By Roger Goldman Published April 14, 2023 at 12:58 PM MDT https://www.kpcw.org/show/local-news-hour/2023-04-14/save-people-save-wildlife-works-to-reduce-wildlife-traffic-incidents
Carcass of a large animal seen along S.R. 224 entryway with sign nearby supporting wildlife crossings...
SPSW started as a small community effort to protect people and wildlife by raising funds to provide wildlife fencing on I-80. Now, we are growing into a statewide movement to make our roads safe.
We are currently working to raise funds to close the wildlife fencing gaps on I-80 and SR 224 remains the 5th largest hotspot for wildlife vehicle collisions in Utah.
We need the help of local communities to engage legislative partners and state agencies to ensure wildlife mitigation measures are included in city, county and state transportation plans.
The majority of our donations go to providing wildlife mitigaiton measures on Utah's most dangerous roadways. Donate today to protect our native wildlife.
Why Wildlife Crossings?
Did you know that approximately 1,000,000 vertebrates are struck and killed by motor vehicles in the U.S. every day? Every year, an estimated 200 people will die, 26,000 will be injured and $8 billion in property damage will be incurred due to these accidents.
However, studies have shown that wildlife crossings are a cost- effective and science based approach to eliminating these deadly, costly, and most importantly, unnecessary collisions.
WHAT WE DO
Protecting Our Wildlife:
If wildlife cannot move between habitats freely to find food, water, and mates, they will perish. Utah’s roads, highways and freeways serve as a treacherous man -made barrier to our wildlife. It is estimated that 6,000-10,000 deer die on Utah roads annually. This number does not account for other native wildlife that are regularly struck and killed by motor vehicles such as elk, moose, pronghorn and desert tortoise. By building wildlife crossings with corresponding fencing, we are not only preventing wildlife vehicle collisions, but allowing Utah’s wildlife to move safely across the landscape in search of the critical resources necessary for their survival.
Protecting Our Motorists:
Between 2008- 2017 there was an average of 3,110 crashes reported in Utah with 2,756, or 88.6%, of those crashes resulting from collisions with wildlife. These wildlife-vehicle collisions result in death, injury, and approximately $138 million annually in costs to our motorists. Wildlife crossings, along with corresponding fencing, cattle guards, and wildlife escape ramps, have been demonstrated to reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions by up to 90% where they have been placed.
Protecting Our Economy:
Utah is home to some of the most breath-taking landscapes and charismatic wildlife in the entire United States- and the world knows it too. Utah’s outdoor recreation industry is responsible for contributing approximately $12.3 billion annually to our economy, while providing over 110,000 jobs to Utahs that supply $3.9 billion in wages and salaries. It is no secret that the health of our wildlife and our landscapes are crucial to our economy. By investing in wildlife crossings and corresponding fencing, we are reconnecting landscapes that will allow Utah’s native wildlife and biodiversity to thrive, preserving them for generations to come.
Protecting Our Workers:
It is no secret Utah was hit hard by the pandemic. Our city, state, and local governments need to focus their policy efforts into-rebooting our economy. Investment in Wildlife crossings and other wildlife mitigation measures will help create well-paying jobs for hundreds of hard-working Utahns through the creation of infrastructure projects. We believe that if our state is going to spend taxpayer dollars, those dollars should go to projects that will not only save Utahns money, but also provide them with well-paying jobs so they can support their families and recover from the effects of the pandemic.
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