The National Deer Association (NDA) applauds the recent passage of Pennsylvania House Resolution 87 (HR 87), which recently passed the Pennsylvania General Assembly. Sponsored by Reps. Mary Jo Daley and Jason Ortitay, the bipartisan resolution commissions a report on the status and management of conservation corridors in Pennsylvania. The study will include data collection on where wildlife crossings would be most beneficial.
Wildlife corridors, or conservation corridors, are areas of habitat connecting wildlife populations separated by human activities or structures. These corridors have proven successful at addressing a variety of imperative conservation concerns such as habitat fragmentation, vehicle-wildlife collisions, and keeping our wildlife populations healthy. HR 87 recognizes that ecological benefits of habitat connectivity include greater species richness, increased species populations and wider dispersal of animals and plants – including favorite Pennsylvania game species like deer, turkey, and grouse.
There are more than 1 million wildlife vehicle collisions in the U.S. each year, with Pennsylvania ranking in the top five states annually. Over 166,000 animal-vehicle collision claims were filed in Pennsylvania last year alone. Considering all of this, crossings that enable safe passage of animals over or under roadways are more important than ever.
Even more, recent passage of the federal Investment in Infrastructure and Jobs Act (IIJA) has made federal funding available to prioritize the safe movement of wildlife and fish through funding for wildlife crossings and improved fish passage. By taking this first step of creating a plan, HR 87 will pave the way for the Commonwealth’s ability to access crucial federal infrastructure funding to help protect native, at-risk species and increase driver safety.