A wildlife corridor is an area of habitat connecting wildlife populations separated by human activities or structures (such as roads, development, or logging). This allows an exchange of individuals between populations, which may help prevent the negative effects of inbreeding and reduced genetic diversity that often occur within isolated populations. Corridors may also help facilitate the re-establishment of populations that have been reduced or eliminated due to unplanned or natural events (such as fires or disease). This may potentially moderate some of the worst effects of habitat fragmentation, wherein urbanization can split up habitat areas, causing animals to lose both their natural habitat and the ability to move between regions to use all of the resources they need to survive. Habitat fragmentation due to human development is an ever-increasing threat to biodiversity, and habitat corridors are a possible solution.[i]
In our region, livestock fences are a hindrance to wildlife movement. While they do not usually prevent wild animal movement, they can cause a change of routes, resulting in certain areas being undergrazed and others being overgrazed, both of which damage the water cycle and biodiversity. On top of that, they pose a constant health threat to the already low populations of mule deer, as the photo below makes clear.
We recommend the removal of all fences that are not needed to contain livestock, and we encourage community-wide grazing plans that minimize fencing. We believe that herding dogs can play a vital role in Predator-Friendly Manageded Grazing, and they alone could significantly reduce the miles of fence lines needed in our region. Check back here for updates as we interview those with success on this front and gain experience with it ourselves.