Animal-vehicle collisions have become a common issue in the US. These collisions contribute to around 200 human deaths a year. However, it is much worse for the wildlife. Typically, wildlife mortality is very high in animal-vehicle collisions. Likewise, these collisions cost almost $8 billion in expenses to fix property damage and other affected areas.
However, Nevada is moving ahead full steam to reduce these collisions. Last month, the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT), released a study that was looking at effective ways to reduce these collisions. During this study, officials found that a combination of over/underpasses and wildlife fences reduces animal-vehicle collisions by 85%. Likewise, these over/underpasses help keep habitat connectivity for the wildlife. The study also found the warning lights and signs were less than 50% effective at reducing collisions.
Back in 2010, Nevada completed its first wildlife overpass. Since that time they have built a total of six wildlife overpasses. That is 25% of all wildlife overpasses in the US. However, that doesn’t mean that Nevada is slowing down, with the release of this study the state is looking to implement more animal-vehicle collision protection.
One area that will be receiving more focus is in northeastern Nevada. Around 5,500 elk and deer make their journey from the Jarbidge Mountains to the Pequop Mountains across U.S. 93. However, only about 60 percent survive the migration. As a result of this migration, Nevada has placed GPS collars on mule deer. These callers will help officials learn where hotspots for road crossings are. Likewise, these collars will allow them to better study migration patterns.
“We can track through time how well different populations are doing based on their survival rates.” – Cody Schroeder, Mule Deer Biologist for the Nevada Department of Wildlife