The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) and leading conservation partners across the nation have been working together to encourage leadership of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee (T&I) to include funding authorization and policy direction for wildlife crossings, habitat connectivity and fish passage in infrastructure legislation being drafted by the Committee.
Wildlife crossings provide safe passage over or under highways, while simultaneously benefiting public safety and maintaining the integrity of fish and wildlife habitat. Thousands of animals, including many sensitive species, are killed each year in wildlife-vehicle collisions. Highways often prevent wildlife from safely moving throughout the entirety of their range, reducing habitat connectivity and disconnecting populations. This is especially critical for migrating animals like mule deer, elk and pronghorn.
In addition, wildlife-vehicle collisions represent a serious threat to public safety and have a negative impact on both motorists and the economy. Nearly 200 Americans died from wildlife-vehicle collisions in 2018, reflecting a general upward trend since 1975. Additionally, the costs associated with wildlife-vehicle collisions is upwards of $8 billion annually. Studies have shown up to an 80% reduction in wildlife-vehicle collisions associated with wildlife crossings. Such reductions are mutually beneficial for wildlife, motorists and those that participate in wildlife-dependent recreation.
To address these issues, CSF alongside the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (AFWA), National Wildlife Federation (NWF), Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Safari Club International and Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership (TRCP) led the effort to submit a letter on behalf of the American Wildlife Conservation Partners (AWCP) requesting the House legislation match the provisions included in S. 2302, America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act, which passed unanimously out of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works last year.
To support AWCP’s efforts, CSF, NWF and TRCP gathered in-state partner support for wildlife crossings funding across 11 western states. In addition, 80 fish and wildlife conservation groups signed-on to letters that were submitted to House Delegation members in the following states:
California (T&I Committee members only)
Through this effort, CSF and partner conservation organizations are committed to working with Congress (including members of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus) to highlight the need to provide state transportation agencies and others with adequate funding for the construction of wildlife crossings. Wildlife crossings are critical to maintaining the ecological integrity of wildlife habitat, decreasing the economic impact of wildlife-vehicle collisions, and improving the overall safety of wildlife and humans alike along our highways.
Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?