Don't Forget The Wildlife!

A report released this week, Design of U.S. Habitat Banking Systems to Support the Conservation of Wildlife Habitat and At-Risk Species, a joint effort of the Environmental Law Institute and Environmental Defense (both DC-based), assesses the potential for habitat banking to contribute to the conservation of priority wildlife habitat identified in the state wildlife action plans. These plans, available in all 50 states, identify each state's at-risk species, the habitats on which they depend, actions to conserve the species and their habitats, and, with varying degrees of specificity, strategies to achieve those priorities. The research was supported by the Wildlife Habitat Policy Research Program, a results oriented program with the mission to develop and disseminate objective information and practical tools to accelerate the conservation of wildlife habitat in the United States.We are also pleased to announces the publication of "Effects of Climate Change on Aquatic Invasive Species and Implications for Management and Research," a report prepared by ELI and the U.S. EPA. The report examines the effects of climate change on aquatic invasive species (AIS). Aquatic invasive species, such as the zebra mussel, silver and bighead carp, and water hyacinth, are non-native species that damage the environment, public health, and the economy as they spread and multiply. The report identifies gaps in scientific information needed to respond to the threats posed by these species in a changing climate and proposes strategies for incorporating climate change considerations into management plans and activities to effectively prevent, control, and eradicate AIS under changing conditions.

The report reviews current scientific literature on interactions between climate change and AIS and highlights additional research and information needs. "It is important to identify, prioritize, and address gaps in our knowledge of AIS and climate change to provide the information that states need to develop effective, long-term management plans for aquatic invasive species," says Dr. Kathryn Mengerink of ELI, a co-author of the study.

The report reveals that only a few state management plans — notably, those in Washington, Hawai'i, and Alaska — recognize that conditions may change over time. The remaining state plans do not currently consider changing conditions because there is no current mandate to do so. "AIS planning is one of many areas where our laws and institutions do not adequately consider adaptation to climate change," notes Carl Bruch, Co-Director of International Programs for ELI. "We are excited to break new ground in considering climate adaptation in a sophisticated way."

An electronic version of this, and other reports are available free of charge from ELI's website.

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