Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico are among eleven states receiving federal funding, in part, for the construction of migration corridors for specific wildlife species traveling from one place to the other.
Exactly $24.7 million in grant funding is being awarded by the Department of Interior to build fencing, exclusionary structures, and overall migration corridors for the mule deer, elk, and pronghorn.
In a statement, Interior Secretary David Bernhardt said the habitat funding projects are an example of “how conservation succeeds in the 21st century.”
“Working together with government and non-government partners, along with private landowners,” continued Bernhardt, “we are protecting, enhancing, and restoring habitat for big game and countless other species of wildlife.”
The projects are regarded as particularly important because of the threat that elk, mule deer and pronghorn confront due to highway traffic, explosive Western development, and habitat degradation.
Altogether, just over $3.1 million in grants is coming from a partnership with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, which, in turn, is generating $20.3 million in matching funds.
The Arizona Game and Fish Department is getting $400,000 in grant funding for a program that will remove juniper trees that in recent decades have invaded Bureau of Land Management property in northern Arizona.
By clearing out the trees, nearly 1,500 acres of habitat will be restored and made available for a mule deer herd that annually migrates from southern Utah to it’s winter range near the Grand Canyon’s North Rim.
Just over $2 million is going to the Colorado Department of Transportation for the installation of fencing designed to guide wildlife to an animal road crossing under Colorado State Highway 13 just to the north of the city of Craig.
According to a press release for the Interior Department, the project will “reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions and maintain connectivity with a priority migratory corridor for mule deer and elk herds.”
In New Mexico, roughly 20 miles of new fencing will be built for a winter range habitat inside the Taos Plateau. The $367,000 in funding for the project is going to the New Mexico Association of Conservation Districts.
By Garry Boulard
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