An under-the-highway culvert such as this one could help wildlife safely cross under Highway 395 thanks to the approval of a $5.4 million grant to the Lassen County Transportation Commission. Photo submitted

Wildlands Network applauds Wildlife Conservation Board funding for innovative wildlife crossing on Highway 395 in Lassen County 

The Wildlife Conservation Board has approved a $5.4 million grant to the Lassen County Transportation Commission to fund the planning and design of a wildlife crossing on U.S. 395 in Lassen County. This significant grant will bolster efforts to ensure safe migration and movement routes for mule deer, pumas, bears, and other wildlife species, contributing to the conservation of California’s precious ecosystems.

As development, wildfires, transportation networks and other barriers to movement continue to fragment natural habitats, wildlife face increasing challenges in their quest for food, breeding grounds and safe passage across roadways. Funding the planning and design for a wildlife crossing on Highway 395 will build upon camera studies, wildlife-vehicle collision data and GPS telemetry data aimed at understanding how various species of wildlife interact with the Highway.

The Wildlife Conservation Board’s generous funding will enable the Lassen County Transportation Commission to collaborate with leading experts, including the U.C. Davis Road Ecology Center, Wildlands Network, Pathways for Wildlife and Dudek. These entities bring a wealth of knowledge, and experience, to the project, ensuring its successful implementation and long-term effectiveness.

“This grant from the Wildlife Conservation Board is a testament to the commitment of all involved parties to safeguard California’s unique wildlife,” said Mari Galloway, California Program Director of Wildlands Network. “Through this collaboration, we aim to connect landscapes while prioritizing the safety of animals and motorists.”

The wildlife crossing design will be informed by camera studies and wildlife-vehicle collision data from Pathways for Wildlife and the U.C. Davis Road Ecology Center as well as their expertise in developing wildlife-friendly infrastructure. Wildlands Network’s overarching vision of rewilding and connecting landscapes will guide the project’s conservation goals through close collaboration with project partners and coordination with private property owners. Dudek, renowned for its environmental consulting services, will provide invaluable support to ensure the project’s environmental compliance and success.

The project’s potential impact extends beyond Lassen County, serving as a testament to the power of collaboration and innovation in wildlife conservation. The wildlife crossing on Highway 395 will serve as a vital corridor for mule deer, pumas, bears and other species, mitigating road-related wildlife mortality and facilitating the safe movement of wildlife across landscapes.

Wildlands Network is immensely grateful to the Wildlife Conservation Board for their dedication to preserving California’s biodiversity and supporting visionary initiatives like the U.S. 395 wildlife crossing. Together with our esteemed partners, we are committed to creating a sustainable future where wildlife and people thrive side by side.

For more information on the wildlife crossing project or Wildlands Network’s conservation efforts, contact:  Mari Galloway, California Program Director, Wildlands Network, mari@wildlandsnetwork.org, (209) 373-9973

About Wildlands Network
Since 1991, Wildlands Network has been committed to reconnecting, restoring, and rewilding North America for the benefit of all species. Our work is grounded in science, driven by fieldwork, and furthered through strategic policy and partnerships.