Wildlife Corridors

In 2007 as a, newly elected Mayor, my community was working on a Comprehensive Plan. As it sounds, a comprehensive plan covers everything in a community. One of the key items I focused on was our parks, trails and natural areas. I have always viewed these as more than just sound environmental or recreational policy but as economic development keys. A community that has a good park and recreation department is more attractive for companies to relocate or for entrepreneurs to open new businesses. Additional businesses diversify the tax base and keep taxes lower while improving the community.

An important aspect of protecting natural areas and wildlife is connecting woodlands, fields, lakes, rivers and more to each other. My community was growing fast and many natural areas were disappearing due to development. We needed to preserve natural areas and make sure they would be linked to other wildlife habitats.

The key was establishing wildlife corridors. A wildlife corridor is a strip of natural habitat connecting populations of wildlife otherwise separated by farms, roads, housing, etc. These passages allow the safe movement of fauna from one region to another. We focused on preserving strips of land in future developments to allow for wildlife corridors. That was the easy part. The hard part was finding the most viable ways to work with existing neighborhoods and community infrastructure that allows the safe movement of wildlife through a city. We leveraged our existing stormwater system, which had a significant amount of land and right of ways, dedicated to controlling water runoff and tied this to several existing streams and adjacent land to create our first wildlife corridor system.

The important lesson is to try and put the protection of wildlife and habitat at the forefront of planning. It is much easier to have these systems designed into the process upfront than to try and come in after and force a solution. We used our wildlife corridors and all of the natural areas we developed for education and recreation.

Low impact trails were developed throughout to allow pedestrian travel as a way to get community buy-in to wildlife corridors and to secure funding. This allowed for the preservation and rehabilitation of wildlife habitat.

The education part was perhaps the most rewarding. We partnered with our local school district to create an outdoor classroom for biology lessons.

Having added dozens of miles of trails and increased open parkland by 67% is a testament to what one community can accomplish. Wildlife corridors are the key that unlocks new habitat.

Local Community Covid19 Planning

The top hurdle with the communities I am helping is getting them to believe the sheer financial impact following Covid19.

Just enough time has passed that many have forgotten how bad the Great Recession was. Massive cuts in Federal & State aid to local communities left many unprepared to provide basic services.

Bad decisions are made when leaders panic.

Create your plans with 10% to 50% cuts in revenue. Vision how you can still provide essential services with less staff. Governments at all levels are service businesses ergo highest cost are employees.

Disaster planning is not just about a tornado ripping up a town but is the essential key to success in destructive economic times.

Healthcare System during the Covid19 Pandemic

1. Medical experts were ignored about Covid19 Pandemic
2. The Federal and many state governments denied the potential harm of the Covid19 Pandemic
3. The Federal and many state governments did not prepare by stocking up on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) & other medical supplies & equipment.
4. The Federal and many state governments left medical professionals unprotected as they fight Covid19.
5. The Federal and state governments don’t seem to understand that the PPE is not just for Doctors, Nurses and other medical staff it also protects patients. If you have to keep the same PPE on all day the medical person is at higher risk but so is the patient. Whatever patient A might have has a greater chance of being spread to patient B if the Doctor or Nurse is wearing the same PPE with every patient.
6. Our healthcare system is now fracturing as Doctors, Nurses and other medical staff are being fired, furloughed or having significant pay cuts.
7. Why is this happening in a global pandemic? Because our healthcare system has had drastic cuts in revenue. Our healthcare system is a business not a public service.
8. Healthcare workers whose lives are on the line due to incompetence and who worry daily about infecting their own families are now faced with job loss & financial ruin.
9. The Federal and many state governments have so far ignored every significant issue of the Covid19 Pandemic.
10. There are approximately 1 million Doctors and 3 million nurses in the UnitedStates. They are being sent into battle without the armor & weapons they need to win. They are being sent into battle worried they may harm their own families. The system sending them into battle today might be firing, furloughing or cutting their pay the next day.
This is the American Healthcare system fighting for our lives

Episode #36 New Reality

In Episode #36 New Reality we discuss the concept of Flattening the Curve, Stay at Home Orders and the future episodes. We are in a whole new world reality and we must be prepared to do our part.

Wimmer’s Wilderness is an informed look at Politics, Community, Government, Environment and Education from a local perspective.

Our regions, states and countries are simply a collection of local communities working together. If we are able to make a positive change in our local communities then that will lead to better outcomes at the regional, state and national level.