Wyomingites Buy Thousands of Conservation Plates to Help Fund Safe Road Crossing Projects for Wildlife

There are thousands of wildlife collisions on the roads of Wyoming each year. Residents and state officials would all like to see fewer of them. To keep animals safer, the state came together to support an initiative that will bring changes on the roadways.

Governor Mark Gordon recently announced that his goal to have 2,020 Wyoming Conservation License Plates purchased in 2020 had been met. This has led to more than $300,000 for projects to improve the roads and make wildlife collisions less common.

Gordon said, “Thank you to the thousands of people, businesses and organizations who purchased the Wyoming Conservation License Plate and helped fulfill this challenge. We share the roads in Wyoming with our abundant wildlife, and the funds generated from the sales of the plate serves as a basis for projects that can prevent crashes with over 6,000 big game annually.”

PHOTO: PIXABAY/DAVID MARK

The governor said the business world played a big part, with more than 40 businesses either offering discounts for customers who had the plates or putting them on their own company vehicles. Wyoming-based nonprofits and state agencies made sure to promote the initiative, as well.

In a Facebook post about the plates, the Wyoming Game & Fish Department said, “Funds raised from the Wildlife Conservation license plate go to support projects like overpasses, underpasses and fencing that reduce collisions with wildlife by 80-90%…That means you’ll be saving more than just the bucks in your wallet.”

WGFD says in 2017, a summit was held to figure out how to address wildlife collisions. The discussion involved federal and state agencies, elected officials, nonprofits, and community members. These talks came up with 240 possible opportunities for improvements, with ten labeled as high priority. In some cases, underpasses or overpasses could be built specifically for wildlife, or existing ones could be repurposed. In other areas, it may be as simple as fencing, signage, or culverts.

PHOTO: PIXABAY/NATURE-PIX

The Wyoming Department of Transportation encouraged residents to get the plates to help support such projects.

They said, “Proceeds from the sale of this plate will go toward supporting wildlife conservation projects related to the transportation system. The new plate features a mule deer design as a way to raise awareness about wildlife conservation and to help protect wildlife migration routes.”

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WGFD says that 15% of accidents in the state involve a wild animal, and most of those accidents involve mule deer. The deer require about 30 seconds between vehicles to safely cross the road. Insurance company State Farm, meanwhile, said Wyoming ranked sixth among states where a wildlife collision is most apt to happen, with a 1 in 64 chance.

PHOTO: PIXABAY/DAVID MARK

This initiative will keep addressing this. It’s not just a one and done. The Wyoming Conservation License Plates will continue to be available for people to purchase for $180, with an annual $50 retention fee. To read more on efforts to help decrease these collisions, click here.

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