06.07.2012 - Uncategorized

Going beyond bumper stickers: How do we reduce wildlife fatalities on our roads?

 

In 2011, citizens recorded a total of 81 animals killed in wildlife-vehicle collisions in Teton County.

In the 2010 grant cycle 1% members funded a study by the Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance on Wildlife Friendly Highway Alternatives. This issue got a lot of attention this Winter as 6 Moose were struck and killed on the village road, but beyond the full page ads and bumper stickers, what can we do as a community to help save one of our most precious assets?

According to Andrea L. Deaton of the Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance, the improvements put in place immediately such as the lower speed limit, electronic signs asking motorists to slow, and removing willows (moose food) from the roadside will have some impact. For significant improvement to be made, however, the report funded partially by 1% members says that we need to provide safe crossings for wildlife.

Safe crossings provide a place for the wildlife to pass either under or over the roadside and according to the report funded partially by 1% members, crossings should be built:

Where the highway segments cut across important wildlife habitat and corridors, based on existing maps and local knowledge;

Where concentrations of wildlife-vehicle collisions occur, based on carcass removal data during the last 10 years;

Where concentrations of wildlife occur, based on observations by the public and the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.

The barrier to implementing these crossings right now, of course, is money. These crossings are expensive and take time to plan. Deaton says, “the Alliance will continue to be at the forefront of encouraging WY-DOT and the elected officials to place the crossings as a priority in their funding considerations.” If 1% members are interested in learning more and seeing the ideas you helped fund put into action, you should first check out the report summary starting on page in the latest newsletter put together by the conservation alliance. You can find the cleverly titled report, “Why did the Elk herd cross the road? Because it was in the way” here: http://www.jhalliance.org/Library/AllianceNews/JHCAmag.Spring12.pdf

And if you really want to did in, the full version- all 200+ pages- of it can be found here: http://www.jhalliance.org/Library/Reports/WTIwildlifecrossingstudy.12-14-11.pdf

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