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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Wildlife Crossings Program Activities

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Program Overview

The Wildlife Crossings Program was established in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 (Pub. L. No. 117-58, November 15, 2021), also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL). See https://highways.dot.gov/federal-lands/wildlife-crossings for more information.

BIL includes several provisions to reduce WVCs and improve habitat connectivity.

Best Practices Study and Report

FHWA is conducting a study on the state of the practice and developing a report per the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) and 23 U.S.C. § 172(a).

BIL requires FHWA to conduct a study of the state of the practice of methods to reduce wildlife vehicle collisions (WVCs).

  • Update and expand on the "Wildlife Vehicle Collision Reduction Study: 2008 Report to Congress" and "Wildlife Vehicle Collision Reduction Study: Best Practices Manual.”
  • Assess the causes of WVCs, the impact of WVCs on motorists and wildlife, and the impacts of roads and traffic on habitat connectivity.
  • Include solutions and best practices for reducing WVCs, and improving habitat connectivity.
  • Review research and data relating to WVCs, and habitat fragmentation from transportation infrastructure.
  • Survey current practices of USDOT and State DOTs (SDOTs) to reduce WVCs.
  • Consult with appropriate experts in WVCs and appropriate experts on the effects of roads and traffic on habitat connectivity for terrestrial and aquatic species.

BIL requires FHWA to submit a report to Congress on the results of the study, including:

  • A description of the causes and impacts of WVCs, and the impacts of roads and traffic on different species.
  • An economic evaluation of the costs and benefits of installing highway infrastructure and other measures to mitigate damage to wildlife, including the effect on jobs, property values, and economic growth.
  • Recommendations for preventing WVCs, including best practices and funding resources.

Statewide Transportation and Wildlife Action Plans

FHWA is developing guidance for Statewide Transportation and Wildlife Action Plans per the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) and 23 U.S.C. § 172(a)(3)(B)(iv).

As part of the report to Congress on the results of the study, BIL requires FHWA to include guidance for developing a voluntary joint Statewide Transportation and Wildlife Action plan to address WVCs and improve habitat connectivity for terrestrial and aquatic species; and to consult with Federal Land Management Agencies (FLMAs), SDOTs, State fish and wildlife agencies, and Tribal governments that agree to participate in the development of the guidance.

Workforce Development and Technical Training

FHWA is developing technical training per the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) and 23 U.S.C. § 172(b).

BIL requires FHWA to develop a series of in-person and online workforce development and technical training courses to reduce WVCs and improve habitat connectivity for terrestrial and aquatic species, based on the Best Practices Study. Courses shall be available for transportation and fish and wildlife professionals.

Collision and Carcass Data Methodology

FHWA is developing standardized methodology and planning for voluntary implementation of a template per the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) and 23 U.S.C. § 172(c).

BIL requires FHWA to develop standardized methodology for collecting and reporting spatially accurate wildlife collision and carcass data for the National Highway System (NHS).

  • Consider the practicability of the methodology with respect to technology and cost.
  • Survey existing methodologies and sources of data collection.
  • Identify and correct limitations of those existing methodologies and sources of data collection.
  • Consult with Department of Interior; US Forest Service; Tribal, State, and local transportation and wildlife authorities; Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs); Members of the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO); Members of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (AFWA); Experts in WVCs; Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs); and other interested stakeholders.

BIL requires FHWA to develop a template for State implementation of a standardized national wildlife collision and carcass data system for the NHS that is based on the standardized methodology; and encourage the voluntary implementation of the template.

  • FHWA must submit a report to Congress describing the developed standardized methodology.
  • FHWA must later submit a report to Congress describing the status of the voluntary implementation of the standardized methodology; whether the implementation of the methodology and the template have impacted efforts to reduce WVCs and improve habitat connectivity; the degree of that impact; and recommendations for further study to reduce WVCs and improve habitat connectivity on the NHS.

National Mitigation Threshold Guidance

FHWA is developing guidance for a national mitigation threshold per the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) and 23 U.S.C. § 172(d).

BIL requires FHWA to establish guidance containing a threshold for determining whether a highway must be evaluated for potential mitigation measures to reduce WVCs and increase habitat connectivity.

  • Consider the number of WVCs that pose a human safety risk.
  • Consider highway-related mortality and the effects of highway traffic on various species.
  • Consider habitat connectivity values and the barrier effect of the highway on the movements and migrations of those species.

States may carry out the guidance on a voluntary basis.

Wildlife Crossing Design Standards

FHWA is including wildlife considerations in design per the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) and 23 U.S.C. § 109(c)(2)(F).

BIL requires FHWA to consider “Wildlife Crossing Structure Handbook: Design and Evaluation in North America” (2011) in developing Design Criteria for the NHS.

FHWA is also planning to update Wildlife Crossing Structure Handbook (2011).

Feedback

FHWA welcomes feedback on these program activities. Please email wildlifecrossings@dot.gov to provide feedback.

Program Overview