April 1, 2024

Hunters Celebrate Idaho’s Effort to Improve Highway Safety and Assure Deer, Elk Sustainability 

The Cervidae Peak Wildlife Overpass was built specifically to foster highway safety and accommodate wildlife 

To the naked eye, Idaho State Highway 21 between Mile Post 19 and Mile Post 20 is a non-descript bend on a main route between Idaho’s largest city, Boise, and the state’s copious public lands and its high-country, wild heart.  

To the Idaho Transportation Department and the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, however, that stretch of highway is the epicenter of ITD’s mission to provide safe passage for travelers and IDFG’s mission to preserve, protect, perpetuate, and manage Idaho’s wildlife resources for Idaho’s citizens.  

It is there, at exactly mile 19.32, that transportation officials constructed the Cervidae Peak Wildlife Overpass. The first of its kind in Idaho, the overpass is a bridge built specifically to foster highway safety and accommodate wildlife. The overpass opened in November 2023, and based on photos from its first winter, it has been a roaring success. 

Once animals become more acclimated to the structure, transportation officials believe the bridge will reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions in this area by up to 80 percent. 

This project is a win-win supported by a broad-based coalition of supporters including ITD, IDFG, the City of Boise, the Boise National Forest, the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, local businesses, non-government organizations, and a variety of interested citizens. The $7-million project was primarily funded by the Federal Highway Administration’s 2017 Idaho Federal Lands Access Program grant, and hunters contributed matching funds to the project through Pittman-Robertson money. 

The wildlife crossing improves motorist safety by reducing risks of wildlife-vehicle collisions. In 2014, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that 158 people were killed and more than 10,000 injured in car crashes involving wildlife across the country. According to State Farm Insurance, there were more than 1.8 million animal collision insurance claims in the U.S. between July 1, 2022, and June 30, 2023. The average cost from July 2016 to June 2017 was $4,179 per claim. Damage costs have only risen in the last seven years. 

An 80 percent reduction in wildlife-vehicle collisions is a major victory on a highway that will only grow busier as Idaho’s population continues to grow. 

The wildlife crossing directly benefits the Boise River mule deer and elk herds and the hunters who chase them. Roughly 8,000 to 9,000 mule deer and 1,800 to 2,400 elk cross State Highway 21 twice annually to move between high country summer ranges and the winter range on the Boise River Wildlife Management Area and nearby public lands that surround Lucky Peak Reservoir. 

Conserving these migration corridors, which include stop-over areas and crucial winter ranges, is essential to the long-term viability of wildlife populations and the economies that survive on these resources. Accessing seasonal ranges is vital for the existence of sustainably-managed populations of big game animals.  

The Cervidae Peak Wildlife Overpass is a key piece of infrastructure ensuring that future, and a prime example of positive collaboration between federal, state, and private conservation efforts. 

Learn more about TRCP’s work in the Pacific Northwest HERE. 

6 Responses to “Hunters Celebrate Idaho’s Effort to Improve Highway Safety and Assure Deer, Elk Sustainability ”

  1. Betsy Annabelle Palacios

    Conserving these migration corridors, which include stop-over areas and crucial winter ranges, is essential to the long-term viability of wildlife populations and the economies that survive on these resources. Accessing seasonal ranges is vital for the existence of sustainably managed populations of big game animals. This should done all over that we have wild life. Thank You

  2. Gary Johnson

    Excellent project and more is needed. I lived in NJ for five years and thousands of whitetail are killed by cars. It’s terrible. Every overpass or underpass has a successful impact for many varieties of wildlife. Thank you for reporting conservation success.

  3. Darlene L Schenck

    I believe in wildlife overpasses , corridors and even underpasses. For everyone who enjoys the outdoors ,for whatever purpose, understands the necessity for them , everywhere we can. But even those who are city dwellers when driving the highways don’t want to hit an animal. Loss of life , human and wildlife can greatly be reduced with the use of overpasses , underpasses, and corridors.
    Thank you

  4. These projects here, in other states, and around the world are a vital piece in protecting and preserving the ability of animals to move to reach habitat they depend upon for survival. It is a bright spot in efforts being carried out by a variety of groups. Preservation of habitat and the ability to move are vital for their survival.

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March 25, 2024

Wyoming Conservation Wins from the 2024 Legislative Session 

The Kelly Parcel, HB 60, and elk were in the spotlight

We’ve made it through the tumultuous 2024 Wyoming legislative session. Thanks to the efforts of Wyoming sportspeople, we can count several wins for wildlife and the future of our great state!

The Kelly Parcel PASSED!

