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U.S. Public Lands and Rivers Conservation

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U.S. Public Lands and Rivers Conservation
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.
Trust Magazine

Wildlife Crossings Can Protect Migrating Animals

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Trust Magazine

Designated bridges and tunnels offer passage for herds, preserve habitats, and keep people safe.

The Little Cimarron River
The Little Cimarron River
Article

More U.S. Rivers Deserve 'Outstanding' Designation

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Article

In many American communities, rivers irrigate the farms that feed families, quench people’s thirst—rivers are the source of more than two-thirds of the drinking water in the U.S.—sustain wildlife habitat, and provide an economic boost for communities. Yet only a very small portion of those waterways are protected from threats ranging from pollution to damming, which would wreck the water’s natural flow.

Rocky Mountain National Park
Rocky Mountain National Park
Article

Landmark Investment in Our National Parks Is Underway

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Article

The National Park System is one of America’s greatest treasures, but it has become tarnished over the last century. Deteriorating historic buildings, crumbling roads, worn campgrounds, eroding trails, and outdated sewer and electrical systems have led to a backlog of repairs that will cost billions of dollars to fix.

 Taylor Peak above Fortymile Wild and Scenic River
Taylor Peak above Fortymile Wild and Scenic River
Article

At 75, BLM Should Increase Focus on Conservation

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Article

From the vast sagebrush sea of the West and red rock of the Colorado Plateau to the traditional homelands of tribes across more than a dozen states and vibrant deserts of the Southwest, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) stewards approximately 250 million acres of American landscapes.

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How Wildlife Crossings Protect Migrating Animals in Nevada
States of Innovation: Creating Corridors for Wildlife
States of Innovation: Creating Corridors for Wildlife
Podcast

Creating Corridors for Wildlife

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Podcast

In America’s West, animal herds follow ancient migration routes that are bisected by roads and highways. In this episode, we hear from Matt Skroch, who leads Pew’s efforts to conserve wildlife corridors, and Jodi Hilty, of the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative, about innovative solutions that make roads safer for both people and animals.

Sunray
Sunray

Biden's Chance to Work With Tribes on Alaska Public Lands

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Since 2016, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the U.S. Forest Service have advanced five land management plans that would eliminate protections for the roughly 60 million acres of federally managed lands—the most of any state—in Alaska. If enacted, the Alaska plans would open vast stretches of the Bering Sea-Western Interior, Tongass National Forest, Central Yukon, National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, and other pristine landscapes to extractive development with significant potential repercussions for lands, rivers, wildlife in Alaska, and the Indigenous peoples whose lives and culture are intrinsically connected to these places.

The Tidal Basin provides a picturesque vista for the blossoms, but it is also threatening some of the trees.
The Tidal Basin provides a picturesque vista for the blossoms, but it is also threatening some of the trees.
Article

Largest Investment in National Parks in Over 60 Years

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Article

The Great American Outdoors (GAO) Act, enacted last August, marked the largest investment in the restoration of the National Park System, the National Forest System, Bureau of Land Management properties, the National Wildlife Refuge System, and Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) schools since World War II. The act also permanently finances the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which provides money for acquisition of federal lands and grants to states for park and recreation rehabilitation.