Congress approves $350 million for wildlife crossings | The Optimist Daily
Today’s Solutions: July 18, 2024

Funding was finally secured in January for the construction of a wildlife crossing over the 101-freeway in Southern California, which cuts through the Santa Monica Mountains and the habitats of many native animals. The Optimist Daily has been closely following stories of wildlife crossings like these, and we are excited to announce that Congress has approved $350 million for the Wildlife Crossing Pilot Program

This will be enormously beneficial to the safety of animals across the United States. The program provides grant funding for projects seeking to reduce the number of animal-vehicle collisions and improve wildlife habitat connectivity. Roads, highways, and especially freeways are a dangerous barrier for many animals trying to cross into different parts of their habitats. 

“Both plants and animals need movement to be resilient and survive,” said Beth Pratt, California regional executive director for the National Wildlife Federation, to NPR. “You’re going to see this ecological transformation.”

There are currently around 1,000 wildlife crossings throughout the United States, and they take many forms. Some are bridges crossing freeways and are covered in rocks or other natural materials to resemble an animal’s normal path. Others go under the roadways, like culverts and tunnels in Florida for otters and alligators to pass through. 

More need to be built, though, as some roadways are cutting off the habitats of endangered species like mountain lions. These big cats are getting hit by vehicles and also experience reduced reproductive opportunity, which has resulted in inbreeding for some. 

That may change soon! We soon will see new structures like the one over the 101-freeway commissioned and built. This could save the lives of an uncountable number of animals, improve the ecology of our country, and, hey, even save some motorists who aren’t paying attention to the road. 

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