Commentary

Colorado wildlife crossings dramatically reduce collisions

Other states should follow example of habitat connectivity

October 21, 2021 4:30 am

A mule deer buck in velvet is seen at Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge near Denver. (Ryan Moehring/USFWS/CC BY 2.0)

Colorado’s recent announcement that it is committing to wildlife corridors is a shining example for the rest of the country.

Currently, only nine U.S. states have policies aimed at habitat connectivity. That needs to change if we want to ensure the health of America’s animals.

In September, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service announced that 22 species have gone extinct. If we want to buck that trend, federal funding for wildlife corridor projects must be secured. 

Wildlife corridors are effective. In 2016, the Colorado Department of Transportation and other local authorities constructed a series of overpasses and underpasses between Kremmling and Silverthorne on Colo. 9.

In the first stage of construction, collisions between animals and vehicles were reduced by 90%. Mule deer used the overpass system at a 96% rate. The efficacy of these projects in our state is unimpeachable.

Colorado is synonymous with moose, deer, bear, pronghorns, elk and many other iconic species. It’s encouraging to see our state isn’t ignoring the health and migration of our state’s animals.

To act otherwise would be a detriment to every Coloradan.

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Mitchell Ukropina
Mitchell Ukropina

Mitchell Ukropina grew up hiking in the Crested Butte area where he first saw Colorado's wildlife. He currently lives in Denver and is working on environmental issues related to public lands and forests.

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