An effort to reduce the motor vehicle collisions with wildlife in western Wyoming has been recognized by the Federal Highway Administration (FWHA) with its “Exemplary Ecosystem Initiative” (EEI) award.
The award was made in recognition of work undertaken recently on US 30 through Nugget Canyon west of Kemmerer. The project was sponsored by WYDOT in cooperation with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, with special funding provided by the Wyoming Legislature.
The effort consisted primarily of adding six wildlife underpasses to US 30 and 12 miles of special wildlife fencing alongside the road, which crosses the migration path of the Wyoming Range mule deer herd. A substantial reduction in the vehicle-wildlife crash rate has resulted since the project was completed.
The EEI awards are given to exemplary ecosystem and habitat projects that are “unique or highly unusual” in one or more aspects, including “achieving a high quality of results or recognition by environmental interests as being particularly valuable or noteworthy,” according to the FHWA.
The success of the Nugget Canyon project has yielded both a safety and economic benefit for Wyoming, and lessons learned from the project will be applied to other highways in Wyoming, as funding permits, where animal-vehicle collisions are an issue.