Y2Y is working to increasing safety for people and wildlife on Idaho’s highways and roadways.
What is the threat?
Highways are a major barrier to the wide-ranging movements that connect animals with diverse habitats and mates, and there are two particularly important hot spots for wildlife-vehicle collisions in the state:
U.S. Route 20 cuts through the northwest corner of Yellowstone National Park and runs north-south along its western border, into eastern Idaho. Residents, tourists and commercial traffic make the roads around Yellowstone very busy. This transportation route is also an important wildlife corridor. Animals must often cross US-20 to migrate in and out of the park and move across the region.
There have been many documented deaths of animals such as grizzlies, elk, bison, moose and wolves due to collisions with vehicles on US-20.
Elsewhere in Idaho, Highway 21 historically sees large numbers of migratory deer and elk — in the past on the 11-mile (18-kilometer) stretch of Highway 21 near Boise as many as 200 deer are hit and killed by vehicles each winter. In 2018, an overpass and fencing project 10 years in the making opened and has already seen use by wildlife.
What is the opportunity?
Idaho Fish and Game is working to study wildlife-vehicle collisions on US-20 from Ashton, Idaho to the Montana state line, to find out where hot spots are.
In other parts of the state, Idaho Transportation Department is also working on future road improvements and widening. Now is the perfect time for Idaho to make mitigation for wildlife a priority in the project’s initial planning, budgeting and engineering process. Elsewhere in North America highway underpasses, overpasses and fencing have reduced wildlife-vehicle collisions by 80 to 90 per cent.
What are we doing?
It’s important to Y2Y to protect both the people we love and Idaho’s wildlife, an integral piece of the state’s economy and cultural identity.
“This is an opportunity to make Idaho’s roads safer not only for drivers but wildlife, too, all while preserving our state’s economic and cultural heritage. Let’s make our roads safer, together.”— Kim Trotter, U.S. Program Director
We are working with local partners to identify:
- known crossing points for moose and migrating elk
- known hotspots for wildlife-vehicle collisions
Who are we working with?
Some of our partners on this project:
- Greater Yellowstone Coalition
- Idaho Wildlife Federation
- Teddy Roosevelt Conservation Partnership
- Idaho Fish and Game
- The Nature Conservancy
- Future West
- Wildlife Conservation Society
- Caribou-Targhee National Forest
- Cinnabar Foundation
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Latest news and updates
- When wildlife safety turns into fierce political debate | High Country News, Dec. 31, 2019
Header photo: a bear runs across a busy road, Kent Nelson