According to the Federal Highway Administration, every year one to two million vehicle accidents are caused by collisions with wildlife. Michigan is one of the worst states ranking fifth nationally for such collisions. It costs us all in higher insurance premiums, burdens our already full hospitals, and in some cases takes precious lives.
In a huge step toward addressing this issue, Senator Stabenow, Senator Peters, and bipartisan leadership from our congressional delegation passed the Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act – legislation that includes wildlife-friendly infrastructure. By constructing wildlife crossing bridges, tunnels, and culverts, roughly 90 percent of these collisions can be prevented.
This is smart spending that saves lives and protects wildlife. However, we can create an even larger impact by focusing on wildlife corridors –- the routes that are followed by animals and birds during migration or movement.
Legislation should be considered that helps study, map and conserve wildlife corridors. That way we do a better job of preserving habitat, understanding where crossings should be placed and making sure public dollars are spent wisely on conservation. Bipartisan support from Michigan’s congressional delegation can encourage these efforts to succeed.