Grant boosts Nature Conservancy Programs to Protect Fish and Wildlife Habitats
At The 14th Annual Great Adirondack Trail Run, The Mountaineer announced a $13,000 grant from Patagonia and The Mountaineer that will bolster The Nature Conservancy’s pioneering work to protect fish and wildlife habitats in the face of climate change.The award marks the fourth year in a row the Keene Valley-based outdoor gear retailer has joined with Patagonia to support the Conservancy’s Adirondack Chapter. The grant will support ongoing initiatives to improve culverts, making it easier for fish and wildlife to cross beneath roads, and to identify critical wildlife pathways between the Adirondacks and the Tug Hill Plateau.
“Partnerships are at the heart of all our work to improve fish and wildlife connectivity, and we are so grateful for the support of both The Mountaineer and Patagonia,” said Michelle Brown, a conservation scientist with the Conservancy. “Their generosity ensures that we can continue our efforts to protect and restore habitats across the Adirondacks and reinforce connections to nearby forests.”
The Conservancy’s work is especially important at a time when climate change is pushing wildlife to migrate to more suitable habitats and fish to seek cooler waters. Efforts to connect habitats and make the Adirondacks more resilient to the impacts of climate change don’t just support the environment, but make the region a better place to live.
“Preserving this beautiful place is important to our business, which relies on hikers, climbers, skiers and others who come here because it’s so big and wild. But it’s also important to us because it’s our home,” said Vinny McClelland, owner of The Mountaineer, who presented a check to the Conservancy on Saturday, June 9, during the Great Adirondack Trail Run. “We’re proud to play a role in helping the Conservancy ensure the biodiversity of these vital habitats and thankful for our close partnership with Patagonia”.
Specifically, the grant will enable the Conservancy to:
- Expand culvert inspections into the Saranac River watershed. Over the past few years, the Conservancy has examined hundreds of culverts throughout the Lake Champlain watershed to identify spots that are hard to cross for fish and other aquatic wildlife. Last year alone, four out of every five crossings assessed by the Conservancy were found to partially or completely block fish movement.
- Monitor a first-of-its-kind wildlife walkway, and identify locations for new crossings. Working in conjunction with New York State’s Department of Transportation, the Conservancy installed a critter shelf in a culvert beneath a busy highway in the Black River Valley last year. The innovative project could be replicated in other places.
- Develop additional conservation agreements with private landowners. Fish and wildlife crossings are most effective when they connect protected habitats on both sides of the road. The grant will enable the Conservancy to assess new areas in the Black River Valley to protect and reach out to landowners to discuss conservation actions they can take.
The grant was awarded under Patagonia’s Wholesale Impact Grants Program.