Crossing Paths: Landscape Planning for Human-Wildlife Balance
Smail, Benjamin J.
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Design methods to reconnect the Salish and Kootenai people, as well as those permitted to visit, to their ancestral lands and historical/cultural sites as well as the safe and efficient movement of native animal species throughout the valley is the goal of this research. Constraints will first be identified in understanding how this reconnection works with the hurdles of current and future urban development, private property, watersheds (historical and current), agriculture, and historical landmarks. Next, typological studies of other efforts in wildlife mobility will be compared with current funding opportunities and their preferences in a ‘program matrix’. This program matrix will help stratify the concerns of the research to key in on the most ‘important’ program elements. Perhaps most importantly, studying the historical trends of documented animal movement throughout the valley, as it responds to the effects of human development, will help identify where key corridors should be implemented. How those corridors relate to the connections desired by people living in the valley, such as tribal lands, cultural/historical sites, and recreation/wilderness areas will be of secondary importance. Lastly, local tribal, state and federal laws will need to be understood in order to identify what land could potentially be acquired and what laws could prohibit such development or what laws might encourage it. With the completion of this research, the alignment of natural corridors shared by both human and native floura/fauna will be mapped. Future projects such as parks, native habitat, residential and commercial development, cultural centers, historical landmarks, family agriculture, and roadway access will be incentivized through design within these corridors. Additionally, the environmental management and operation of these lands would be granted to the Confederated Salish and Katoonai Tribes (CSKT) as they continue to prove their adept ability to manage existing reclaimed lands in the valley.