Wednesday, May 24, 2023

House Adopts Bipartisan Resolution To Study Wildlife Habitat Corridors To Protect Wildlife And People

On May 23, the House voted 129 to 72 to adopt the bipartisan
House Resolution 87 (Dailey-D- Montgomery; Ortitay-R-Allegheny) to help protect Pennsylvania’s critical animal habitats and determine the location of wildlife corridors.  

The Resolution will also better position Pennsylvania to get federal money as the Federal Highway Administration rolls out a new five-year $350 million competitive grant program to fund wildlife crossings.

Introduced by state Reps. Mary Jo Daley (D-Montgomery County) and Jason Ortitay (R-Allegheny), House Resolution 87 directs the House Legislative Budget and Finance Committee to study and issue a report on the status, management and benefits of wildlife corridors. 

The Resolution requires the report to be completed within the next 18 months.

“From the Poconos to the Ohio River Valley, Pennsylvania is a natural wonderland for a diverse array of native wildlife species,” said Stephanie Wein, clean water & conservation advocate at PennEnvironment. “HR87 will help ensure that — from the monarch butterfly to elk and from black bear to our state bird, the ruffed grouse — these incredible animals can call Pennsylvania home, now and for future generations.”

“Wildlife corridors” is a broad term for a number of different strategies utilized to allow animals to safely move between habitats fragmented by infrastructure development. Wildlife corridors  keep animal populations healthy by giving them more hunting, foraging, migration and mating options. 

“Pennsylvania is home to a wonderful diversity of plants, trees and wildlife. HR 87 will help us look at how we can preserve that, as well as enhance our thriving outdoor recreation industry and provide for safer travel for people and animals around the Commonwealth,” said Rep. Daley.

The resolution will also help to identify key areas where Pennsylvania should construct wildlife crossings. 

Every year, Pennsylvania is among the five worst states nationwide for wildlife-vehicle collisions: 166,000 animal collision claims were filed in Pennsylvania from July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021. 

Building wildlife crossings, including underpasses and over passes, will save people as well as animals. 

“Wildlife-vehicle collisions not only result in costly vehicle repairs, but also injuries and even death to humans and wildlife,” said Rep. Ortitay. “We should make every effort to reduce these incidents and conservation corridors are one way to do so. I’m hopeful this study will offer ideas to better use this technique.”

Rep. Daley first introduced this resolution in January 2020 and first got interested in the concept of wildlife corridors at a National Caucus of Environmental Legislators conference in 2018.  Read more here.

Related Articles:

-- New Report Outlines Key Ways To Reconnect Nature Through Wildlife Corridors

-- Guest Essay: Pennsylvania Conservation Corridors & Ecological Connectivity

What Conservation Corridors & Habitat Connectivity Could Mean For PA Wildlife, Biodiversity

[Posted: May 24, 2023]  PA Environment Digest

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