This week, Safari Club International (SCI) outlined strong support for wildlife corridors by joining 36 other organizations in a letter to Chairman Tom Carper (DE-D) and Ranking Member Shelley Moore Capito (WV-R) of the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee. These organizations, which represent millions of hunters and anglers, outdoors men and women, and natural resource professionals, previously supported the inclusion of corridor provisions in America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act (ATIA) of 2019, which passed the Committee unanimously. This week’s letter is once again advocating for inclusion of these bipartisan measures in Section 1125 of the ATIA.
Investment in wildlife crossing and habitat connectivity is vital both to ecosystems and communities surrounded by wildlife. Corridors minimize vehicle-wildlife collisions on roadways – often deadly situations for both humans and animals with over one million accidents annually. While integral to safety enhancements, corridor initiatives go beyond reducing fatalities and associated costs; wildlife corridors significantly decrease habitat fragmentation, increase wildlife well-being, create jobs, and improve access and quality for hunters and anglers.
Specifically, the bill was structured to enable direct management by state, tribal, and local authorities. Existing funding sources, including the Surface Transportation Block Grant Program, Nationally Significant Freight and Highway Projects, and the Bridge Investment Program would be able to subsidize wildlife infrastructure development. While focusing on high priority programs, the bill also requires a study on habitat connectivity for conflict reduction and updates highway collision and carcass data collection methods. Overall, the bill commendably addressed the crucial factors of safety, fish and wildlife, and transportation in infrastructure development.
Wildlife corridors have the potential to mitigate human wildlife conflict, create more sustainable landscapes and waterways, and provide optimal access for sportsmen and women. Commonsense infrastructure strategy benefits conservationists, ecosystems and wildlife, and the general public. We look forward to continued bipartisan support of these provisions and strongly urge Congress to develop infrastructure goals symbiotic with wildlife, habitat, and conservation efforts. These wildlife crossing initiatives are pivotal steps toward a thriving coexistence between Americans and wildlife.