Yahk to Yaak
Y2Y is leading an effort to restore the degraded habitat in this important trans-boundary region that links two key areas in British Columbia (B.C.) and Montana.
Stretching across the U.S. Canada border, the Cabinet-Purcell Mountain Corridor (CPMC) is one of the few areas in the Yellowstone to Yukon region where grizzly bears can move back and forth between these two countries. Degraded habitat, limited protected areas and roads—from highways to forest roads—have all played a part in limiting the ability of wildlife to cross this stretch of iconic land. What limits wildlife connections also limits the ecological condition of the land.
Starting near Cranbrook, B.C., and across the border into Montana lies the Yahk/Yaak (same river, just different spelling) River drainage. This region has been identified as high priority linkage area that, if restored, would have significant benefits to wildlife and its habitat.
WHAT Y2Y IS DOING
Y2Y is leading an effort created by a collaborative of 60-plus conservation organizations, land trusts, government agencies and Native Americans/First Nations to restore the critical Yahk to Yaak linkage zone.
In 2013, Y2Y secured funding to support and coordinate a suite of on-the-ground projects that will improve grizzly bear habitat, make it easier for them to move through the landscape, and connect habitat from B.C.’s portion of the CPMC, through Montana and into Yellowstone National Park. Habitat restoration will also focus on renewing watersheds for aquatic species, such as bull trout and westslope cutthroat trout.
These projects include:
- A Y2Y-led analysis of wildlife-vehicle collisions along Montana’s Highway 2 to determine the most cost-effective way to make the highway safer for wildlife and people. This builds on the work already conducted in Idaho’s portion of Highway 2.
- Supporting our conservation partners in programs that will help wildlife and humans live together.
- Habitat restoration projects that include decommissioning old forest roads, restoring streams and their banks to their original state and removing invasive plants.
- Monitoring and evaluating usage of restored habitat by wildlife to determine fine-scale connectivity, as well as a climate change analysis.
Together, these projects will make both a regional and continental-scale difference to connectivity.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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(This wildlife camera captures a healthy black bear roaming in this recently restored area in the Yahk to Yaak project region.)
WHO WE ARE WORKING WITH
GET THE LATEST: Yahk to Yaak News
Featuring a diverse mix of wild habitat and human settlement, the Cabinet-Purcell Mountain Corridor is integral to the Y2Y vision.
A decade-long collaborative effort from the entire community near Troy, Montana, leads to permanent protection along the Alvord Lake shoreline.
In the trans-boundary Yahk to Yaak region, Adam Switalski’s remote wildlife cameras are proving just how successful road restoration projects can be.
Y2Y’s Rebecca Lloyd is Restoring Connected Watersheds and the Economy, One Road at a Time.