Each year in Nevada herds of bighorn sheep, mule deer, pronghorn antelope, and elk migrate between their summer and winter ranges. This movement is critical to their survival as it allows wildlife to find food and suitable habitat.
Unfortunately, in order to get where they need to go, these herds have to cross our state's busy highways. The result is a dangerous mix for both wildlife and people driving. Every year, there are approximately 500 wildlife-vehicle collisions on Nevada’s highways/ These collisions pose a serious risking to the lives of our citizens, cost taxpayers nearly $20 million annually, kill a large number of animals and interfere with key migration corridors.
Fortunately, we know what to do to protect wildlife and our families and make it safer for wildlife to cross the road.
Wildlife crossings include bridges, enlarged/retrofitted culverts, and tunnels designed to help wildlife safely cross the road. Combined with fencing along roads to funnel animals to the crossings, wildlife crossings have proven to be the most effective measure to reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions across America and right here in Nevada.
Existing wildlife crossing projects in Elko County have been so successful at reducing wildlife-vehicle collisions that in August 2019 Nevada’s Departments of Wildlife and Transportation received the Federal Highway Administration’s Environmental Excellence Award for their partnership in building these structures. Accordingly, nearly 85 percent of Nevadans support additional public investments in wildlife crossings to make our roads safer for wildlife and our families.
Right now, our lawmakers are developing a package of investments to improve America’s transportation infrastructure, and we encourage them to include funds for researching and implementing ways to improve wildlife crossings.