New paradigm for collaborative conservation in the High Divide
More than 70 people gathered in Island Park, Idaho, in late September to celebrate the High Divide Large Landscape Collaborative. This broad group of ranchers, recreation leaders and outfitters, state and federal agencies, scientists, and non-governmental organizations are partnering together to conserve vital open space for wildlife, local economies and the region's strong ranching heritage.
The High Divide straddles the Idaho-Montana border between Yellowstone National Park and the Central Idaho Wilderness Complex. Connectivity habitats across this landscape are critically important for the big game animals and large predators, high priority sage grouse populations, and headwater fisheries that are the High Divide's wild hallmarks. Conservation of productive lower elevation wildlife habitats, river corridors, and linkage areas on private lands are critical to sustaining the rich wildlife heritage and ecological integrity of the entire region's vast natural ecosystems and network of publicly conserved land.
The partnerships represented on the High Divide Collaborative dovetail with the Great Northern LCC's Demonstration Project started in FY10 and included BLM, US Forest Service, USFWS, NPS, state fish and wildlife agencies of Idaho and Montana, and Heart of the Rockies Initiative. Through a grant to the Heart of the Rockies Initiative in FY12 and FY13, the GNLCC continues to provide support for shared capacity, and data and tools coordination. The High Divide Collaboration is pursuing funds for FY15 from the Land and Water Conservation Fund. This proposal is supported by the GNLCC.