Endangered Species Review Biologist, Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program
Massachusetts has a rich biological legacy and is home to a wide array of plants and animals. It is the Division’s mandate to conserve and manage these natural resources. The Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program is responsible for the conservation and protection of hundreds of non-game species in the state. The Program’s highest priority is protecting the Commonwealth’s rare vertebrate and invertebrate animals and native plants.
How Connect the Connecticut connects:
Understanding all of the conservation partners in the region and how they operate helps us all leverage scarce resources. When you bring together a whole range of people who are thinking about regional conservation, you start to develop valuable networks and relationships. But if you want to actually get people working together, thinking across state lines, and leveraging resources, you need to have the best possible data available. This project does both.
How it will inform work on the ground:
With limited resources and staff, you have to maximize every opportunity and utilize available conservation tools. So this is another tool in our toolkit. It can help us tell a compelling story to justify why we are focusing on certain area. The more reasons you can give to say a particular area is important, the stronger the case you can make to funders and to staff during internal review. Particularly in areas where there is an absence of data, we will use Connect the Connecticut as our first cut to get a sense of what could be there.
When you make connections between different conservation partners and identify shared goals, you create a potential for greater conservation outcomes.
The Terrestrial Core-Connector Network is a useful model for looking at longer term, landscape level questions, such as the movement of larger mammals that have broad ranges. We will share this information with our state transportation partners, compare it with road kill and connection data that shows wildlife crossings and use the network for a post-hoc analysis by overlaying specific long- or short-term projects.
We are also very interested in the landscape capability models for representative species for rare species mapping. For example, the Wood Turtle Landscape Capability map is consistent with what we already have mapped for this species, and can be used to identify areas that we might not have previously surveyed.
Additional information and resources:
- Massachusetts Department of Fish and Wildlife, Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program
- BioMap 2 – Spatial data and analysis tool developed by the Massachusetts Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program
- Northeast Terrestrial Resilience – Spatial data developed by The Nature Conservancy
- Critical Linkages – Spatial data and analysis tools developed by the University of Massachusetts Amherst and The Nature Conservancy