A few state lawmakers want the state’s DEC to study possible locations along highways and thoroughfares for wildlife crossings.
Councilor Robert Carroll, D-Brooklyn, and Senator Leroy Comrie, D-Queens, introduced A.10533/S.8579 instructing the DEC to conduct the investigation and directing the Department of Transportation to report on the tax consequences of the study. recommendations. The bill could be discussed in 2023 when the state legislature returns to sitting.
“This bill aims to study the potential emergence of wildlife crossings in New York State,” Comrie and Carroll wrote in their legislative justification. “Roadkill is a serious problem in motorcycle transport. Crossing deer and other large mammals can pose life-threatening hazards on roads. In the United States alone, there are more than one million car accidents each year that involve wildlife, generating more than $8 billion annually in medical costs and vehicle repairs. By some estimates, more than a million animals are killed every day in car crashes, making them the leading cause of death for many vertebrate species. Even worse is the way highways and other forms of development can subdivide animal populations and fragment their habitats. Losing access to large areas of their habitat makes it much more difficult for many forest creatures to forage for food, find mates and continue their genetic legacy.”
The federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 established a $350 million safety program to be spent over five years on bridges, tunnels, culverts, fences and other infrastructure that allow the safe passage of wildlife under or over roads. makes. The federal government makes $60 million a year available — the largest single federal allocation for animal crossings.
The AP reported in November that advances in GPS technology, such as collars attached to deer, have made it possible to more accurately map animal migratory routes, also leading to solutions beyond road signs, such as fences or highway crossings. for wildlife, which can reduce the number of collisions by 80%.
According to the Associated Press, construction began in April on a $90 million crossover bridge for mountain lions and other wildlife across a highway and a feeder road about 35 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles. The bridge will be 61 meters long over US 101 to give big cats, coyotes, deer and other wildlife a safe path to the nearby Santa Monica Mountains. It is expected to be completed in early 2025 and will be named Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing for the philanthropist whose foundation donated $25 million.
So far, Comrie and Carroll have not received much support from their fellow state legislators. Neither bill has a co-sponsor, making it unlikely that the bill will be submitted to committee discussions.
“These wildlife crossings reduce the number of fatalities for both animals and humans. New York has the opportunity to be a leader in the United States in this area.” They wrote.