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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: January 14, 2020 02:37 PM
From: Representative Mary Jo Daley
To: All House members
Subject: Conservation Corridors
Pennsylvania is a leader among states when we consider annual consumer spending on outdoor recreational activities. Pennsylvania invites visitors to pursue their happiness as it advertises amazing outdoor recreation opportunities. People who live in Pennsylvania and who come to Pennsylvania from other areas or choose to staycation appreciate our natural resources. In order to maintain these attractions for those who visit our Commonwealth to enjoy our forests, mountains and other natural resources, we need an inventory. We all know that Pennsylvania is home for a magnificent diversity of plants and wildlife and a great array of ecosystems. Preserving and connecting high-quality habitat for plants and wildlife can create habitat strongholds so species can continue to thrive as they face stressors and changing environmental conditions. At present, the ownership and management of our natural areas is diverse as it exists in both the public and private spheres. A study and inventory will assist owners to make future decisions about new corridors and maintenance needs.

Understanding of the Commonwealth’s habitat connectivity status and potential would benefit from consideration of all relevant data, including from federal and state agencies, including surrounding states, nonprofit organizations, universities, and private landowners. State agencies, nonprofit organizations and coalitions, as well as public-private partnerships that are interested in advancing connectivity across the Commonwealth could benefit from a science-based understanding of current and potential conservation corridors in the state, and non-state coalition partners can add value by helping to advance the habitat connectivity goals of state agencies that seek to advance conservation corridors.

Therefore, I plan to introduce a resolution that would require a study to be conducted by the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee, in collaboration and consultation with various state agencies, NGO’s and private landowners. Specifically, the study would focus on the interconnectivity of our existing conservation corridors, their location, ownership and condition. The identification of existing and needed conservation corridors, riparian corridors, and potential crossings of transportation arteries will provide important information for legislators, administrative departments, state agencies and non-profit organizations. The study will benefit both the tourism and the outdoor recreation agendas with information to attract people to our beautiful state. In addition, the study would examine voluntary mechanisms, and provide for legislative recommendations. By using science, advocacy, education, and on-ground conservation, this study would provide a voice for the Commonwealth’s various species of mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, amphibians, and plants, as well Pennsylvania’s 121 state parks and 2.2 million acres of forest lands.

Please consider joining me in support of this important measure.

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Introduced as HR670