Statewide Wildlife Crossing Map
View the location, details, and pictures of Colorado's existing highway crossing structures on the Colorado Wildlife Crossing Web Map that was developed in collaboration by Colorado Parks and Wildlife, and the Colorado Department of Transportation with coordination by ECO-resolutions.
Animals on the Move
Many big game species exhibit annual migrations by moving along traditional routes between seasonal ranges, often associated with plant phenology and weather. Colorado’s big game typically migrates from higher elevations in the summer to lower elevations as winter approaches; and migrate in the spring from winter range back to summer range, following the spring forage green-up. Animals also need the ability to move within seasonal ranges to maintain resiliency in response to habitat conditions and changing pressures on the landscape.
Colorado’s mountainous terrain creates winter ranges that are in closer proximity to summer ranges, which often leads to shorter dispersed migration pathways rather than long, narrow corridors. Longer routes can expose animals to greater risks than shorter routes, while shorter routes enable animals to conserve energy for the long winter ahead.
Barriers to Movement
Examples of barriers to movement include high-volume roadways, and housing or commercial development. Other activities disrupt wildlife movements such as various forms of recreation, low-volume traffic roads, and fencing that were not constructed to wildlife-friendly design guidelines. A number of these barriers are man-made changes to the landscape that are expected to increase as Colorado’s population continues to grow. It is also important to note that a single threat likely has multiple adverse impacts, and multiple threats are often compounded causing cumulative negative impacts to wildlife populations.
How Can CPW Help?
Colorado Parks and Wildlife with partner collaboration can take many actions to reduce barriers to wildlife movement. Wildlife crossing structures and wildlife radar detection systems can be installed on roadways to reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions while maintaining movement permeability. Removing degraded and old pasture or allotment fences, or modifying fences to follow wildlife-friendly fence designs can decrease the threat of fence entanglement. Timing stipulations and buffer zones can be applied to human activities to decrease disturbance to wildlife in areas of critical habitat.
Prioritizing Transportation Wildlife Infrastructure Projects
2019 & 2022
Featured Highway Mitigation Projects
- Governor Polis signed SB22-151 Safe Crossing for Colorado Wildlife and Motorists Act on June 1, 2022. The bill creates the Colorado wildlife safe passages cash fund for use by the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) to provide funding for projects that provide safe road crossings and connectivity for wildlife, and that increase motorist safety by reducing wildlife-vehicle collisions. CDOT must consult with CPW and the Colorado Wildlife and Transportation Alliance regarding the disbursement of the money.
Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed Executive Order D-2019-011, Conserving Colorado’s Big Game Winter Range and Migration Corridors.
In November, the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission also adopted a resolution reaffirming the Governor’s Executive Order and supporting the federal funding opportunity.
CPW and CDOT signed a memorandum of understanding in 2019 for collaboration in mitigating wildlife-vehicle collisions, identifying priority big game highway crossings in the state, and participation in and support of the multi-stakeholder Colorado Wildlife-Transportation Alliance (CWTA).
The Colorado Legislature also showed support in advancing wildlife corridor conservation and habitat connectivity with the development of a bipartisan Colorado Habitat Connectivity Senate Joint Resolution 21-021 that unanimously passed through both chambers of the Legislature and was enacted in June 2019.
- Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act was signed in the fall of 2021 and includes a 5-year pilot program of $350 million to construct wildlife road crossings. These structures reconnect important habitat and allow animals to pass safely over or under roadways, avoiding traffic while also improving motorist safety. The legislation also makes projects to reduce wildife-vehicle collisions eligible for funding in other existing and new transportation programs.
2017 and 2018
- A pair of secretarial orders issued by the U.S. Department of Interior (DOI) directed federal land managers to work with states to protect big game species and their habitat within the region.