Act.