Connected Corridors: The Upper Rio Grande Wildlife Initiative

The Upper Rio Grande Wildlife Initiative

seeks to foster collaboration to protect and enhance ecosystem health and the ability for wildlife to move across the landscape.

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It’s a place where Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep scale thousand-foot rock walls, brilliantly colored cutthroat trout shimmer in streambeds and the elusive lynx pads across deep snow drifts in the forest. Home to the headwaters of the famed Rio Grande River, the Upper Rio Grande watershed is considered one of the best-connected wildlife landscapes in the lower-48 states, stretching from central Colorado to the Sandia Pueblo in New Mexico.

Why Wildlife Corridors Matter

The idea for the Upper Rio Grande Wildlife Initiative developed out of two gatherings of land managers, scientists, policy-makers, conservation groups and community leaders to identify key wildlife corridors in the region, as well as the need for collaboration between federal, state, local and tribal governments.

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The Upper Rio Grande

The Upper Rio Grande provides critical habitat to a diverse array of wildlife. The region is considered one of the best-connected wildlife landscapes in the Lower-48 states but many challenges from development now threaten to disrupt these migration corridors.

The Upper Rio Grande Wildlife Corridors and Connectivity Initiative seeks to foster collaboration by bringing together diverse stakeholders including tribal communities, federal and state agencies, conservation groups, community leaders and private land owners.

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Priority Wildlife Connectivity Areas

(Click the map to learn more)
  1. national forest
  2. designated wilderness
  3. caja del rio management area (proposed)
  4. chama basin watershed protection area (proposed)
  5. spruce hole / osier / toltec connectivity special interest area (proposed)
  6. san antonio management area (proposed)
  7. valle vidal special management area (proposed)
  8. national monument

Land management plans, which are only rewritten every 20-30 years, are currently being developed. A broad coalition is urging that five areas, shown above, be given special protection to ensure wildlife maintains its ability to move freely within the region.

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People of the Upper Rio Grande

A diverse group of people live, work and play in the Upper Rio Grande, including tribal members, cattle ranchers, scientists, hunters, anglers, military veterans and many others. Here are some of their stories.

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