March 6, 2023
Dear Chairman Watts, Vice Chair Brown-May, Growth & Infrastructure Committee members,
To ensure Nevada continues its leadership in protecting and maintaining wildlife migration corridors, the Nevada Chapter of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers (BHA) respectfully requests that the committee pass AB 112 to create the Wildlife Crossing account and fully fund the recommended $15 million dollars for research and infrastructure.
Each year NDOT reports more than 500 wildlife-vehicle collisions, killing over 5,000 animals, costing the state close to $20 million. Collisions with wildlife, including but not limited to mule deer, antelope, elk and bighorn sheep, are drastically underreported and transportation officials believe the number is significantly higher. The high cost includes infrastructure damage, human injuries, loss of both human and animal life, emergency response, traffic control, travel delays, and other costs. AB 112 provides necessary funding to invest in solutions and reduce the loss of life as well as the monetary cost to taxpayers.
There are currently 20 crossings in place across Nevada. Multiple crossings were completed along I-80 at Pequop Pass and have been highly successful in reducing vehicle collisions and loss of life.
A personal example of a much-needed crossing is located in Washoe County between Red Rock and Stead on US 395. A BHA member observed no less than three mule deer hit crossing the road in that corridor in one morning. Not only does it disrupt traffic, but it further damages an already declining mule deer population due to predation and disruption of migration corridors. The funding and the commitment of AB 112 would help ensure the safety of those on the road and protect the local mule deer.
California, Colorado, New Mexico, Oregon, and Utah have all made significant investments in wildlife crossing moving forward. It’s time for Nevada to join, continuing its strong leadership and ensuring we are competitive when applying for federal funding made available in the Infrastructure and Jobs Act signed in 2021. Being awarded a grant could turn $15 million into upwards of $60 million to enhance our commitment to wildlife.
We thank you for this opportunity to submit comments and support for AB 112. We ask it be passed by the committee and fully funded.
Molly Beaupre, Co-Chair, Policy Committee
Bryce Pollack, Co-Chair, Policy Committee