Wildlife Connectivity and Crossings
Populations of native wildlife, fish and plant species in the United States are on the decline. Habitat fragmentation could have lasting negative effects on wildlife populations, ecosystem functions, and recreation for millions of Americans. There are four main reasons for concern. Wildlife is losing the ability to move, migrate, and disperse across landscapes as built infrastructure and increased development intersect habitat or cut off migration routes. Wildlife-vehicle collisions are on the increase, putting people and wildlife at risk of injury and death, and costing billions each year.
Large scale loss of and/or fragmentation of habitat threatens species’ access to food, migration, genetic diversity, and overall resilience – all further impacted by changes in climate.
State agencies are dealing with growing responsibilities while experiencing decreased funding to address infrastructure needs and to manage and protect habitat.
Studies have shown that the best way to prevent biodiversity loss is to keep landscapes connected. Wildlife corridors and wildlife crossings are vital and cost-effective ways to maintain resilient ecosystems and to protect public health and safety on roads.
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Wildlife and Habitat CoordinatorContact
Wildlife-vehicle collisions cost over $8 billion annually. Wildlife crossings pay for themselves quickly in costs saved for emergency and medical assistance, property damage, and value of animals lost.
One in five native species in the United States are at risk of extinction and many species that are not protected by law are decreasing in numbers because of human encroachment; habitat connectivity is critical for species.
Over 100 million Americans spent $150 billion on wildlife-related recreation in 2016, and when managed well, recreation can assist with wildlife conservation."
NCEL has been the place where I have learned the most about wildlife, conservation, and even energy throughout my entire 26 years in the legislature. Most of my really great ideas have been hatched by talking to NCEL staff, by meeting with other legislators all over the nation, by hearing about some of the great successes and the failures that everyone has had with their work on the environment. NCEL has absolutely been front and center in my legislative life with the successes that I’ve had.
Mimi Stewart, State Senator, New Mexico
The information sharing and expertise that NCEL provides about proposals and actions taken by other states has been invaluable. Not only has NCEL been helpful in connecting like-minded legislators, the identification of multiple strategies and example programs gave me a tool kit to choose from in crafting our approach in Oregon. If NCEL were not here to make those connections, I’m not sure we could have done that on our own.
Ken Helm, State Representative, Oregon
I learned about wildlife corridors at the 2018 NCEL Forum and was interested in the concept for Virginia. NCEL provided useful information on other states’ bills and options for action.
Dave Marsden, Senator, Virginia