One section of the Governor’s budget that gained special attention was the sale of the Kelly Parcel to Grand Teton National Park for $100 million – a windfall for public education and wildlife. This parcel of state trust land contains valuable big game habitat and migration routes, including the famous Path of the Pronghorn, which is why the TRCP and a coalition of nine sportsmen’s groups submitted a letter of support for conveyance.

Our voices were heard, and an amendment to retain hunting and grazing on the Kelly Parcel in perpetuity was also added. More work is needed to finalize the conservation of this important parcel, but we’ve passed a major hurdle!

The TRCP thanks the lawmakers who advocated for conserving the Kelly Parcel, our members for their public testimony and written comments, and our partner organizations for their work on this issue.

Invasive Grasses Funding PASSED!

The Governor’s budget also includes a $9 million allocation for battling the spread of invasive grasses, such as cheatgrass, which degrades habitat and threatens big game winter range.

Large Projects Funding PASSED!

This annual legislation authorizes the Wildlife Trust to allocate matching funds to leverage important conservation projects across the state. This year’s projects include a $2.9 million fish passage project in the Greybull River drainage and over $7.5 million for several habitat enhancement projects for mule deer, elk, moose, and antelope.

HB0067 Outdoor Recreation and Tourism Trust Fund Administration-2. PASSED!

House Bill 67 sets up a board to allocate funds sitting in the Outdoor Recreation and Tourism Trust Fund established in 2023. This bill will help fund small outdoor recreation infrastructure projects such as shooting ranges, boat ramps, and trails in communities throughout Wyoming.

HB 60 – Excess Wildlife Damage Amendments DEAD

House Bill 60—Elk Population Damage Amendments—was a highly controversial bill that could have had major impacts to the sportspeople-funded budget of WGFD without solving the elk overpopulation issues it sought to address. It would have also disincentivized the partnerships we need between the department, landowners, and sportspeople to find durable solutions.

The TRCP recognizes that wildlife damage can be a significant issue for landowners, and we look forward to sitting down with all parties to find a Wyoming solution to this issue.

Thanks for Entering the Arena of Conservation!

While this session delivered wins for the outstanding wildlife values of the Kelly Parcel and funding for important conservation projects across the state, we were also faced with threats to publicly held wildlife. We thank our dedicated supporters for entering the arena of conservation and advocating for our issues. Wyoming is a small town with a very long street, and your voice makes a difference.

Photo Credit: Josh Metten

March 21, 2024

Tracking Congress: The Impact of 2024 Budget Allocations on Hunters and Anglers 

Appropriators in Congress recently began passing fiscal year 2024 funding bills that contain both highlights and disappointments for conservation.

After arduous negotiations, Congress has finally started to pass funding bills for fiscal year 2024. These bills bring about significant changes to the funding levels of programs that hold a special place in the hearts of hunters and anglers. Listed below are some highlights and disappointments from the recently enacted federal spending bills. 

Robust Funding for Everglades Restoration  

Everglades restoration has come a long way since the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan was authorized by Congress in 2000. Harmful discharges from estuaries have been reduced, wetlands have been restored, and greater amounts of water are flowing from north to south. However, there is still work to be done, including the continued construction of the Everglades Agricultural Area Reservoir. When completed, the reservoir will hold overflows from Lake Okeechobee and filter the water before sending it south. This $425 million investment will boost Everglades restoration efforts and improve hunting and fishing opportunities.  

Increased Funding for WaterSMART 

WaterSMART grants provide financial assistance to water managers for initiatives aimed at conserving and optimizing water usage, implementing renewable energy, exploring water marketing tactics, mitigating conflict risks in high-risk water areas, and achieving other sustainability objectives in the western United States. The increased funding for WaterSMART grants will help safeguard habitats that sustain fish and wildlife and are important to hunters and anglers. 

Increased Funding for Atlantic and Pacific Salmon for National Marine Fisheries Services 

The populations of Atlantic and Pacific Salmon both feature endangered subpopulations.  In the Pacific, this funding has led to stabilization and recovery of several subpopulations, such as the chum, Snake River Chinook, Lower Columbia Steelhead, and Lower Columbia River Coho salmon. These increased funds will continue to bolster habitat restoration, improvements to upstream and downstream fish passage, and other conservation efforts aimed at contributing to higher functioning watersheds and better-quality fishing opportunities for future generations. 

Good Neighbor Authority Extended to National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 

Good Neighbor Authority allows federal agencies to authorize states, counties, and tribes to conduct land management and restoration projects on federal lands. GNA is a win-win-win as it enables federal agencies with limited capacity to partner with states, counties, and tribes to achieve large-scale forest, watershed, and rangeland health outcomes.  By extending the GNA to the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, hunters and anglers will continue benefiting from the collaboration it fosters to conduct land management and restoration projects on new swaths of federal land. 

