Safe Passages for Wildlife in the Southern Rockies Year 3
This multi-year project is aimed at improving connectivity and reducing collisions along Highway 3 near the Alberta border.
This year’s work will focus on improving connectivity at the Old Town and Michel Mouth bridges, installing fencing, improving the effectiveness monitoring program, and increasing engagement with the Ktunaxa Nation.
Update: Four bridges retrofitted with underpasses along Highway 3
Four underpasses have been created below bridges along Highway 3 near Sparwood, allowing ungulates and other wildlife to safely cross the highway.
Our Columbia Region board funds this project to reduce wildlife mortality and improve habitat connectivity.
At Alexander Creek, rip rap went right up to the edge of the creek but now a trail allows wildlife to safely pass beneath the bridge.
In addition, fencing has been installed along two kilometres of the highway. Thirty-six cameras were used to monitor the effectiveness of the project, collecting nearly 800,000 images.
Final report: executive summary
Highway 3 in southeast British Columbia (BC) is an obstacle for wildlife connectivity and a hotspot of wildlife-vehicle collisions. Southeast BC is home to one of the largest assemblages of large mammal species in North America. However, the highway fracture zone adversely affects these species at local (Elk Valley) and continental scales (Canada/USA), leading to numerous conservation challenges. These challenges include fragmenting crucial habitats and populations, and causing direct mortality due to collisions. Many species impacted by the highway, such as grizzly bears, wolverines, bighorn sheep, American badgers, elk, and mule deer, are of local conservation concern and hold high cultural values. More than a decade of research has contributed to our knowledge and proposed solutions to mitigate the impacts of Highway 3 on human and wildlife safety.
Here we report on a project to reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions and promote safe connectivity through exclusion fencing and wildlife crossing structures. The Reconnecting the Rockies: BC project proposes to fence 27 km of Highway 3 from Olsen Crossing east of Hosmer to the BC-Alberta border. On average, 41 roadkill are reported in this stretch each year, and this number may be as high as 124 after accounting for unreported roadkill. These collisions cost society at least 1.6 million per year, but the cost could be as high as 4.8 million. Similar mitigation projects in neighboring jurisdictions (AB, MT, WA, CO, etc.) have successfully reduced collisions with wildlife by >80%.
Click the provincial database link below to read the full final report for this project.