Save America’s Wildlife

Oregon legislature considering bill to strengthen wildlife crossing projects

On Tuesday, a bill to make wildlife crossings in Oregon more effective had its first public hearing.

Elk crossing road with sign
| Public Domain

We need more nature. More nature means abundant wildlife in our world – from butterflies floating by, to coyotes howling at night, to whale tails breaching the surface just visible from shore. Nature works better when it’s connected.

But in Oregon and in the U.S., our wild spaces have been fragmented by roads, fences and other products of human development that block the movement of animals. This can push whole ecosystems out of balance, cut off genetic flow between populations, leave animals short of key resources, interrupt migration cycles and leave species more susceptible to other challenges like disease, wildfires and climate change. 

A key solution to habitat fragmentation is to create wildlife corridors, projects that reconnect separated habitats, keeping in mind a species’ need for adequate space, food, water, shelter and mates. Corridors can be made up of single projects or networks of small-scale infrastructure, including but not limited to wildlife crossings. Wildlife crossings are typically overpasses or underpasses that allow wildlife to safely cross major roads that run through their habitats. In recent years, the Oregon legislature has made investments in wildlife crossings to build more of this critical infrastructure in Oregon.

One provision of House Bill 4148, currently under consideration by the Oregon legislature, would further strengthen Oregon’s wildlife-vehicle collision program and ensure that wildlife crossing projects across the state are successful. These projects will increase the safety of our roads, provide more freedom of movement for our wildlife and help to create more complete ecosystems that have been fragmented by human development.

House Bill 4148 is expected to be voted on in the House Committee on Agriculture, Land Use, Natural Resources, and Water on Thursday, February 8th at 3pm.

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