photo credit: Alex Krebs
Colorado (March 8th) - Colorado Backcountry Hunters & Anglers is celebrating the introduction of Senate Bill (SB) 151 – Safe Crossings for Colorado Wildlife and Motorists. If passed, this bill would create a $25 million fund for wildlife crossing projects that will reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions and strengthen landscape connectivity necessary to sustain healthy wildlife populations. Moreover, this bill would provide the state with matching funds needed to leverage $350 million in available federal grants for migratory corridors recently established under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Finally, this bill would assist private land conservation efforts to ensure landscapes adjacent to wildlife crossing projects remain intact and functional as wildlife habitat and corridors.
“Thank you to our legislators for making wildlife crossings/migration corridors a priority. A huge part of what makes Colorado so great is the abundant wildlife we share this beautiful state with. As a hunter and conservationist, I am grateful for the efforts being made to protect that wildlife, especially as our human population continues to increase. I want our kids, grandkids and all future generations to have access to the same experiences I have had, and protecting wildlife and wilderness is key to that.” - Eric Lomas, BHA Colorado Chapter Habitat Watch Volunteer
Our hunting heritage depends on healthy populations of wild game. Habitat connectivity is fundamental to supporting these populations, and it is incumbent upon us as hunters to be outspoken advocates for protecting it. SB-151 provides critical funding to address habitat fragmentation, making it safer for wildlife and motorists to travel through our state.
“As a hunter, outfitter and parent who drives his kids to school on a rural highway, the idea that the state is considering allocating serious funding and attention towards wildlife crossings is fantastic. The numbers of deer and elk that get killed or injured by vehicles, and in turn cause injury to people along the roads we commute on daily, is significant. This bill would be a huge win for Colorado’s big game and rural communities alike.” - Adam Gall, BHA Colorado Chapter Leader
SB-151 is critical to advancing Colorado Department of Transportation and Colorado Wildlife and Transportation Alliance wildlife crossing projects across the state. These projects are identified through data collected from reported collisions, carcass counts, and modeling to determine hot spots where wildlife-vehicle collisions are most prevalent. When implemented, wildlife crossing projects have proven incredibly effective at reducing wildlife-vehicle collisions – reducing wildlife-vehicle collisions on Highway 9 near Kremmling by 92%. It is estimated that more than 14,000 wildlife-vehicle collisions take place every year in Colorado, resulting in more than an annual $80 million in medical bills and property damage and an estimated $24 million loss in wildlife resources.
“My attention as a hunter and conservationist is continually pulled to wildlife habitat. Migration and wintering behavior of most ungulates follows a trajectory that puts them in the direct path of roadways across Colorado. Without established travel corridors in these areas, we will continue to see alarming numbers of wildlife-vehicle collisions. I am thrilled by the news that our legislators plan to advance policy and provide support needed for wildlife and humans to coexist in a changing landscape.” - Kassi Smith, Colorado Chapter Board Member
Colorado Backcountry Hunters & Anglers would like to thank the SB-151 bill sponsors, Sen. Jessie Danielson, Sen. Tammy Story, and Rep. Dylan Roberts, for introducing this bill. We will be keeping you apprised as it moves through the legislative session, and we encourage you to contact your legislators to ask for their support. You can find your legislator’s contact info below along with a convenient form to ensure your voice is heard.
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