Members of the Idaho chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers crafted and submitted a letter to the Idaho Department of Transportation (ITD). The letter was part of the official public comment period for the 2019 Idaho Transportation Investment Program (ITIP), which will guide transportation projects from 2020-2026. The purpose of the letter was to remind ITD that Idahoans value our wildlife and we view investments in wildlife crossings and fish friendly culverts as smart construction practices to ensure wildlife health and protect our hunting and fishing traditions.
You can view the letter below.
On behalf of the 2,300 members of the Idaho chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, I am writing to provide input regarding the Idaho Transportation Department 2019 Idaho Transportation Investment Program (ITIP). We sincerely appreciate the opportunity to comment on this important plan as it directly affects the wildlife that Idaho hunters so greatly value. For reference, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers is a non-profit conservation group with over 36,000 members in chapters covering 45 states, 2 Canadian provinces and 1 Canadian territory. The Idaho chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers has been steadily growing for the past 5+ years and our membership represents sportsmen and women from every reach of the state.
Our organization recognizes that ITD has worked in the past to mitigate conflict with wildlife on our roadways through many mechanisms including: award winning collaborative work with Idaho Fish and Game, the commissioning of studies on the impacts of transportation on wildlife, as well as education of ITD staff on wildlife migration crossings. We would like to see ITD continue to consider wildlife when it comes to implementing future plans.
Science has shown ways in which we can build and manage our roadways while mitigating the potential adverse effects on fish and wildlife. Solutions, such as wildlife overpasses, work to prevent Wildlife-vehicle collisions, keeping not only our wildlife safe, but the public as well. As such we would like to recommend the following:
-Consider wildlife overpasses/underpasses at popular wildlife crossing areas.
-Utilize science-based best practices for wildlife overpasses/underpasses in order to achieve maximum efficacy.
-Work closely with IDFG and the data they have available to identify key migratory routes and wildlife crossings.
-When possible, avoid building future roads in areas that would create a barrier to migration to winter range, and if building is unavoidable, include in the building plans mitigation tools such as overpasses/underpasses.
-When projects intersect with our waterways, please consider “fish friendly” practices that will help keep our rivers and streams clean, and our fish and other aquatic life healthy.
We would like to thank ITD for the work that they have already done to support wildlife near our roadways, and we hope that ITD will continue to take on the challenge of managing our state’s infrastructure with an eye toward both public safety and the health of our wildlife and wild places.
Board Members Andrew Anderson & Jeff Klausmann
Idaho Chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers
“The Voice For Our Wild Public Lands, Waters & Wildlife”