Fact Sheet

Wildlife Corridors & Crossings

Region

National

NCEL Point of Contact

Ruth Musgrave
Conservation Senior Advisor

Contact

Overview

Wildlife corridors and crossings are a vital and cost effective way to maintain resilient landscapes for fish and wildlife, to protect watersheds, and to provide outdoor recreation opportunities. Crossings can be in the form of highway and road overpasses, underpasses, or culverts, which provide safe crossing for animals and recreation. Corridors are large areas of undeveloped habitat that connect isolated habitat and allow for ecosystem and genetic connectivity for plants and animals. States have recognized the importance of connectivity in both the 2008 Western Governors Association corridors initiative and 2010 report, and the 2016 Conference of New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers’ resolution recognizing the importance of ecological connectivity. A number of state legislatures and agencies have also championed wildlife corridors and/or crossings.

Key Points

Key Point 1

Wildlife corridors can provide critical habitat, watershed health, clean air and water, and enhanced property values and outdoor recreation for nearby communities. (USDA)

Key Point 2

Many plant and animal species are relocating due to changes in temperature, water cycles and seasons, yet habitat loss is accelerating across the U.S., creating bottlenecks for animals and wildlife-vehicle collisions with human injury or death. (US EPA)

Key Point 3

Wildlife-vehicle collisions (WVCs) cost over $8 billion per year, thus wildlife crossings generally pay for themselves quickly in costs saved for emergency and medical assistance, property damage and value of animals lost. (US Department of Transportation)

Legislation

  • Virginia: SB 1274 (2021), DOT and Department of Conservation and Recreation will coordinate to identify potential areas for wildlife corridors based on wildlife vehicle collision data. 
  • Oregon: HB 2548 (2021), proposes a study to research issues of funding for wildlife corridor road crossings to supplement OR’s Wildlife Corridor Action Plan. 
  • Arizona: SM 1001 (2021) & New Mexico: SM 10 (2021), memorials asking Congress to support recommendations for restoring the borderlands. 
  • Wyoming: HB 66 (2021), Provides for funding of large wildlife crossing/corridor projects.

Resources

NCEL Resources

Online Resources

Large Landscape Conservation: A Strategic Framework for Policy and Action

Go to resource
Wildlife-Vehicle Collision Reduction Study - US DOT

The Federal Highway Administration's report on costs of WVCs.

Go to resource
New Hampshire Wildlife Corridors Report

New Hampshire's 2018 report on existing and needed wildlife corridors.

Go to resource
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