New poll shows strong support for additional wildlife crossings and new safeguards for migration routes
These days, it can seem like a daunting challenge to find an issue that on 9 out of 10 registered voters will agree. That’s particularly true when you’re polling across party lines, up and down the socioeconomic ladder, and in rural and urban areas alike.
But sportsmen and women should be encouraged by a new report out of Nevada, which demonstrated overwhelming support for two critical issues facing the West’s big game animals: migration corridor conservation and highway crossings for wildlife.
As roads and development increasingly fragment the seasonal habitats and routes used by elk, mule deer, and antelope, it has become much more difficult for our herds to reach the winter and summer ranges where they can access the best-available food sources throughout the year. And highways in particular not only pose a barrier to migrating herds, as GPS collar data has shown; collisions between wildlife and vehicles pose a significant safety risk to drivers and passengers on our roads.
According to the poll, conducted by the research firm FM3 for The Pew Charitable Trusts, registered voters in Nevada agree on the need to pursue common-sense solutions to these issues. More than 93% support the implementation of new conservation measures to protect wildlife migration corridors, and 92% support the installation of additional wildlife overpasses and underpasses to protect migrating wildlife.
Significantly, 77% of registered voters in Nevada said that wildlife migration should be prioritized over oil and gas drilling in the Ruby Mountains, home to the state’s largest mule deer herd. Hunters and anglers have led an effort to defend the Rubies, an iconic destination for sportsmen and women, against speculative energy development. These findings suggest widespread support for the Ruby Mountain Protection Act, introduced in the U.S. Senate by Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) earlier this year.
Here’s a breakdown of some of the numbers highlighted in the report:
- 77% of Nevadans would prioritize wildlife migration over oil and gas drilling in the Ruby Mountains, home to the state’s largest mule deer herd.
- 93% of Nevadans support the implementation of new conservation measures to safeguard wildlifemigration corridors.
- 90% of Nevadans would like public land managers to maintain open migration corridors so herds can move across public lands unimpeded.
- 92% of Nevadans support the installation of additional highway overpasses and underpasses to protect migrating wildlife.
- 84% of Nevadans see a need for increased public funding for wildlife crossing structures.
- The Nevada Department of Transportation estimates that there are more than 500 wildlife-vehicle collisions in the state. Including medical bills, emergency responder resources, and losses in productivity, the agency suggests these accidents cost more than $19 million in total.
If you would like to learn more about the Ruby Mountain Protection Act and efforts to conserve Nevada’s largest mule deer herd, visit www.sportsmenfortherubies.com.
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Top photo: BLM Nevada, Chip Caroon via Flickr