background image
crossings are heavily concentrated in several
areas along the corridor between Bayfield
and the Piedra River.
Lawler said that while deer use the new un-
derpass without hesitation, elk are not using
it yet. Elk, however, do readily use over-
passes. Hoping to aid elk crossings, CDOT,
CPW and the Southern Ute Tribe are working
cooperatively to determine if both an over-
pass and underpass could be built near the
intersection of U.S. 160 and Colorado High-
way 151 just east of Chimney Rock National
Monument. The research by the Southern
Ute Tribe shows that area is the location for
major elk and deer migration corridors.
¡°The tribe knows the importance of sharing
this information with neighboring agencies,¡±
said Aran Johnson, wildlife biologist for the
Southern Utes.
An overpass and related structures there
would probably cost about $1.2 million; but
funding for the project has not been ap-
proved.
Lawler said there is no timeline for the work;
but discussions have started to explore part-
nership funding for the project with CPW, the
Southern Ute Indian Tribe, Great Outdoors
Colorado and CDOT.
Aside from underpasses and overpasses, dur-
ing the past decade in all areas of the state
CDOT has put up high fences along hundreds
of miles of major highways and has built ¡°es-
cape ramps¡± that allow animals to move
There are no statistics regard-
ing collisions available yet for the
area near the new underpass. But
Lawler explained that an underpass
built three years ago between Ridg-
way and Montrose has cut wildlife-
vehicle collisions in that area by
approximately 70 percent.
Research conducted by the South-
ern Ute Indian Tribe¡¯s Wildlife
Resource Management Division,
details the patterns for deer and
elk migration across U.S. 160 since
2004. Most of the Southern Ute
reservation is located south of that
highway. Radio collars have been
placed on nearly 150 animals and
their movements monitored, pri-
marily during migration periods in
the spring and fall.
The studies show that deer and elk
Nature & Wildlife
2018 February/March
Pg 10 - The Sunshine Express
¡®Hunting, Fishing and Parks for Future
Generations Act¡¯ introduced
at General Assembly
Denver, CO: A bipartisan team of Colorado law-
makers introduced the Hunting, Fishing, and Parks
for Future Generations Act (Senate Bill 18-143) on
Monday, Jan 29 in an effort to bring a long-term
funding solution to Colorado Parks and Wildlife
(CPW).
The bill is sponsored by two Republicans, Sen.
Don Coram of Montrose and Rep. Jim Wilson of
Salida, and two Democrats, Sen. Stephen Fenberg
of Boulder and Rep. Jeni Arndt of Fort Collins.
Introduction of the bill follows roughly three-years
of public meetings with legislators and outdoor
enthusiasts to gather feedback on the agency¡¯s
financial challenges and the future of Colorado¡¯s
outdoor recreation opportunities, state parks and
wildlife.
CPW receives less than 1 percent of its annual
budget from general fund tax revenue. The agency
is supported primarily by the sale of hunting and
fishing licenses, state park passes and camping
fees.
However, resident hunting and fishing license
prices are set in statute and have not changed
since 2005. Since that time, inflation has in-
creased almost 30 percent, reducing CPW¡¯s ability
to meet the needs and expectations of Coloradans.
State Park entrance fees also have not changed
since 2010.
The agency is seeking approval to adjust fees to
cover the rising costs associated with manag-
ing wildlife, protecting habitat and maintaining
and improving state parks to meet the needs of a
booming population. With this new funding, CPW
commits to pursuing the following goals and
objectives by 2025:
Grow the number of hunters and anglers in
Colorado through investments in programs such as
hunter education, Fishing is Fun, and the Cameo
Shooting and Education Complex, and grants for
shooting ranges in all regions of the state.
Expand access for hunters, anglers and outdoor
recreationists by renewing existing high-priority
leases and supporting additional public access
programs on public and private lands.
Increase and improve big game populations
through investments in habitat and conservation,
including building more highway wildlife crossings
to protect wildlife and motorists.
Improve species distribution and abundance
monitoring and disease prevention efforts through
partnerships with private landowners.
Increase the number of fish stocked in Colorado
waters to above 90 million through hatchery mod-
ernization and renovations.
Identify and begin planning the development of
Colorado¡¯s next state park.
Reduce risks to life and property and sustain
water-based recreation opportunities by reducing
CPW¡¯s dam maintenance and repair backlog by 50
percent.
Engage all outdoor recreationists, such as hikers,
bikers, and wildlife watchers, in the maintenance
of state lands and facilities and the management
of wildlife.
Recruit and retain qualified employees to man-
age wildlife, park, recreational and aquatic re-
sources.
Highway crossings enhancing safety for
wildlife and motorists in southwest Colorado
DURANGO, CO: Highway underpasses and over-
passes built for wildlife are significantly reduc-
ing the number of wildlife-vehicle collisions on
roadways throughout Colorado. Recent work in
southwest Colorado is helping to make even more
roads safer in this corner of the state.
Photographs taken with a remote camera at a
new underpass on U.S. Highway 160 between Du-
rango and Bayfield show that the passageway is
being used by deer, coyotes, raccoons and other
small animals.
It was completed in the fall of 2016 by the Colo-
rado Department of Transportation. Colorado
Parks and Wildlife provided guidance on the proj-
ect; and now the two agencies are cooperating
on a study to identify key wildlife crossing spots
throughout the state.
¡°These structures help protect Colorado¡¯s wildlife
and Colorado¡¯s drivers,¡± said Patt Dorsey, south-
west regional manager for Colorado Parks and
Wildlife. ¡°We¡¯re pleased to work cooperatively
with CDOT on these projects. Highways pass
through wildlife habitat throughout the state and
it¡¯s only natural that our agencies work together.¡±
On Colorado Highway 9 near Kremmling in north-
west Colorado, an overpass and underpasses
have cut wildlife-vehicle collisions by nearly 90
percent over the last two years. Insurance com-
panies estimate that damage to vehicles from
wildlife collisions averages about $4,000 per
incident.
Mark Lawler, a CDOT biologist, said that research
done throughout the world shows clearly that
underpasses and overpasses dramatically lead to
a decline in collisions.
CDOT statistics show that from 2006 to 2016
there were 472 vehicle-wildlife collisions, the
majority with mule deer, on U.S. 160 in the area
between Durango and Bayfield. But that only ac-
counts for accidents that were reported. Lawler
explained that research shows vehicle-wildlife
collisions are underreported.
¡°At the new underpass we¡¯re seeing a large
number of mule deer going through the structure
daily,¡± Lawler said. ¡°Animals are using the struc-
ture; we¡¯re not just moving the problem.¡±
Collisions Reduced 70-90%
CPW Seeks Funding
out from the
middle of
roadways and
divided high-
ways. Those
projects have
also been effec-
tive for reducing
collisions, Lawler
said.
The statewide
project to iden-
tify major cross-
ing areas should
be completed
in about a year,
Lawler said.
That study will
also look at pos-
sible sources of
consistent fund-
ing for wildlife
projects.
(source: CPW)
(Mule deer are using highway underpasses
throughout the state. This photo was taken
by a game camera at an underpass on U.S.
Highway 160 between Durango and Bayfield
in southwest Colorado. Image:CPW)