New Washington State Wildlife Corridor is Already Saving Lives

Construction isn’t even finished yet on a wildlife corridor that crosses over busy Interstate 90 in Washington state, but animals are already taking advantage of this safe way to roam.

“Despite all of the major, heavy machinery that is being used on top of this crossing, we are seeing wildlife starting to use it as if nothing was happening,” Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) spokeswoman Meagan Lott said in September.

The bridge in the Snoqualmie Pass near the Cascade Range will officially open later this year.

Last month, a camera recorded a coyote using the overpass, “avoiding traffic, anvils, ACME rockets & roadrunners,” as the WSDOT amusingly noted on Twitter.

WSDOT has already completed the construction of four I-90 wildlife underpasses. A total of 20 overpasses, underpasses and culverts will eventually be available for wildlife to use, thanks to a partnership between WSDOT, the wildlands and native wildlife nonprofit Conservation Northwest and the U.S. Forest Service.

As Care2 writer Susan Bird noted when construction of this first bridge began in June 2015, researchers carefully studied the migration patterns of species living along the I-90 corridor before determining the best places to put the crossings.

Providing wildlife with a safe way to travel allows them to find food, mates and new territory. The I-90 cuts across the North and South Cascades, which currently gives animals a “really limited bottleneck” in which to move from their habitats, Jen Watkins, coordinator for Conservation Northwest’s I-90 Wildlife Bridges Coalition, told the Spokesman-Review.

Wildlife corridors also make travel safer for drivers. There are 750,000 to one million wildlife-vehicle collisions in the United States every year, according to Defenders of Wildlife, which result in more than 200 human fatalities annually.

In addition to Washington, wildlife corridors have been built in the U.S. in Colorado, Florida and Utah. The I-90 corridor was initially modeled on one crossing the Trans-Canada Highway in Banff National Park, the Spokesman-Review reports. About 152,000 animals have safely crossed that corridor since its completion in 1998.

Down in Southern California, wildlife in the Los Angeles area faces the same problem as the animals in the Cascades. Mountain lions and other animals living in the Santa Monica Mountains must cross busy freeways to leave their habitat. Because they’re so isolated, these lions could become extinct within 50 years, according to the grim conclusion of a 2016 study.

Take Action

Fortunately, a wildlife crossing is in the works across the busy 101 freeway in Agoura Hills. It is expected to be completed by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) by 2022. Join over 125,000 people who have signed and shared a Care2 petition urging Caltrans to begin construction immediately. After all, the sooner this corridor is built, as in Washington state, the sooner the lives of many animals will be spared.

If you want to make a difference on an issue you find deeply troubling, you too can create a Care2 petition, and use this handy guide to get started. You’ll find Care2’s vibrant community of activists ready to step up and help you.

 

Photo credit: Washington State Department of Transportation

136 comments

Gino C
Past Member 22 days ago

Thank you for this

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Richard E Cooley
Richard E Cooley22 days ago

Thank you.

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Carol Johnson
Carol Johnson23 days ago

Thanks for sharing

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Jeramie D
Jeramie D26 days ago

This is fabulous. Wish we had them in Idaho

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Michael Friedmann

Thank You for Sharing This !!!

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Leo C
Leo C27 days ago

Thank you for posting!

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Irene S
Irene S27 days ago

That is good, but I would worry about the maintenance costs. That is why we don´t have too much tunnels for toads here. It is cheaper to let them pick up by volunteers and introduce them to a new and safe habitat.

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sue higgins
sue h27 days ago

excellent idea and we need more of them because its not only a safer way to cross busy fast moving roads for wildlife, but it must also save accidents and peoples lives too !

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janis keller
janis keller27 days ago

Im glad to hear that the animals are safe! I get tired of seeing animals that are run over in my area.

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Dr. Jan Hill
Dr. Jan Hill28 days ago

thanks

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