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Tribal Wildlife Corridors Act Would Protect Habitat on Tribal Lands

 WASHINGTON, D.C. — Maintaining corridors for wildlife movements and migrations is essential to support healthy populations and the communities that depend on them, the National Wildlife Federation said today as the U.S. Senate Indian Affairs Committee holds a hearing on the Tribal Wildlife Corridors Act.

“Wildlife don’t obey jurisdictions or acknowledge borders. They need connected corridors that allow them to migrate, breed and find food, water and shelter. Tribal nations are showing real leadership in maintaining these critical pathways,” said Gloria Tom, director of the Navajo Nation Department of Fish and Wildlife. “This legislation will support tribal wildlife conservation and address the challenge of coordination across federal agencies, states and private landowners to manage and implement a system of national corridors that ensure wildlife thrive.” 

“This hearing is an important step toward maintaining wildlife movements and populations in the United States, amidst expanding development and climate change,” said Mike Leahy, director of Wildlife, Hunting and Fishing Policy for the National Wildlife Federation. “The National Wildlife Federation applauds the leadership of Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) in addressing one of the greatest challenges wildlife face today: fragmented habitat. The Indian Affairs Committee should support this bill to help tribes maintain wildlife movements on tribal lands, and the Senate should also take up Sen. Udall’s legislative solutions to habitat fragmentation on private and public lands.”

The Tribal Wildlife Corridors Act — a more narrowly tailored version of Sen. Udall's Wildlife Corridors Conservation Act — will promote landscape-scale planning and conservation for wildlife migration pathways to boost biodiversity and safeguard our nation’s fish and wildlife. It authorizes a tribal corridors grant program, helping ensure tribes have resources needed for on-the-ground implementation. Additionally, the bill would also enable tribes to nominate wildlife corridors and set a deadline for the Interior Department to make a decision on the request. 

In January, the House Natural Resources Committee passed the House companion bill to the Tribal Wildlife Corridors Act — H.R. 5179. The National Wildlife Federation has encouraged broad, bipartisan support of this critical legislation so that wildlife populations may remain healthy and stable for generations to come.

 

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