Legislation that will make it state policy to protect wildlife corridors passed out of the State Senate Friday and is on its way to Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk for his signature. Assembly Bill 498, co-sponsored by Audubon California and authored by Assembly Member Marc Levine, will help birds by protecting vital linkages between important habitat areas. These protections will also give birds a better chance of surviving the challenges of climate change, as many of these corridors are also habitat strongholds or connect strongholds that birds and other wildlife need to survive in an environment altered by climate change.
“As we learn more about the habitats that will serve as strongholds for birds and other wildlife in California, it is vital that we also identify ways to connect them,” said Mike Lynes, Audubon California’s director of public policy. “Not only will Assembly Bill 498 help California protect its most vital landscapes, but it will also ensure that we make the best conservation investments as well.”
Assembly Bill 498 will make it a policy of the state that, whenever a project is proposed in an area defined as a wildlife corridor, the proponent will be encouraged to work with the Department of Fish and Wildlife to ensure the continued functioning of that corridor.
According to a study released in September 2014 by the National Audubon Society, 170 California bird species will be at risk of extinction in the next several decades due to global warming. This legislative session, Audubon California is supporting proposed bills that reduce the carbon pollution that causes climate change, and bills that will help birds survive in a new environment.