Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Republican Herald Editorial: Wildlife Corridors Would Help Drivers, Animals

The editorial first appeared in the
Republican Herald on September 22, 2023--

Dead animals are a sad and common sight along Pennsylvania’s highways, but the damage isn’t limited to the unfortunate animals that try to cross highways.

About 200 people die every year in vehicle collisions with animals on U.S. roads, which also cause hundreds of millions of dollars in vehicle damage.

State Farm Insurance recently reported that Americans filed 1.8 million auto insurance claims, from July 1, 2022 through June 30, to repair damage resulting from animal collisions.  [Read more here.]

Pennsylvania led the nation with 153,397 of those claims. The company also determined that drivers in Pennsylvania have a 1-in-59 chance of colliding with an animal, the third-highest probability in the nation behind West Virginia and Montana.

Collisions also reflect that highways divide animal habitats. That has been a particular problem in some states, especially California, where highway-facilitated sprawl has prevented predators such as mountain lions and bears from traveling across their full ranges.

The result has been more encounters between those animals and people in what have become suburban rather than remote areas.

Many states have constructed wildlife corridors over or beneath highways. They entail terrain similar to the surrounding landscape, and natural barriers on both sides of the highway to funnel animals to the corridor.

Camera traps in those corridors regularly capture a remarkably dense and diverse parade of animals safely crossing busy highways.

Studies of active corridors have shown that they usually help to reduce the number of collisions while improving the health and genetic diversity of animals with renewed access to their full territory.

Given the costly and deadly record in Pennsylvania, along with developments in Washington, the state government should expedite the development of wildlife corridors.

In April, U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg announced a $350 million pilot project to establish wildlife corridors across the country. 

In May, the state House passed a resolution giving the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee 18 months to generate a study on the potential for wildlife corridors.

That potential is obvious. Pennsylvania has an abundance of wildlife, highways and vehicles. 

The state government should expedite the effort to improve safety for people and animals alike.

Resource Links:

-- Endangered Species Coalition: Wildlife Corridors In Pennsylvania

-- PA Federation Of Sportsmen & Conservationists: Conservation Corridors Are A Key Conservation Strategy

-- PennEnvironment: Fractured Habitat: Why We Need A Wildlife Corridor Plan In PA

-- WESA: PA Is No. 1 In The US For Car Crashes With Animals

NewsClips - Wildlife Corridors:

-- LancasterOnline - Ad Crable: State Agencies Push For Wildlife Corridors To Help Species Survive

-- WESA: How A Statewide Study On Wildlife Corridors Could Impact PA

-- Fox43: Why More Wildlife Corridors Could Be Coming To PA

-- PennLive: Critter Crossings: PA builds Safe Road Passages For Wildlife

-- Pocono Record Guest Essay: Wildlife Corridors Are A Win-Win For The Environment, Anglers In Monroe County - By Janet Schmitt, Trout Unlimited & Cailey Underhill, PennEnvironment

Related Articles - Wildlife Corridors:

-- House Adopts Bipartisan Resolution To Study Wildlife Corridors To Protect Wildlife And People [PaEN 2023]

-- New Report Outlines Key Ways To Reconnect Nature Through Wildlife Corridors  [PaEN 2021]

-- Guest Essay: Pennsylvania Conservation Corridors & Ecological Connectivity [PaEN 2021]

NewsClips - This Week:

-- Outdoor Life: Bill Would Divert $150 Million From Game Commission, Threaten Federal Wildlife Funding In PA

-- Erie Times - Brian Whipkey: Groups Oppose State’s Attempt To Move Money From Game Commission To Another Fund

-- Save The Date: Keystone Coldwater Conference Feb. 23-24 In State College

-- Game Commission: Hemorrhagic Disease Outbreak In Crawford County, 30-40 Deer Found Dead

-- The Nature Conservancy-PA: Blakeslee Preserve Stream Restoration Project, Cherry Valley National Refuge In Monroe County [Video]

-- PennLive Letter: Fossil Fuels Are Fueling Climate Change And Disaster For Our Planet - By Ed Perry, Former Aquatic Biologist, US Fish & Wildlife Service

-- PennLive: Flamingo Injured By Snapping Turtle In Franklin County Has Died

Related Articles - This Week:

-- PA Conservation Heritage Project Adds Biography Of John Arway, Former Executive Director Of Fish & Boat Commission  [PaEN] 

-- Republican Herald Editorial: Wildlife Corridors Would Help Drivers, Animals  [PaEN]

[Posted: September 26, 2023]  PA Environment Digest

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