(COLORADO) — The Polis administration announced new funding for wildlife mitigation projects across Colorado.

In the summer, Governor Jared Polis signed SB22-151 the Safe Passage for Colorado Wildlife and Motorists law. The bill allowed the use of general funds to be used for wildlife mitigation projects. The Polis administration, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW), and the Colorado Wildlife and Transportation Alliance (CWTA) have worked together to identify seven projects for the Colorado wildlife safe passages fund.

The bill allotted $5 million to fund projects that provide safe road crossings for the connectivity of wildlife and reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions.

“This additional funding will boost wildlife mitigation in highway projects already identified for construction in CDOT’s 10-year prioritization plan,” said CDOT Executive Director Shoshana Lew. “Structural features like underpasses, overpasses, and deer fencing add substantial safety for animals and drivers. These beneficial project elements can now be added to the scope of work in these scheduled projects.”

The seven projects include the following:

  • Central Colorado 
    • $500,000 – US Highway 285 near Conifer, installation of wildlife fencing
  • Southeast Colorado 
    • $750,000 – I-25 Raton Pass, design of wildlife crossings and fencing
    • $500,000 – CO Highway 115 at Rock Creek south of Colorado Springs, installation of wildlife fencing
  • Northwest Colorado
    • $750,000 – I-70 East Vail Pass, design of wildlife crossings and fencing
    • $150,000 – CO 13 north of Craig, installation of radar detection
    • $325,000 – CO 13 north of Craig, construction of wildlife mitigation features
  • Southwest Colorado
    • $500,000 – US 550 north of Ridgway, construction of wildlife underpass and fencing

A portion of the $5 million will be used to support future wildlife-transportation program needs. The CWTA will receive $250,000 in operating funds. The CWTA is a statewide coalition of state, federal, and tribal agencies, as well as academic, nonprofit, biologist, and engineering partners. 

Additionally, $1.275 million will be used as matching funds for federal grants.