The Upper Rio Grande provides critical habitat to a diverse array of wildlife including elk, mule deer, pronghorn, Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, black bear, cougar, Rio Grande cutthroat trout, otters, Canadian lynx and golden eagles. The region is considered one of the best-connected wildlife landscapes in the Lower-48 states and many of the local economies, communities and cultures still rely heavily on the area’s wildlife and landscape.
Many challenges from development now threaten to disrupt these migration corridors, which cross federal, state, tribal and private lands. Fences, roads, residential and industrial development, natural resource extraction, fires, drought and changes in climate impact the ability of species to move to habitat that is needed for food, breeding and overall survival.
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. The goal is to support on-going science and data collection, encourage public engagement and inform public policies to protect and enhance wildlife connectivity and overall ecosystem health.