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Carina Firkowski at the RBG management forum

Presentation at the EcoPark management forum on ecological corridor planning

Carina Firkowski, ApexRMS ecologist, presents the Omniscape Impact SyncroSim package to attendees of the EcoPark management forum.

ApexRMS recently visited the Royal Botanical Gardens to speak at a management forum organized by the Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System. The event connected the local municipalities’ staff and stakeholders with experts in the field to learn and share insights about connectivity and road ecology.

Our ecologist, Carina Firkowski, presented the Omniscape Impact SyncroSim package that was developed to assess the effects of habitat restoration on ecological connectivity for the EcoPark System as part of Parks Canada’s ecological corridor pilot program. We were also joined by:

  • Kari Gunson, the principal road ecologist at Eco-Kare International, who opened the stage with a talk on the foundations of road ecology. She highlighted examples of crossing and fencing structures, like the famous overpasses in Banff National Park and the volunteer-run Turtle Watch in Dundas, Ontario.
  • Erika Nardone, the ecosystem strategies technician at Credit Valley Conservation, who spoke about how local actors can prioritize road ecology efforts. She presented a recent study conducted by Credit Valley Conservation that characterized how the watershed’s culverts and bridges promote or hinder fish and terrestrial wildlife movement.
  • Jochen Jaeger, Associate Professor in Geography, Planning and Environment at Concordia University, who closed the talk with an overview of the interaction between connectivity and urban areas. He discussed some of his lab’s latest research, including the negative impacts of fence-ends for road mortality, the value of greenbelts for mitigating urban sprawl, and the lack of consideration of ecological connectivity in environmental impact assessments.

After the presentation, participants were engaged in a lively discussion on bridging the gap between modeling and its application in management and policy with the use of SyncroSim.

ApexRMS was grateful for the opportunity to share about our work, learn from the forum participants, and collectively brainstorm ways for improving ecological connectivity through habitat restoration in the future. To learn more about Omniscape Impact, visit the package’s documentation page.