Mission & Goals

Y2U is a 501c3 public interest organization whose staff and members have and will continue to recreate in and work to protect the integrity of habitat for native fish and wildlife in this region. We are concerned about the loss of integrity of the Regionally Significant Wildlife Corridor that connects the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and Northern Rockies to the Uinta Wilderness and Southern Rockies.

The Yellowstone to Uintas Connection organization was given this name to bring attention to this Corridor and we use this name in reference to both the organization and the Corridor as it provides context and public awareness to the location and its importance. Habitat is increasingly fragmented and deteriorated by human activities while the agencies charged with managing this region fail to address or correct any aspect of these issues while continuing to approve projects that increase the fragmentation, habitat deterioration and pollution.

Our Mission

Working to restore fish and wildlife habitat in the Yellowstone to Uintas Corridor through the application of science, education and advocacy.

Our Goals

Agency recognition and analysis of this Regionally Significant Wildlife Corridor and its habitat for special status species. The analysis must have a Cumulative Effective Analysis (CEA) approach which looks at factors such as roads, mining operations, timber and vegetation management projects, transmission lines, pipelines, water diversions and livestock grazing that negatively impact the connectivity and quality of the habitat in the Corridor.

Correction of this fragmentation and degradation demands:

  • Habitat analysis and characterization in the Corridor to determine structure, function and capability for special status species and prioritize mitigation and restoration.
  • Agency acknowledgement of the negative impact to forests, grasslands and shrublands that occurs on our Public Lands from livestock grazing which includes accelerated succession of aspen to conifers, damage to watersheds, dewatering of streams, degradation of riparian areas and native plant communities, accelerated soil erosion, and increased fire risk.
  • Removal or reduction of livestock grazing on BLM, National Forest and state lands where science indicates that the ecosystem health is declining due to agency authorized livestock grazing. This could be accomplished through the procurement of funding for and the implementation of voluntary grazing permit retirement on BLM, National Forest and state lands. Removal of livestock grazing has carbon sequestration, watershed and habitat benefits for all species.
  • Restoration of stream flows and riparian zone habitat, reduction in the number and impact of stream diversions, and the recovery of lost wetlands. Removal of livestock grazing would facilitate this.
  • Agency acknowledgement of climate change impacts on forest, grassland and shrubland health including the role of forests in storing carbon. Both fuels treatments and wildfire remove carbon from forests. Thinning and other fuel treatments to reduce high-severity fire, although considered to keep carbon sequestered, do not do so and have little effect on wildfire since high-severity fires are driven by climatic factors and have occurred in previously logged or thinned forests. High carbon losses come from treatments and logging while only small losses are associated with high-severity fire. An analysis of factors affecting climate change should include the loss of vegetation and stored carbon by logging, burning, mastication and livestock consumption.
  • Y2U opposes the removal of any old growth forests of any species. Any forest thinning of the overstory increases the summer heat levels in the stand and negatively impacts many species such as the great gray owls, boreal owls and moose. There are also at least a dozen forest birds that require undisturbed forest habitat for breeding. Thinning greatly reduces the amount of pine seeds from conifers that drive the entire forest bird ecosystem. Thinning has been shown to reduce larger snag habitat by over 50%; snag habitat is essential for at least 25% of the forest bird community. Then for predators, from the wolverine to the northern goshawk, the Canada lynx to the pine marten, thinning of the forest eliminates snowshoe hare and red squirrel habitat, their primary prey species. Forest thinning causes severe habitat loss for approximately 95% of forest wildlife. These impacts are most severe when both the overstory and understory are thinned. Co
  • Reduction of road density on all BLM, National Forest and state lands by closing and reclaiming illegal or user-created routes, decommissioning and reclaiming of all roads within Inventoried Roadless Areas, and temporary roads on National Forest, BLM and State lands. Failure to enforce such closures by these agencies results in a substantial increase in road densities that are not accounted for when analyzing cumulative effects areas, large ungulate security areas and habitat capability for special status species during environmental assessment and impact analysis for future, agency approved projects. High road densities negatively impact all wildlife species and should be reduced to scientifically based densities for the most sensitive species within each watershed.
  • Agency required mining reclamation covers should include pre-mining vegetation communities and wildlife habitat, not non-native livestock forage. Their effectiveness in containing and preventing migration of contaminants such as selenium should be demonstrated in field trials prior to implementation.
  • Agency analysis of past reclamation efforts to determine current management protocol, habitat structure and ecosystem function. This would also apply to all activities such as mining, timber and vegetation management projects, pipelines and so forth. This is needed to refine future designs and inform current management, so that future reclamation is sustainable and ecologically beneficial.
  • Advocate for responsible recreation in the Corridor defined as having no impact on wildlife, habitat, soils and streams. User-created routes from OHVs and mountain bikes add to road densities, habitat fragmentation, and soil erosion. Agencies such as the Forest Service and BLM must take a “hard look” at all recreation impacts when analyzing cumulative effects areas, large ungulate security areas and habitat capability for special status species during environmental assessment and impact analysis for future, agency approved projects.
  • Get Congress to pass NREPA, The Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act, S. 827 and H.R. 1321. NREPA is the most comprehensive solution for protecting our nation’s wild places for future generations. NREPA will protect iconic, threatened and endangered species, biodiversity, water supplies, and combats climate change. NREPA will protect the invaluable ecosystems of the Rocky Mountains bioregion by creating biological corridors that connect existing wilderness and roadless areas. This bioregion is currently threatened by continued fragmentation and destruction.