Why Are Transportation and Service Corridors a Challenge?
As Colorado’s cities develop and expand, so must the connections between them. These connections have the potential to adversely affect Colorado’s wildlife through fragmentation of habitats and direct impacts.
What Are Some Examples?
Roads and railroads: highways, bridges, service roads, rail lines and associated fencing.
Transmission & service lines: electrical and phone wires and natural resource pipelines.
Flight paths: low flying military jets and helicopters.
What Are The Effects?
Road construction fragments large, continuous areas of suitable habitat.
Fragmented habitats present the challenge of increased edge effects that can negatively impact native plant and animal communities.
Roads alter local water systems through increased erosion, sedimentation and pollution.
Maintenance associated with transportation corridors, like herbicide application and mowing, can negatively impact the surrounding natural habitat.
Roads present a significant source of mortality for wildlife; slow moving animals attempting to cross, basking cold-blooded species and highly mobile migratory wildlife are all vulnerable.
Transmission lines can result in the electrocution of birds and bats.
What Are Some Of The Things CPW Is Doing?
In cooperation with the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), and a significant number of partners, CPW was a part of the implementation of Colorado’s first-of-its-kind
wildlife overpass and underpass on Highway 9 between Silverthorne and Kremmling.
This innovative solution to keeping wildlife off a busy road resulted in a 90 percent reduction in wildlife-vehicle collisions after the first year.
Efforts continue to determine other major roadways and wildlife crossing that could benefit from these structures.
The large and growing connected body of roadways in the state poses a fatal challenge to some of our most cherished wildlife. That’s why CPW has partnered with the
Colorado Department of Transportation to provide motorists with
tips for avoiding collisions, staying safe, and respecting our wildlife.
Another major project underway across the state is to put up wildlife fencing in major migration areas to help keep animals off of the highways.
Most of Colorado’s iconic species are ungulates that must migrate throughout the state.
Fencing with Wildlife in Mind, a CPW publication, aims to provide private landowners with the information and resources needed to fence in such a way that livestock are adequately contained while wildlife is able to roam freely and access critical and seasonal habitats.
Colorado’s rarest plants suffer from the habitat alteration and erosion which accompanies motorized recreation on the growing system of roads and trails in the state. Recognizing the fragility of these imperiled plants, CPW partnered with the Stay the Trail program to reinforce and highlight responsible OHV use.
Read more about how transportation and service corridors are affecting Colorado’s most iconic species and what CPW is doing to help!