Connectivity for Wildlife in North Carolina
Roads and Development Fragment Habitat and Can Harm Wildlife
Habitat fragmentation changes the natural landscape, influencing the type and amount of suitable habitat available for wildlife. Fragmentation impacts the ability of animals to access resources to support biological processes and may affect where, when, and how wildlife move. As humans continue to develop natural areas for housing, commerce, transportation, and recreation, fewer areas remain intact to support wildlife and natural ecosystem functions. Habitat fragmentation can impact species migrations, disrupt breeding, create genetically isolated sub-populations further increasing the vulnerability of species of concern, and can cause increased mortality of wildlife on roadways.
Wildlife Corridors and Crossings Connect Habitat
In an increasingly fragmented landscape, it’s essential to acquire, protect, connect and manage lands for the benefit of wildlife. Improving habitat connectivity and making safe passages ensures wild animals can get to where they need to go.
What We're Doing
Outcomes & Impact
NCWF believes coexistence with the natural world, including wildlife, is critical to sustaining human existence and that collaborative, responsible, and pro-active infrastructure planning, keeping natural resources in mind, can create feasible and effective solutions. NCWF advocates for maintaining contiguous areas of unique habitat that are vital to the existence of threatened and endangered species, which also supports the goal of maintaining biodiversity.
NCWF is part of the Pigeon River Gorge Wildlife Connectivity Collaborative. The group evaluates ways for wildlife species, including elk, black bear and white-tailed deer, to safely cross roadways and reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions.
We’re working to:
- Maintain, enhance and restore connections and corridors among core wildlife habitats.
- Expand and connect protected areas statewide to sustain healthy wildlife populations and allow for seasonal migrations and climate-driven range shifts.
- Establish a national and statewide wildlife corridors system that supports essential connectivity infrastructures to help wildlife cross barriers.
- Oppose ill-conceived road or other infrastructure projects that impact habitat connectivity and don’t provide meaningful solutions to these issues.
Through our partnership with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission and North Carolina Department of Transportation, NCWF helps ensure Highway 64 underpasses are safe for wildlife crossing by:
- Assessing fence repair needs in areas where wildlife is funneled to the roadway underpass.
- Removing debris to keep wildlife passages open and functioning.
- Monitoring species that use the crossing structures.