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Former VP Joe Biden picks Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate; some schools have science-based metrics for open classroom instruction.


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Survey: 93% of Nevada Voters Want to Protect Wildlife Migration Routes

Pronghorn are the fastest land mammal in North America, with herds capable of traveling up to 60 miles per hour. (fws.org/TomKoerner)
Pronghorn are the fastest land mammal in North America, with herds capable of traveling up to 60 miles per hour. (fws.org/TomKoerner)
February 28, 2020

LAS VEGAS, Nev. - Wildlife in Nevada follow distinct pathways during seasonal migration, and a new survey shows state voters are eager to provide them with safe passage when they move from one place to another.

In a poll released by The Pew Charitable Trusts, 93% of registered voters in Nevada believe it's important to adopt policies that protect wildlife migration routes. Former director of the Nevada Department of Wildlife Ken Mayer says across the board, people recognize that development has created a need for overpasses and underpasses to reduce animal-vehicle collisions.

"Whether you're a Democrat or a Republican, young or old, male or female, it didn't seem to make any difference in the support for protecting in these migratory corridors," says Mayer.

According to the Nevada Department of Transportation, more than 5,000 animals are hit and killed by vehicles each year, and the cost of those collisions is nearly $20 million. Mayer says research shows that after the first Nevada wildlife crossings were built in 2010, more than 37,000 animals used them in the first four years.

The state now has 20 wildlife crossings in place for species that migrate in Nevada - including mule deer, pronghorn antelope, and elk. Mayer says nonetheless, when animals travel from a winter range to a summer range they often encounter new obstacles that prevent a safe migration.

"And it's not their fault or their problem that we build an interstate or a housing development or mining or whatever it is that we're disturbing the land that cuts off their access," says Mayer. "And they try like heck to get to where they want to go, regardless of what the barriers are."

The Pew survey found that 92% of poll respondents support the construction of additional underpasses and overpasses for wildlife. Improved data from GPS-enabled wildlife collars also is helping to revolutionize how Western states approach the issue of protecting migrating animals while reducing wildlife-vehicle collisions. The survey was conducted by the research firm FM3.

Support for this reporting was provided by The Pew Charitable Trusts.

Disclosure: The Pew Charitable Trusts - Environmental Group contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy & Priorities, Climate Change/Air Quality, Consumer Issues, Endangered Species & Wildlife, Energy Policy, Environment, Health Issues, Public Lands/Wilderness, Salmon Recovery. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
Roz Brown, Public News Service - NV