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Wyoming Wildlife Crossing Funding Uncertain

When we think of wildlife crossings over or under highways most folks think in terms of saving animals from running a gauntlet of passenger cars, SUV’s, pickups and semi-trucks. However, there is more to the picture. Vehicular collisions with wildlife results in costly property damage, obvious death or severe maiming of wildlife but can cause severe injury or even fatalities to the humans involved as well.

It is with all this in mind that Wyoming and other states have constructed safe passageways for wildlife in key migration and travel corridors throughout the West. In Wyoming alone collisions between animals and vehicles in areas where these crossings now exist have been greatly reduced, by as much as 90% in some locations. While that is a huge win for both Wyoming’s wildlife it’s also a victory for Wyoming motorists. However, funding for construction and maintenance of these crossings is a challenge.

Federal grants that provide funding for these projects often come with the stipulation that states provide some percentage of the project funding. Most often, at least for Wyoming, this percentage must be drawn from the WYDOT general fund and so lawmakers are looking to create alternate means of funding the Federally mandated percentages. There are some interesting proposals on the table from voluntary conservation stamps through fishing and hunting license sales to storage of spent fuel rods from nuclear reactors, as the Federal government pays billions to store these away from large population centers.

As it stands a separate fund has not been realized and with more crossings needed and current crossings in need of maintenance, Wyoming is doing its level best to be creative and find a solution to the current funding woes. Here’s to hoping we can drum up the money because the future of our wildlife is greatly enhanced by these strategic crossings.

About Todd Helms

Todd Helms

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5 comments

  1. I sure as heck hope that the funding isn’t forcibly extracted solely from the hunting community! As you said, the most important benefit of these crossings is the prevention of loss of human life from collisions with vehicles. The humans in those vehicles are both hunters and non-hunters – likely more non-hunters than hunters. It would seem to me that the funding should either be completely voluntary or come from all people, not just hunters, if it’s involuntarily collected…

  2. Robert W Hartley

    It seems to me that Insurance companies are in a position to benefit from these crossing as much as wildlife. Maybe someone could explore getting them to contribute. Sounds like a win win for all involved!

  3. We have the Wyoming Wildlife plate that was available January 1st 2019. All the proceeds from this plate go into this fund. I encourage everyone to purchase these plates for all your vehicles. If you have any questions contact your local Muley Fanatics Foundation member Keith Norleen 307-578-6393

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