AR-News: Critter-crossing strategies pick up speed

jim robertson wolfcrest at
Wed May 5 00:29:16 EDT 2004

Critter-crossing strategies pick up speed

By Blaine Harden
The Washington Post

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SEQUIM — When elk amble across Highway 101 in Sequim on the Olympic 
Peninsula, radio collars around their necks set off flashing lights up and 
down the busy road.
A continent away, when moose wander across Route 4 in the mountains of 
western Maine, their hulking bodies break an infrared beam that triggers 
flashing lights on moose-warning signs.

On re-engineered highways between the wireless elk and the beam-breaking 
moose, there are underpasses for tortoises in California, 
vibration-detectors for deer in Wyoming and a 52-foot-wide overpass for 
deer, foxes, coyotes and opossums on Interstate 75 in Florida.

At an accelerating pace, federal and state highways across much of the 
United States are being tricked out with critter-crossing technology, high 
and low. It is an attempt to halt a rising tide of roadkill, the grisly 
result of more cars, more sprawl and a continentwide resurgence of large 
hoofed animals, including deer, elk and — deadliest of all — moose.

The scale of the nation's roadkill and highway-ecology problem is attracting 
attention after decades of being ignored by highway engineers and 
regional-planning agencies, said Richard Forman, a professor of ecology at 

"We have come a long way since the mid-1990s, when there was a pitiful 
amount of information," he said. "Thinking about road ecology is now 
permeating state departments of transportation in a very positive way."

That thinking has reached Congress. For the first time, the Senate version 
of a pending transportation bill would require all state transportation 
departments to consult fish-and-game agencies from the beginning of planning 
for roads built with federal money. Also, for the first time, the Senate 
bill considers wildlife crossings to be a major safety issue and would 
allocate federal money for fences, overpasses and other ways of reducing 

full story:

"One of the most dangerous things that can happen to a child is to kill or 
torture an animal and get away with it" —  Margaret Mead.

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