Wildlife Corridors Provisions Included in Senate Transportation Bill

Sen. Baucus (D-MT) Leads Effort to Promote Measures that Will Increase Highway Safety and Enhance Wildlife Connectivity

WASHINGTON (March 21, 2012) – The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) applauded the Senate passage of the “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century” (MAP-21) bill, the national transportation bill that includes provisions to protect wildlife and drivers on America’s highways. Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) led the effort to include language within MAP-21 that enables state and federal transportation managers to address safety improvements and improve wildlife connectivity through measures to maintain ecological corridors.

WCS conservationists conduct research on corridors and wildlife-vehicle collisions from its field office in Bozeman, located in Sen. Baucus’s home state, in order to provide critical science on the effects of the rapid proliferation of road networks. Montana is the fourth highest state for risks of deer-vehicle collisions in the nation.

John F. Calvelli, WCS Executive Vice President of Public Affairs, said, “The conflict created by transportation networks intersecting with wildlife corridors can now be alleviated through technological measures that protect both drivers and wildlife. I thank Senator Baucus for his leadership in making sure this transportation bill allows states to make their own planning decisions to ensure driver safety on our highways and keep vital wildlife corridors intact.”

Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT), who was instrumental in passing the bill as a senior member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said, “We log a lot of miles behind the wheel in Montana, so we know all too well that accidents involving wildlife on highways are an unfortunate fact of life in states like ours. This bill puts the safety of our drivers first by investing in smart solutions like wildlife crossings, and it leaves the research and implementation up to the states, because they know best what works for their roads and their wildlife.”

In an effort to allow wildlife to safely cross busy roads, the bill contains language that empowers states to:
  • add or retrofit structures to reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions;
  • restore and maintain connectivity among terrestrial and aquatic habitats;
  • minimize the impact of surface transportation on the environment; and
  • maintain sustainability of biological communities and ecosystems adjacent to highway corridors.
The legislation passed the Senate in a bipartisan floor vote of 74-22 and will now either await consideration by the House of Representatives or proceed to conference committee for final passage.

Chip Weiskotten: 1-202-624-8172; cweiskotten@wcs.org
Mary Dixon: 1-347-840-1242; mdixon@wcs.org

The Wildlife Conservation Society saves wildlife and wild places worldwide. We do so through science, global conservation, education and the management of the world's largest system of urban wildlife parks, led by the Flagship Bronx Zoo. Together these activities change attitudes toward nature and help people imagine wildlife and humans living in harmony. WCS is committed to this mission because it is essential to the integrity of life on Earth.

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