Deer, Cars and Endangered Species: How Wildlife Corridors Can Help

Feb 10, 2020

 

Credit State Farm/Flickr CC

 

In Virginia, in a single year, there were more than 61,000 collisions between vehicles and deer. That’s according to the state Department of Transportation.  

Lawmakers are hoping they can cut down that number, protecting human lives and wildlife. A bill to do just that has broad bipartisan support. 

The Virginia Department of Transportation ran an experiment on I-64 outside Charlottesville. They set up fencing to funnel deer and other animals to a specific underpass. It led to a 95% reduction in crashes between cars and deer. 

“They’re practical easy steps,” says Susan Holmes, policy director with the Wildlands Network. “Can we do something like we did on I-64 where a simple solution like fencing to funnel deer under a roadway could reduce wildlife mortality and protect drivers as well?”  

Under legislation that’s zooming through the General Assembly, the Department of Transportation will have to ask that question in each new project it undertakes. 

“States all over the country now are passing legislation like this. Red, and blue and everything in between,” Holmes says. 

She adds that it will help protect not just deer, and our cars, but also hundreds of endangered species.

 This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.