Friday, September 16, 2011

Skirball Wildlife Crossing Will Protect Animals and Motorists

Caltrans Senior Enviromental Planner Barbara Marquez (left) was interviewed this morning by KTLA’s Ginger Chan about wildlife crossings -- the new Skirball wildlife crossing in particular. The Skirball crossing, now under construction, is part of the required environmental mitigation (pdf) for the I-405 Sepulveda Pass Widening Project.

One of the most common questions/jokes we get about the wildlife crossing is whether signs will be posted to direct animals to the crossing point. No signs necessary. A perimeter fence will be constructed to funnel the wildlife to the new Skirball overpass, which will have a 10-foot wide travel path on the south side for animals. (Two-legged creatures can use it as well.) A concrete wall on the east side will direct them to the bridge and keep them from crossing Skirball Center Drive. More fencing will direct them back and forth from the Sepulveda Trail area. Plans also include planting native vegetation that allow cover for animals as they journey toward their destination.

Why build a wildlife crossing at all? In short, freeways fragment habitat, which can isolate animals, restrict gene pools, and significantly reduce animal populations -- even lead to extinction. Wildlife crossings help preserve habitats by allowing animals to spread out and travel safely. They also reduce accidents caused by cars hitting animals, so they make our freeways safer for motorists as well. Plus, we ALL benefit from protecting the environment and preserving our unique ecology.