California Wildlife Crossings Get New Funding

The state is budgeting $61 million to build wildlife crossings that increase biodiversity, help species thrive, and save both human and animal lives.

2 minute read

July 28, 2021, 11:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Rendering of the proposed Liberty Canyon Wildlife Corridor

Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy / Rendering of the proposed Liberty Canyon Wildlife Corridor

California's wildlife will soon have an easier time crossing busy roads thanks to a new push by state lawmakers to build wildlife crossings, reports Marissa Garcia. In Los Angeles, "[t]he project known as the Liberty Canyon Wildlife Crossing is one step closer to happening now that Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed a budget that includes $7 million to help build it — and another $54.5 million for similar projects in other parts of the state."

The plan is "part of a larger nationwide push to build special bridges and tunnels that help animals safely cross busy roads and freeways. The goal is twofold: to give species at risk the space they need to find mates, and to reduce the number of car crashes that imperil both wildlife and humans." In California alone, at least 7,000 crashes a year involve large wildlife, or roughly 20 such crashes daily. "And they aren’t cheap — for the drivers or the government. Between 2015 and 2018, wildlife crashes have cost more than $1 billion. The expenses include car damage, personal injuries, emergency response, traffic impacts, lost work and the clean-up."

In addition to reducing the carnage, Garcia writes, wildlife crossings would also re-link critical habitats and increase genetic diversity among animals living on both sides of dangerous roadways. When complete, the Liberty Canyon Wildlife Crossing, specifically designed to increase mobility for Southern California's mountain lion population, "will be the largest wildlife passage in the world."

Tuesday, July 6, 2021 in CALmatters

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