Wildlife using Highway 97 crossing thanks to you

Wildlife using Highway 97 crossing thanks to you

Conservation Northwest / Dec 10, 2019 / Connecting Habitat, Wildlife Crossings

Since completing renovations on Janis Bridge to better serve as a wildlife crossing, we’ve documented dozens of animals safely crossing Highway 97!

By Matthew Brouwer, Development Director

A few weeks ago we updated you on progress with the Okanagon Wildlife Crossing Campaign including protective fencing along Highway 97 and improvements to a wildlife crossing under Janis Bridge. Since then we’ve received some awesome pictures we wanted to share with you showing mule deer, cougar and other wildlife utilizing this crossing and remaining out of harm’s way.

Check out these images from the new Janis Bridge wildlife undercrossing! Click the image for a larger version.

We want to extend a huge thanks to everyone who made this work possible through supporting our Okanogan Wildlife Crossing Campaign! This fundraising effort is just one part of our Safe Passage 97 project with the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), the Colville Tribes, Mule Deer Foundation and other partners.

Our contractors remove brush and debris under Janis Bridge to allow for greater use by wildlife. Photo: Jay Kehne

Already we’re seeing the benefits as wildlife move with greater ease across the Okanogan Valley, and motorists travel more safely along what has been one of Washington’s most dangerous stretches of highway.

We also want to provide a big THANK YOU to the Community Foundation of North Central Washington, Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s Outdoor Fund, and Moccasin Lake Foundation for continuing to invest in the campaign with recent grants of $10,000, $11,000, and $4,000.

These grants will help us complete Phase 1 of the Safe Passage 97 project by purchasing a pair of cattle guards and stringing another .6 miles of fencing to further improve connectivity and safety where deer are most active and the greatest number of collisions occur.

You can read more about the full project here, including the launch of Phase 2, which involves going back to Olympia to again lobby the State to fund and build additional wildlife crossings under Highway 97.

This project is a great example of an easy-to-get-behind solution that’s a win-win for people and wildlife. As a result of your investment, our wildlands are more connected, motorists can travel with greater peace of mind, and many more mule deer will be able to safely cross what has been a very dangerous stretch of road.

If you’re interested in continuing to support the completion of Phase 1, check out Community Foundation of North Central Washington’s crowdfund campaign and “Monday Funday” matching gift raffle running through the end of December. One hundred percent of donations will go directly to the Okanogan Wildlife Crossing Campaign!

Check out ADDITIONAL photos below. And stay tuned for more wildlife images!