WildLinks 2016: Connecting, Sharing, Planning, and Action in the Face of Climate Change

WildLinks 2016: Connecting, Sharing, Planning, and Action in the Face of Climate Change

Conservation Northwest / Nov 04, 2016 / Work Updates

Practitioners from both British Columbia and the U.S. gather at WildLinks earlier this week. Photo: Alaina Kowitz
By Alaina Kowitz, Communications and Outreach Associate

As climate change continues to reshape our natural landscapes and weather patterns, how do we go about creating a blueprint for a climate resilient landscape?  This is an unprecedented question that all natural resource advocates and managers are facing as climate change begins to alter our ecosystems.

Thanks to the Cascadia Partner Forum and Conservation Northwest, the annual WildLinks Conference fulfills the need for increased idea-sharing and communication about the state of the transboundary Cascade Mountains region. The conference was held this week in Seattle, where scientists and practitioners from both British Columbia and the U.S. gathered to identify borderless conservation strategies.

Since its formation in 2012, Conservation Northwest has helped organize and facilitate the WildLinks Conference, which gives us the opportunity to connect with partners and collaborators to discuss the Cascadia region that so many value and cherish.

This year, WildLinks attendees strove to identify shared priorities and conservation actions within Cascadia border region. Along with updates from organizations and a review of the past year, discussions focused on:

  • How to maintain a connected network of terrestrial habitats
  • How to best share existing information and science to inform climate adaptation on the ground
  • Forming a working group to address recovering a transboundary Canada lynx population
  • How to best prepare for the effects of climate change, both on the landscapes and in informing conservation strategies

Conservation Northwest has been working to restore the endangered Canada lynx by lobbying for greater protection status, protecting lynx from harm, protecting securing and connecting its critical habitat, and partaking in monitoring research efforts in the Kettle Range and North Cascades. Dave Werntz, our Conservation and Science Director, was a member of the WildLinks discussions around forming a transboundary lynx working group.

“We reached agreement that restoring lynx in the Kettle Range is the top priority for lynx recovery in Washington,“ said Dave Werntz, “involving partnership with First Nations and tribes, community outreach, and sorting out the logistics of translocations.”

It’s now becoming increasingly vital for agencies, non-profit organizations, and other entities to come together in order to create a sustainable, long-term plan for the future ecological health of our region. We’re grateful to everyone who attended and helped make this year’s WildLinks Conference a success, and for the opportunity to work across borders to keep the Cascadia region wild and resilient, both now and in the future.

For more information on WildLinks or past conferences, check out our webpage here.