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Wan Conservancy Supports Wildlife Crossings to Connect Fragmented Ecosystems
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The Fragmented Santa Monica Mountains Ecosystem:

The fabric of the Santa Monica Mountains ecosystems has been shredded to pieces by massive human population growth and development and the presence of major freeways that completely isolate it from other natural habitat areas. Fragmentation of the ecosystem is extremely detrimental to the long term health of that ecosystem because, among other things, it restricts wildlife to limited areas insufficient for suitable home ranges, and it creates barriers against genetic diversity.
A Major Wildlife Habitat Connector is Proposed Across U.S. 101 Freeway at Liberty Canyon

Habitat fragmentation is especially devastating to the Santa Monica Mountains' largest predator, the Mountain Lion. The demise of such apex species impacts the entire ecosystem and severely degrades its heath and proper function. Network of freeways pose especially lethal barriers to wildlife movement and habitat connectivity.

The Santa Monica Mountains are only large enough to sustain two adult males. To survive, young males must find their way out of these mountains or face the prospect of being killed by the resident adult males. In fact, almost all of the young males born here have died either as a result of being killed by the existing two adult males or attempting to cross the freeways. The result is that the resident males are interbreeding with their own offspring resulting in serious genetic problems.

As an example of what has been happening, in 2013 a young mountain lion was killed when he attempted to cross the 101 Freeway from the north. Six lanes of freeway and a concrete wall made an impassable barrier for the lion. Had he made it he would have introduced new genetic material to the inbred isolated mountain lions in the Santa Monica Mountains. Many terrestrial wildlife, large and small, suffer the same deadly fate. Plants that depend on them for seed dispersal are genetically barricaded as well.

The California Dept. of Transportation, CALTRANS, has responded to this tragic situation by seeking a federal grant for a wildlife connector across the 101 Freeway at Liberty Canyon where this unfortunate lion became a road kill and the most likely place for such a crossing to be successful. The WAN Conservancy is joining with the National Wildlife Federation to inspire public support and unite conservation minded government agencies to participate and support the CALTRANS connector proposal.

Considerable funds are required for this to become a reality. These funds must come from a combination of public donations and government grants. You can help by clicking the donation button below. As usual, 100% of any donation designated for a specific conservation project goes to funding that project. You can also help by emailing this webpage to all your friends. If we are to preserve the health and biodiversity of the unique Santa Monica Mountains ecosystem, we must continue to protect those areas that have been set aside for wildlife and enlarge critical habitats, as well as stitch together the shredded and tattered ecosystem with connectors for wildlife.

Please click the donate button below to make a donation using our secure PayPal account:

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The Santa Monica Mountains, home base of the Western Alliance for Nature, has a unique ecosystem of great biodiversity and endemism and is one of the last such coastal areas left in Southern California. The "Mediterranean ecosystem" of southern California is one of the world's "hot spots" for biodiversity and an ecosystem of global significance. The Mediterranean ecosystem occurs only in five relatively small areas around the planet: Southern California and northern Baja California, the area bordering the Mediterranean Sea, central Chile, the Cape region of South Africa, southwestern and southern Australia.

Caifornia coastal canyon

Due to comfortable climate, all five Mediterranean regions have been highly impacted by human habitation and associated development. As a result, this ecosystem type (which only occurs on about two percent of the earth's total land area) is one of the most highly altered on the planet and contains the least undisturbed areas of any ecosystem. It also contains one of North America's most biologically diverse areas. The human impact on the Santa Monica Mountains is evidenced by having five area codes and 26 zip codes.

It is immersed in one of the highest population densities and urban sprawls in the country. Human development has torn the ecosystem into shreds. Yet the Santa Monica Mountains harbor more than 1,000 species of plants and over 450 vertebrates. Over 50 species of plants and animals are threatened or endangered. Thousand of scientific studies show unequivocal evidence for the impacts of habitat fragmentation through edge effects, patch shape complexity, isolation on community structure and ecosystem functioning.

The resulting declines in population density and species richness, including effects down to the trophic level on insects and plants and is often the cause of species becoming threatened or endangered. The long term health and survival of this special but fragmented ecosystem is on edge. The creation of a wildlife crossing could mean the difference between survival and degradation. That is why the Western Alliance for Nature is proud to be part of this effort.

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The WAN Conservancy
15 Alderney Rd, San Anselmo, CA 94960
Phone: (415)446-9027
EMAIL US: renepvoss@gmail.com

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