COLORADO ― Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the Colorado Department of Transportation have partnered with the Southern Ute Indian tribe and several other organizations to construct a new wildlife mitigation project in southwest Colorado. The project, slated to begin this coming spring, will construct several features on U.S. Highway 160 between Durango and Pagosa Springs that will promote safer travel for motorists, enhance safer movement of wildlife, and reduce animal-vehicle collisions along this section of highway.
The location of the project will bring a great improvement for that section of highway, explained Scott Wait, senior terrestrial biologist for Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
“This is a heavily used corridor by vehicles and an important area in the San Juan Basin for big game,” Wait said. “Deer and elk spend the warm months in the high country to the north; but most big game move to the important winter range areas south of the highway during the winter. So there is a huge number of deer and elk that cross the highway at that location.”
This is an extraordinary collaborative project, CDOT officials said.
“We are extremely grateful for the phenomenal partnerships that have made this project feasible,” said Tony Cady, CDOT Planning and Environmental Manager for southwest Colorado. “These partnerships greatly leverage the individual contributions made by these different entities and will increase the return on our investments.”
The Southern Ute Indian Tribe is a critical partner and provided important biological information to help design the project.
“Hunting is an extremely important component to the Southern Ute Indian Tribe and culture and it is considered vital to keep these traditions alive,” said Steve Whiteman, acting director of Natural Resources. “The Tribe has long maintained a positive working relationship with the state of Colorado, and looks forward to the collaboration with CPW