Wildlife Infrastructure Bill Will Make Nevada Roads Safer for Wildlife and People
CARSON CITY, NV – Today, the Nevada State Assembly voted unanimously to pass AB112 to establish a Wildlife Crossing Fund within the state’s general fund. The legislation, sponsored by the Assembly Committee on Growth & Infrastructure, aims to improve the safety of Nevada roads, protect critical species, and save billions in taxpayer dollars. In the upcoming days, the bill will head to the Nevada Senate for a committee hearing.
The fund would be administered by the Nevada Department of Transportation to work collaboratively with the Nevada Department of Wildlife and construct new and maintain existing projects that allow wildlife to migrate safely across highways. Every year, collisions between motorists and wildlife cause over 200 human deaths and more than 26,000 injuries nationwide. In turn, millions of animals die yearly, leading to degraded wildlife populations. In Nevada, there are more than 500 reported wildlife-vehicle collisions annually which costs the state close to $20 million annually.
“Targeted investments in wildlife crossings can go a long way to making roads safer for humans and wildlife,” said Nevada Conservation League’s Deputy Director Christi Cabrera-Georgeson. “By establishing and funding an account to construct new and maintain existing wildlife crossings, we can save wildlife and human lives, save Nevada money, and gain access to critical federal funding.”
“We are elated to see the Nevada State Assembly pass AB112 today,” said Annette Magnus, Executive Director of Battle Born Progress. “This legislation is focused on wildlife corridors with the aim of creating safe migratory areas and protecting wildlife. We know a majority of Nevadans are in favor of protecting wildlife corridors and this bill provides the necessary resources to ensure secure migratory areas for the state’s wildlife. Species such as mule deer and pronghorn are integral to the desert ecosystem and the outdoor recreation economy of Nevada. AB112 will aid in the protection of these species while also preserving migratory patterns which also protects Nevada drivers and wildlife as they share our roads. This is a good investment for Nevadans and our wildlife.”
“As we continue to lose 1.3 million acres of Nevada’s wildlife habitat each year, we need to prioritize ways for our wildlife to safely move throughout their home,” said Russell Kuhlman with the Nevada Wildlife Federation. “The effects of human development, human population growth, invasive species, and wildfires lead to increased habitat fragmentation. We need solutions to combat this fragmentation and protect and conserve the wildlife corridors that connect one piece of habitat to the other.”
“Nevada’s wildlife is vital to our desert ecosystem and AB 112 will ensure that they are protected,” said Jermareon Williams, Nevada Government Affairs Manager for Western Resource Advocates. “By creating safe passage corridors for migratory animals and addressing the issue of wildlife-vehicle collisions, this bill will allow wildlife to move freely and safely between their seasonal habitats, promoting healthy populations and enhancing overall biodiversity. We are grateful to the Assembly Committee on Growth and Infrastructure for its leadership in advancing this crucial bill so that we can make our roads safer for all and protect Nevada’s diverse wildlife populations.”
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act provides $350 million to help fund projects that reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions and improve habitat connectivity. Since these federal provisions require matching funds, Nevada can leverage federal funding to develop wildlife safety infrastructure.