PRINTER'S NO. 573
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
SENATE RESOLUTION
No.
70
Session of
2021
INTRODUCED BY MUTH, FONTANA, COMITTA AND SCHWANK, APRIL 13, 2021
REFERRED TO ENVIRONMENTAL RESOURCES AND ENERGY, APRIL 13, 2021
A RESOLUTION
Directing the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee to
conduct a study and issue a report on the current status,
management and benefits of conservation corridors in this
Commonwealth.
WHEREAS, Outdoor recreation is among our nation's largest
economic sectors; and
WHEREAS, Pennsylvania is a leader in outdoor recreation
consumer spending, which is a critical component of our tourism
industry; and
WHEREAS, Pennsylvania is home to an array of ecosystems with
a magnificent diversity of plants, trees and wildlife that
benefit from connectivity and the conservation of high quality
habitats which enable species to thrive as the species face
habitat stressors and changing environmental conditions; and
WHEREAS, Conservation of this Commonwealth's natural
resources is necessary to prevent exploitation, destruction or
neglect, and for this Commonwealth's tourism industry to
continue to expand and thrive; and
WHEREAS, Pennsylvania ranks third in the country for
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incidence of wildlife-vehicle collisions, which cost the
Commonwealth millions in insurance damages and countless human
lives; and
WHEREAS, Ensuring the safety of Pennsylvania highways is
critical and identifying areas for safe wildlife crossings of
transit highways can significantly reduce wildlife-vehicle
collisions; and
WHEREAS, It is recognized as a public good that habitat
connectivity for wildlife be maintained and expanded, as
connectivity between wildlife habitats is important to the long-
term viability of this Commonwealth's biodiversity; and
WHEREAS, The ecological benefits of habitat connectivity have
been measured and greater species richness, including increased
species populations and wider dispersal of animals and plants,
and the creation of high-quality habitat strongholds for
wildlife which can lead to more genetically diverse and robust
populations; and
WHEREAS, Habitat connectivity can be fostered by conservation
corridors; and
WHEREAS, It is the policy of the Commonwealth to encourage,
wherever feasible and practical, voluntary steps to protect the
functioning of conservation corridors through various means; and
WHEREAS, Increasingly, fragmented habitats threaten this
Commonwealth's plant and wildlife species; and
WHEREAS, Understanding of this Commonwealth's habitat
connectivity status and potential would benefit from
consideration of all relevant data, including from Federal and
State agencies and surrounding states, nonprofit organizations,
universities and private landowners; and
WHEREAS, Conservation corridors in Pennsylvania are managed
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by different Commonwealth commissions and departments; and
WHEREAS, Many Commonwealth agencies, nonprofit organizations
and coalitions, as well as public-private partnerships that are
interested in advancing connectivity across this Commonwealth,
could benefit from improved understanding of current and
potential conservation corridors in this Commonwealth, as well
as support in coordinating information and joint land management
among the above actors; and
WHEREAS, A study that identifies and evaluates conservation
corridors would be beneficial to both humans and wildlife;
therefore be it
RESOLVED, That the Senate direct the Legislative Budget and
Finance Committee to conduct a study and issue a report on the
current status and management of conservation corridors in this
Commonwealth and make recommendations for measures proposed or
undertaken for the conservation and maintenance of these
corridors; and be it further
RESOLVED, That the study:
(1) identify and examine the approaches, statutes,
measures and management responsibilities of a Commonwealth
agency, nongovernmental organization and academic institution
to assist in the identification and establishment of
conservation corridors in this Commonwealth;
(2) identify existing and needed terrestrial and aquatic
conservation corridors in this Commonwealth by synthesizing
existing relevant plans and datasets, including spatial data,
from governmental agencies, nongovernmental organizations and
academic institutions;
(3) aggregate the existing economic impact analyses of
the establishment of conservation corridors in areas of high
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incidence of wildlife-vehicle collisions;
(4) identify best practices of corridor identification,
corridor implementation and support, including public-private
partnerships, interagency coordination and conservation
easements; and
(5) identify financial mechanisms and options, including
those relevant to each agency and for the Commonwealth as a
whole, to fund conservation corridors, including Federal,
State and nongovernmental sources;
and be it further
RESOLVED, That the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee
be authorized to consult with organizations that:
(1) have organizational missions and expertise in
wildlife habitat and ecological conservation;
(2) provide representation of this Commonwealth's 121
State parks and 2.2 million acres of forest land and the
interests of private landowners;
(3) integrate conservation and economic development in a
way that strengthens and inspires communities;
(4) collect data on vehicle collisions involving
wildlife; and
(5) have knowledge of relevant issues;
and be it further
RESOLVED, That the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee
be authorized to consult surrounding states and private
landowners that have knowledge of relevant issues; and be it
further
RESOLVED, That the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee
make recommendations as appropriate regarding collaborative
engagement for the management of these areas, and present the
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recommendations to the relevant parties; and be it further
RESOLVED, That the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee
prepare a report of the findings and recommendations of the
study and submit the report to the Secretary of the Senate and
the Chief Clerk of the House of Representatives within 18 months
of the adoption of this resolution and no later than October 31,
2022.
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