Changing your clocks with your driving habits during daylight saving time can help prevent wildlife-vehicle collisions. Wildlife experts advise drivers that wildlife is on the move, so be aware, drive with caution and slow down at night.
This Sunday, Nov. 5, marks the end of daylight saving time, which means people will set their clocks back an hour, see dusk earlier and see more wild animals migrating to their wintering habitats during rush-hour traffic on highways.
As the sunlight fades during high-volume commutes, Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) asks drivers to stay alert and share roads with wildlife. Autumn is the peak seasonal mating and migration time for many species, so drivers should watch for wildlife as they experience darker commutes.
The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) also advises motorists to stay vigilant, drive cautiously and slow down as winter storms often push wildlife from the high country into lower elevations.
“This is the time of year when we start seeing more animals on the move at our state parks and on our roads,” said CPW Fishers Peak State Park Manager Crystal Dreiling. “Drivers across the state can expect to find wildlife on or near the roadways as winter approaches and they can do their part in helping to reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions with bear, elk and deer by traveling at slower speeds and staying vigilant.”
“From these studies, wildlife mitigation features can be added to planned highway improvement projects,” said Keith Stefanik, CDOT Chief Engineer. “The prioritization plans provide us with a proactive approach to pursue strategic wildlife-highway mitigation where it is needed most, to allow wildlife to safely cross busy highways and decrease the potential of high risk of wildlife-vehicle collisions.”
Associated wildlife infrastructure includes wildlife overpasses, underpasses, and high fences with escape ramps and wildlife guards along highways.
Projects recently completed or under construction include:
I-25 Gap Project Monument to Castle Rock (five underpasses, high fencing and one overpass currently in design)
CO 13 Fortification Creek Project north of Craig (one underpass and a wildlife radar detection system, high fencing)
U.S. 550 Connection South Project near Durango (two underpasses, several small mammal underpasses and high fencing)
I-70 between Lookout Mountain and Genesee exits (one underpass and high fencing)
CO 13 North Rifle Corridor Phase I (two underpasses and one box culvert, high fencing)
“It’s exciting to see CPW, CDOT and our Wildlife Transportation Alliance partners working together to create safe passage for motorists and wildlife,” said CPW’s Wildlife Movement Coordinator Michelle Cowardin. “Our wildlife faces many challenges and barriers to movement throughout the year, and these projects reduce the risk of an accident while increasing connectivity across our busy highways.”
CPW is an enterprise agency, relying primarily on license sales, state parks fees and registration fees to support its operations, including: 42 state parks and more than 350 wildlife areas covering approximately 900,000 acres, management of fishing and hunting, wildlife watching, camping, motorized and non-motorized trails, boating and outdoor education. CPW’s work contributes approximately $6 billion in total economic impact annually throughout Colorado.