Photo: Nick Sulzer // Buckrail

WYOMING — The Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) and Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT) are strategizing on how to reduce wildlife collisions on one of the most dangerous stretches of highway in Wyoming when it comes to wildlife/vehicle collisions.

The U.S. 26/287 study area includes eight mitigation segments, both east and west of Dubois.

From 2015 through 2019, wildlife/vehicle collisions accounted for 74% of all vehicle crashes between mileposts 48-73 on U.S. 26/287. Each year, on average, there are 28 reported wildlife-vehicle crashes reported to law enforcement and an additional 131 recorded carcasses removed from this section of roadway. The annual cost of these collisions is estimated at $791,400 including property damage, accident response, cleanup costs, and the value of the wildlife killed. Consequently, this stretch of highway is one of the most dangerous and costly in the state in terms of wildlife/vehicle collision risk and has been identified as a top priority in the Wildlife and Roadways Initiative.

To evaluate the mitigation possibilities on this stretch of highway, Julia Kintsch from ECO-resolutions, LLC, was hired as a consultant. Kintsch has 15 years of experience helping wildlife and transportation agencies mitigate wildlife movement. At an April 27 meeting open to the public, Kintsch will present the draft mitigation strategy developed by the project partnership.

Those interested can register for the meeting here and will be sent a confirmation email with a link and a passcode to join the meeting. You can join by video using the online meeting link to view the presentation.

“Funding for these wildlife-crossing mitigation strategies will be actively pursued in the future,” said Wyoming Game and Fish Department Lander Region Wildlife Management Coordinator Daryl Lutz. “The mitigation plan and effort in this area was launched in response to the numerous wildlife/vehicle collisions and citizen requests to address them along this stretch of highway. The mitigation plan will be used as a basis for project fundraising and implementation.”

Buckrail @ Jacob

Jacob Gore was born and raised in Cheyenne, the capital city of Wyoming. As a proud Wyomingite, he loves to share his home with visitors from around the world. Spending years in Jackson and Alaska as an interpretive nature guide, he remains a photographer, traveler, storyteller, and avid hobbyist of all-things outdoors. Jacob enjoys bridging the connection between Jackson and the rest of the state.