If you are an animal lover, you will be interested in knowing about what has been happening in several states around the country with wildlife conservation? Not only is it saving wildlife but it is reducing car accidents and saving people too!

Wildlife Crossings

“Underpasses and overpasses and crossing structures are dotted all over the West, particularly where there’s a migration pattern of antelope or deer or elk,” Kehne said. “So it’s not a new technology, but it’s very effective. These types of wildlife undercrossings have proven to work well in places such as Banff, CanadaPinedale, Wyoming; and Bend, Oregon. Conservationists say it’s important to get these fixes in places now — before suburban sprawl reaches into wilder areas and makes it even harder for wildlife to get around,” explains MyModernMet.

Here is an update by some of the states that are moving forward with constructing underpasses, overpasses and crossing structures.

Oregon

“Oregon has also seen a substantial reduction in wildlife collisions near Bend, after two underpasses were built to help connect important mule deer habitat. The highway cuts off summer ranges in the Cascades from winter ranges in the desert.

“There isn’t really the option to try to keep the deer on one side of the highway or the other. They have this biological imperative that drives them from one side of the highway to the other, twice a year,” said ODFW’s Simon Wray in a video produced by the state.

After the underpasses were completed, collisions were reduced by up to 90 percent on that section U.S. Highway 97. Trail cameras have shown lots of deer using the fenced-in route — they’ve also captured a bear, coyotes, elk and small animals like badgers.

The Oregon Department of Transportation has plans in the works for two more wildlife underpasses along the highway. Construction on one is scheduled to start next year,” reports OPB News.

Utah

KSL.com announced that “the state’s newest overpass created solely for wildlife to cross officially opened in December 2018. A moose was even spotted for the official ribbon cutting. The overpass was designed to help animals cross safely and reduce the number of traffic accidents in Parleys Canyon. Complete with boulders and logs, the snow-covered path stretches across six lanes of Interstate 80. While saving the lives of animals is a bonus, the overpass was built to increase the safety of drivers along the freeway.

Big game often cross the roads between Mountain Dell and Jeremy Ranch. In the past two years, drivers have reported more than 100 wildlife-vehicle crashes in the area, and it’s estimated the number of unreported collisions is four times as many. Construction for the $5 million state-funded project has been going on since spring.

“From the Division of Wildlife Resources standpoint, the No. 1 benefit is public safety,” said Scott Root, DWR’s conservation outreach manager.

Root said considering how many collisions with wildlife the overpass can prevent, it would pay for itself down the road in 10, 20 years, we’re hoping.”

Washington

“We’re standing in the middle of the Cascades, where there’s a bottleneck of habitat. We’re standing on top of six lanes of freeway that carry 28,000 vehicles a day. Wildlife have got to cross this freeway,” Watkins said, looking out over the cars zooming by below.

The crossing is taller than your average bridge. Once it’s completed, it will have 8-foot fences that will funnel wildlife to where they should cross. The bridge will be covered in rocks and native plants. That way wildlife won’t even realize they’ve left the safety of the forest.

Even without all that camouflage, workers saw deer using the bridge almost immediately — while construction crews were still pushing equipment around. As wildlife undercrossings were completed as a first part of the project in 2014, more than 13,000 deer and hundreds of coyotes have safely reached the other side of the road, said Meagan Lott, with the Washington Department of Transportation. She said culverts in the undercrossings have helped salmon and bull trout reach stretches of river cut off to them for decades.

Watkins expects the new bridge will eventually be used by more than 60,000 species. “From frogs and salamanders, who are going to take quite a while to cross, to mountain lions and bears and wolverines. We’re rebuilding a forest over the interstate,” Watkins said.

Conservationists say it’s important to get these fixes in places now — before suburban sprawl reaches into wilder areas and makes it even harder for wildlife to get around. It could also help with wolf recovery. To meet recovery goals, wolves need a way to get across the Cascades. Chase Gunnell, with Conservation Northwest, said this bridge could help.

“Wildlife can’t persist in large numbers and in perpetuity in islands of habitat. It’s really knitting together smaller habits, reconnecting landscapes, to allow animals to move in and utilize smaller areas of habitat,” reports OPB News. Animal Care Center in Smyrna, GA, is owned and operated by Otto H. Williams, DVM. The veterinary practice specializes in complete healthcare for cats and dogs and offers services including preventative, surgical and nonsurgical care, internal medicine, grooming and boarding to Cobb County and surrounding cities such as Vinings, Marietta, Mableton and Sandy Springs. Call today at 770.438.2694 or request an appointment