The Cascades Carnivore Connectivity Project is a multi-partner effort to evaluate and enhance habitat connectivity for carnivores in the North Cascades Ecosystem (NCE) of Washington (see Where We Work).
Washington’s NCE presents a rare opportunity to host a full complement of native carnivores, including grizzly bears, wolves, wolverines, and Canada lynx. Such wide-ranging animals need to be able to move safely through the landscape to search for food, mates, and breeding sites, and to exchange genes with populations that might be otherwise isolated.
Unfortunately, busy transportation corridors can result in barriers to carnivore movement. This scenario becomes all the more dire in the context of climate change, which will require major geographical shifts for certain wildlife populations.
The Cascades Carnivore Connectivity Project is using noninvasive methods to evaluate the impacts of highways and development on carnivore populations in the NCE. Our results will help inform future research, transportation planning, and carnivore conservation in the region.