Funding Cuts at The Bureau of Land Management  

Among the Bureau of Land Management programs receiving funding cuts are the Recreation Management program, Resource Management Planning program, Rangeland Management program, Wildlife Habitat Management program, and the Aquatic Habitat Management program. The funding cuts will impact the BLM’s ability to help manage and improve vast amounts of public land for hunting and fishing.  

Funding Cuts to the National Wildlife Refuge System 

For the past fifteen years, the National Wildlife Refuge System has functioned with a Fiscal Year 2010 budget. Not once in a decade and a half have their funds been adjusted for inflation, and this lack of investment is reflected in the number of full-time staff diminishing even as the system expands. Low staffing levels directly affect the system’s ability to conduct habitat restoration and management, provide visitor services, and support law enforcement. The National Wildlife Refuge System budget saw a 3% budget cut from 2023, which means more staff dedicated to managing these public lands, and the hunting and fishing opportunities they provide, will be lost.  

Funding Cuts at The U.S. Geological Service   

The U.S. Geological Service saw cuts of up to 5% for its scientific research programs focused on Chronic Wasting Disease, controlling invasive species, and adapting to climate change. Investment in CWD research is essential as the always-fatal disease has now been detected in 32 states. The cost to control and eradicate aquatic invasive species in the U.S. amounts to more than $100 billion each year.  

Funding Cuts at The U.S. Forest Service  

The Wildlife and Fisheries Habitat Management, and Recreation, Heritage, and Wilderness initiatives of the USFS received cuts of up to 20%. These cuts will hamper the ability of USFS to manage habitat on their lands, and research best practices to manage forests and reduce wildfire risk. The Wildlife and Fisheries Habitat Management funding goes towards restoring fish and wildlife habitat, conserving threatened species, and maintaining wildlife habitat connectivity on USFS land. The Recreation, Heritage, and Wilderness initiative provides funds for improving access to and recreation on USFS land, including planning resources, trail management, and the off-highway vehicle program.

Hunters and anglers have always been the unsung heroes of conservation in America, quietly paying it forward every time we buy a license, a box of ammo, or a tank of boat fuel. We know you’re not satisfied with simply going hunting or fishing and then going home—so go the extra distance. You can take action on the conservation issues that matter right now. Click here to get started.

February 29, 2024

What is the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program? 

The Agricultural Conservation Easement Program is a Farm Bill conservation program that protects wildlife habitat and maintains open spaces.  But what exactly is ACEP and how does it benefit hunters and anglers? 

In this short video, we demystify a crucial Farm Bill conservation program, the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP), and shed light on its benefits to hunters and anglers. 

This program helps to protect wetlands, grasslands, and working farms and ranches through conservation easements. 

ACEP easements keep working lands working, ensuring farms and ranches in key areas are not developed or subdivided and maintaining their value for wildlife. By protecting and enhancing wetlands, ACEP easements not only provide prime habitat for waterfowl and other important species, but also sequester carbon, improve water quality, mitigates impacts of flooding, and maintain surface water during dry spells. 

The Farm Bill is the largest piece of conservation legislation that will come before the 118th Congress.  You can help ensure that habitat and wildlife remain central to sensible farm policy in the United States here

Learn more about Farm Bill Conservation Programs here

February 23, 2024

What is the Environmental Quality Incentives Program?

The Environmental Quality Incentives Program is a crucial Farm Bill program focused on helping farmers, ranchers and forest landowners integrate conservation into their working lands.  But what exactly is EQIP and how does it benefit hunters and anglers? 

In this short video, we demystify a crucial Farm Bill conservation program, the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), and shed light on its benefits to hunters and anglers.

EQIP is a voluntary conservation program that allows farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners to enhance water quality, strengthen wildlife habitat, and reduce soil erosion and sedimentation.  

The benefits of EQIP for fish, wildlife and agriculture are significant.

The Farm Bill is the largest piece of conservation legislation that will come before the 118th Congress.  You can help ensure that habitat and wildlife remain central to sensible farm policy in the United States here

Learn more about Farm Bill Conservation Programs here



Theodore Roosevelt’s experiences hunting and fishing certainly fueled his passion for conservation, but it seems that a passion for coffee may have powered his mornings. In fact, Roosevelt’s son once said that his father’s coffee cup was “more in the nature of a bathtub.” TRCP has partnered with Afuera Coffee Co. to bring together his two loves: a strong morning brew and a dedication to conservation. With your purchase, you’ll not only enjoy waking up to the rich aroma of this bolder roast—you’ll be supporting the important work of preserving hunting and fishing opportunities for all.

$4 from each bag is donated to the TRCP, to help continue their efforts of safeguarding critical habitats, productive hunting grounds, and favorite fishing holes for future generations.

Learn More

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