The project, which has a price tag of “up to” $38,000,000, would build an overpass of incredible size – 165 feet (50.2 m) by 200 feet (60.9 m) – over a 10-lane highway. As daunting as the cost and labour of engineering the country’s largest overpass may be, the need has become quite apparent.
The LA Times reported that urbanization has resulted in significant fragmentation of ecosystems in the Southern California mountain ranges, and essential predators – like the mountain lions – have struggled greatly to survive.
“Since National Park Service biologists began researching mountain lions in the Santa Monica Mountains in 2002, motorists have struck and killed a dozen of the big cats in the study area, including a male puma hit on [highway] 101 near Liberty Canyon two years ago,” the Times wrote.
A local partnership of conservation agencies, parks boards, and the transportation authority, known as the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority, released the report outlining why building such an impressive overpass would be feasible.
Proponents of the project, armed with the report, are now seeking funding from local, state, and federal coffers.
Wildlife overpasses help protect everyone – from the larger predators rapidly disappearing from our landscapes to the motorists transporting good across our borders. From cities like Edmonton to national services like Parks Canada are investing in such over (and under) passes – big and small. It’s a clear sign that scientifically-backed co-existence works. And we can’t wait to see wildlife crossings from coast to coast to coast.
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