Update: Colorado Wildlife and Transportation

Wildlife

From 2005-2014, the total average cost of wildlife-vehicle collisions to Colorado citizens (not including the value of the wildlife killed and impacts to wildlife populations) was $57.3 million/year. In addition, there are an average of 3.3 human deaths as a result of wildlife-vehicle collisions per year and many more wildlife deaths. The Colorado Wildlife and Transportation Steering Committee is working hard to decrease these numbers.

In November of 2017, CDR posted this article about a new initiative addressing highway permeability in Colorado’s wildlife migration corridors. Since then, CDR has begun coordinating efforts between CDOT, CPW, FHWA, USFS, Mule Deer Foundation, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, and the Southern Ute Indian Tribe focused on Colorado’s wildlife and transportation integration. A Steering Committee has been formed to “provide safe passage for people and wildlife in Colorado,” and leaders from both the west and east slope are participating in the conversation. To achieve their goal, the group will identify ways to incorporate wildlife crossings into highway planning as well as look at habitat restoration along migration routes.

Currently, the initiative is in its formative stages and is working on both West and East Slope Wildlife Prioritization Studies. These studies, led by CDR partner JACOBS, will help the Steering Committee identify both highways and roads as well as species to prioritize when incorporating wildlife movement and habitats into highway planning. Once this data is collected, CDR and JACOBS will work together with the Committee to determine pathways for effectively sharing data across agencies and with the public. In addition to developing Committee buy-in for the initiative, CDR will be developing a broad engagement and education strategy across the state.

CDR is spearheading Steering Committee coordination and is committed to keeping the momentum from the successful 2017 Wildlife and Transportation Summit going. CDR has facilitated two Steering Committee meetings in 2018, establishing the group’s mission, vision, and goals through July 2019. Additional meetings are planned as the group begins to work on forming education opportunities, partnerships, and procedures.

We will continue to update you on education opportunities in your area and post group updates as they arise.

For more information contact Taber Ward. (tward@mediate.org)