The award recognizes the collaboration of WYDOT, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, federal agencies, and nonprofit organizations in making possible the “Trappers Point wildlife connectivity” project, which will improve motorist safety and also reduce wildlife mortality in northwest Wyoming.
The Trappers Point project is located on US 189 and US 191 in Sublette County. The $9.7 million effort, sponsored by WYDOT, went to contract last year and is scheduled for completion later this year.
WYDOT, Game and Fish, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service were all recognized during the award ceremony, which was conducted in the Wyoming Game and Fish headquarters building.
The project includes constructing overpasses at two locations and underpasses at another six sites along US 189 and US 189-191 in the vicinity of Trappers Point, near Pinedale and Daniel Jct. Special wildlife fencing is also being installed or upgraded along much of the 12-mile project corridor. Similar work undertaken on other Wyoming highways has resulted in substantial reductions in vehicle-wildlife crash rates.
The project incorporates a new concept – at least for Wyoming – namely, the special wildlife overpasses. Experience shows that while deer, elk and even moose will readily learn to use underpasses, antelope are extremely reluctant to do so. The overpasses are intended to solve the problem of getting antelope safely across.
Improved safety for motorists and animals is not the only goal. The Trappers Point area, a major wildlife migration route, has been affected by steady increases in traffic, coupled with growth of the oil and natural gas industry. The project will reverse disruption of migration pathways and help restore diversity, health and genetic vitality of the various big game species.