Wildlife corridors: A conservation and economic solution

Nov 19, 2020

Wildlife corridors and the proposed Wildlife Corridors Conservation Act and INVEST Act can ensure ecosystem functioning while supporting America’s economic recovery


Animals of all types, from robins to trout and salamanders to grizzly bears, need to move to complete their life cycles and find resources. The routes that wildlife use to move across the landscape between significant habitat areas are called wildlife corridors.

Roads, fences, and human development are the most common barriers to wildlife movement along corridors. Although roads cover only about 1% of the country, scientists estimate that up to 20% of the U.S. landscape is impacted by roads and vehicles. Such disruption of natural flows has a price.

In the United States, collisions between motorists and large wildlife have an annual societal cost of more than $8 billion, and result in more than 200 human fatalities and over 26,000 injuries every year. Solutions to these problems can support local economies by providing jobs, reducing injuries and property damage, and saving money in the long-run.

Wildlife corridor connectivity solutions can include culverts, wildlife friendly fencing, and wildlife crossings; research has found that wildlife crossing structures combined with adequate wildlife fencing to guide animals to crossing sites can reduce vehicle-animal collisions by up to 97 percent.

wildlife using a culvert
pronghorn-friendly fencing
A wildlife crossing over a highway in Nevada

A bold new conservation vision is underway in Congress, one guided by the need for a resilient conservation network: the Wildlife Corridors Conservation Act (WCCA). The bill is co-led by New Mexico Senator Tom Udall, and could play a key role in helping reach the goal of protecting 30 percent of America by 2030.

The WCCA, which recently passed the House floor as part of the Moving Forward Act stimulus package, would establish a National Wildlife Corridors System and support programs. The system would be composed of federal lands and waters designated as National Wildlife Corridors.

Critically, the Moving Forward Act also includes $300 million in dedicated funding for wildlife-vehicle collision reduction projects that improve wildlife corridors, such as road crossings. The shovel-ready projects below would be eligible for funding and could help jump-start the post-pandemic recovery by stimulating the economy and supporting rural jobs. These are just a few of the wildlife connectivity projects spread across the country.


Data collection by Wildlands Network, Center for Large Landscape Conservation, and Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative. Digitized by Center for Western Priorities.

Check out the entire Wildlife Corridors Storymap and learn why wildlife corridors are essential to achieving the goal of protecting 30 percent of America by 2030.

…or scroll below!