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GOCO Board awards Colorado Parks and Wildlife $54,000 grant to improve wildlife habitat connectivity in eastern Colorado

 

DENVER– The Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) Board awarded a $54,000 conservation excellence grant to Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW), in partnership with the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), to improve wildlife habitat connectivity in eastern Colorado while reducing costly wildlife-vehicle collisions (WVCs).

In Colorado, nearly 4,000 vehicle crashes involving wildlife are reported each year, costing an estimated $66.4 million annually. This does not include the value of the wildlife that is killed, or the impacts to wildlife populations, and reported accidents represent a fraction of the actual number of WVCs that occur.

In 2019, CPW and CDOT completed the Western Slope Wildlife Prioritization Study (WSWPS), providing an assessment of wildlife conflicts on roads in the Western Slope to guide transportation planning and project development. The study’s objective involved identifying wildlife-highway conflict areas in which targeted mitigation could have the greatest impact on reducing WVCs. The research team then evaluated the feasibility of adapting the WSWPS to the Eastern Slope and Plains.

Building on learnings from WSWPS, the Eastern Slope and Plains Wildlife Prioritization Study (ES&PWPS) will evaluate strategic and cost-effective WVC mitigation methods, including wildlife crossing structures, fencing, and other strategies, and propose a plan to ensure that CPW and CDOT are able to maximize benefits for both people and wildlife. The completion of this research will provide implementable recommendations and decision-support tools to integrate wildlife-highway mitigation strategies into transportation projects, improving safety for wildlife and motorists alike.

“GOCO’s support of this project directly implements Governor Polis’ recent Migration Corridors Executive Order by working to identify and close data gaps associated with safe wildlife passage,” said Brett Ackerman, CPW’s southeast regional manager

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