California Department of Fish and Wildlife
graphic map of California


California Essential Habitat Connectivity Project: A Strategy for Conserving a Connected California

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the California Department of Transportation (CalTrans) commissioned a team of consultants to produce a statewide assessment of essential habitat connectivity by February of 2010, using the best available science, data sets, spatial analyses and modeling techniques.

The goal was to identify large remaining blocks of intact habitat or natural landscape and model linkages between them that need to be maintained, particularly as corridors for wildlife.

Over sixty federal, state, local, tribal and non-governmental organizations collaborated in the creation of :

  1. A statewide wildlife habitat connectivity map using a Geographic Information System (GIS) based modeling approach;
  2. An assessment of the biological value of identified connectivity areas; and
  3. A strategic plan that helps varied end users interpret and use the statewide map and outlines a methodology necessary for completing connectivity analyses at finer spatial scales.


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Geographic Information System (GIS) Data

  • BIOS Web Site, with links to view the GIS layers in an online map viewer and download the GIS data.
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Final Report

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Support Materials

A functional network of connected wildlands is essential to the continued support of California's diverse natural communities in the face of both human development and climate change. Results will be used with California Wildlife: Conservation Challenges, California's Wildlife Action Plan; the California Climate Adaptation Strategy; and large-scale, multi-species conservation plans such as Natural Community Conservation Plans (NCCPs) and Habitat Conservation Plans (HCPs).

The maps and data will also be used to integrate natural resource considerations into transportation and land use planning processes such as the California Transportation Plan and Regional Blueprints.

Agency Contacts

Monica Parisi
CDFW Habitat Conservation Planning Branch

Amy Bailey
CalTrans Division of Environmental Analysis

Ecoregional Analyses Within California

Western States

Grant Funded Connectivity Research

State Wildlife Grants
2009 Shilling, F.M. and D.P. Waetjen. 2011. Regional Approach for Connectivity Analysis and Design.
Delineates several approaches for assessing and prioritizing connectivity and discusses their theoretical and practical foundations. A case study from the San Joaquin Valley illustrates an alternative to core and linkage modeling. Detailed technical appendices provide full metadata for the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) modeling done for the study area.
Local Assistance Grants for Natural Community Conservation Plans (NCCPs)
2011 United States Geological Survey. Adaptive Management of Wildlife Undercrossings for Small Animals.
2011 San Diego State University Research Foundation. Social Structure and Genetic Connectivity in the Southern Mule Deer: Implications for Management.
2008 Barrows, C.W. and M.F. Allen. 2009. Identifying Habitat Corridors for Palm Springs Pocket Mouse Populations.
2002 Tracey, J.A. and K.R. Crooks. 2004. Evaluating Landscape Connectivity in Coastal Southern California Using Individual-Based Movement Models.
2001 Campbell, K.F. 2003. Report of Coastal California Gnatcatcher Juvenile Dispersal Across Interstate 8 at the MSCP Southern Lakeside Archipelago Lands, San Diego County, California.
2000 Conservation Biology Institute. 2003. Wildlife Corridor Monitoring Study, Multiple Species Conservation Program.
2000 Conservation Biology Institute. 2003. Review of Regional Habitat Linkage Monitoring Locations, Multiple Species Conservation Program
2000 Conservation Biology Institute. 2002. Wildlife Corridor Monitoring Study for the Multiple Species Conservation Program.