Could more crossings help West Coast wildlife?

Highway 97 runs from California to the Canadian border along the spine of the Cascades. It crosses elk (Cervus canadensis), mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) and pronghorn (Antilocapra Americana) ranges, resulting in hundreds of animal deaths each year and costing states millions of dollars. But wildlife crossings and fencing along the route in California, Oregon and Washington have been effective, according to The Pew Charitable Trusts.

“Throughout the three states, this work is reducing wildlife-vehicle collisions, improving driver safety and saving animals’ lives,” the organization found. “This could serve as a model for other state and local governments and advocacy groups seeking to address a long-standing problem across the rural American West.”

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Header Image: Highway 94 can be deadly for mule deer, elk, pronghorn and other wildlife that cross the highway along its route from California to the Canadian border. Credit: David Wood