The Department of the Interior has announced funding approval of nearly a dozen wildlife friendly fencing projects in eight Western states.
The funding comes as part of the department’s “Improving Habitat Quality in Western Big-Game Winter Range and Migration Corridors” initiative and will see over 100 miles of habitat restoration fencing projects spanning more than 44,000 acres.
In a statement, David Bernhardt, Interior’s Acting Secretary, said the funded projects will result in “invaluable conservation to benefit mule deer, pronghorn, elk and other wildlife.”
Out of a total of more than $1.5 million in funding, Arizona will receive $200,000, Colorado will get $100,000, and New Mexico is slated for $75,000.
The funding will go not only for the construction of the new fences, but also for habitat restoration work as well as invasive species control and management.
In some states, the funding will pay for the building of highway wildlife underpasses.
A combination of conservationists, ranchers, and animal activists have pushed for the building of wildlife friendly fencing in the wake of reports of animals becoming entangled and dying in traditional barbed wire fences.
The issue has become more crucial with the building of yet more fences in new Western subdivisions.
The wildlife friendly fences are often made of wood rails and smooth wire, with the top portion of the fence no more than 40 inches in height and the bottom at least 16 to 18 inches above ground, allowing for the movement of animals jumping the fences or simply crossing underneath them.
By Garry Boulard
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