The Wildlands Network reports that a groundbreaking initiative is underway to protect both motorists and wildlife from the hazards of road travel in the heart of the Northern Sierra. The Wildlands Network, in partnership with state and federal agencies, tribes, researchers, and nonprofit organizations, has embarked on an ambitious mission to identify and address sections of highway that pose a danger to wildlife and humans alike. And local residents can help.
Conversations with local residents of the Northern Sierra region brought attention to Highway 36 between Mineral and Susanville as a wildlife-vehicle collision hotspot. (This section of road crosses the north end of Plumas County, passing through Chester.) However, a significant challenge has been the absence of comprehensive data on wildlife-vehicle collisions. Information on wildlife-vehicle collision hotspots is necessary to determine location and design for wildlife passage features — like undercrossings, overcrossings, and fencing — that are effective at enhancing public safety and providing safe passage for wildlife on roadways. Recognizing the urgency of the situation, the Wildlands Network reports that it is working with Caltrans and other partners to spearhead an effort to bridge this data gap and improve safety for all.
To fill in this crucial missing piece of information, local residents are being encouraged to actively participate in the endeavor. By documenting instances of roadkill on the UC Davis Road Ecology Center’s California Roadkill Observation System at https://www.wildlifecrossing.net/california/, residents can play a pivotal role in enhancing the understanding of where wildlife-vehicle collisions frequently occur. This valuable data will serve as a foundation for informed decision making in designing and implementing infrastructure solutions, such as fencing and undercrossings, that will help mitigate the high rate of wildlife-vehicle collisions.
“Plumas County citizen scientists can get involved by easily recording data of wildlife/vehicle collisions on their computers or cell phones,” said Dave Valle, Plumas County Fish and Game commissioner, District 1. “The more data collected, the more money can be allocated for solutions to prevent the damage caused by wildlife/vehicle collisions. Data is needed on all our roadways, and especially along Highway 36 near Lake Almanor, which has always been a major problem area but without much data collected.”
“Your observations and contributions will directly impact our ability to create safer roadways and protect the diverse wildlife that calls this region home.”Mari Galloway, California Program Director, Wildlands Network
Mari Galloway, California program director of Wildlands Network, emphasized the significance of community involvement. “We believe that the residents of the Northern Sierra are instrumental in shaping the success of this endeavor,” she stated. “Your observations and contributions will directly impact our ability to create safer roadways and protect the diverse wildlife that calls this region home.”
The UC Davis roadkill crash map, accessible for reference, serves as a visual representation of the importance of this initiative. As motorists and wildlife share the same terrain, it is vital to strike a balance that ensures the preservation of the region’s ecological integrity while safeguarding human lives on the road, said Galloway.
Galloway emphasized how the partnership between the Wildlands Network, local and federal agencies, tribes, and nonprofit partners exemplifies the power of collaboration in addressing complex challenges: “By uniting expertise, resources, and community engagement, we can pave the way toward a future where Highway 36 and other roadways in the Northern Sierra are safer for both people and wildlife.”
Those with questions or who would like to contribute to this effort are invited to contact Galloway at firstname.lastname@example.org. “Your participation could make a lasting impact on the well-being of our local ecosystems and communities,” she said. “Together, we can create a road map to coexistence, where the Northern Sierra’s natural wonders and the needs of its inhabitants can harmoniously coalesce.”
Wildlands Network is an international 501(c)(3) nonprofit with a mission to reconnect, restore, and rewild North America so that life, in all its diversity, can thrive. Learn more at http://wildlandsnetwork.org.
Information submitted by Wildlands Network