National Wildlife Collision Reporting & Infrastructure

Wildlife-vehicle collisions (WVCs) incur significant health, economic and environmental costs, including impacts on species at risk. WVCs are on the rise, costing an estimated $280 million per year in Alberta alone in direct and indirect costs, according to a 2015 Alberta Transportation study.

A Transport Canada-funded study in 2003 recommended a national wildlife accident reporting system. The data collected by the system would be used to identify hot spots, plan and monitor collision mitigation infrastructure, and create habitat connectivity plans. Adopting a smartphone-based system would produce more accurate, complete and timely WVC data.

Recommended  Investment:

$4.5 million over three years to work with the provinces and territories to develop and implement a national WVC data reporting system. [TC,  ECCC]

The federal government has shown leadership in WVC mitigation infrastructure in Banff National Park, with 38 wildlife underpasses, 6 overpasses and fencing along the Trans-Canada Highway (TCH), that has reduced WVCs by more than 80%, and over 96% for elk and deer.

Crossing structures also help to preserve wildlife migratory corridors, enhance connectivity among populations and reduce fragmentation of habitats. However, despite these positive results, funding for such infrastructure is often scarce.

For example, in 2019 Alberta allocated $20 million over four years for wildlife protection, including one overpass on the TCH that with fencing will likely cost $14 million. A 2012 study identified 10 sites along the same stretch of highway that need wildlife underpasses. A properly sited wildlife crossing can pay for itself in 10 to 20 years, long before the end of the structure’s projected 75-year lifespan.

Recommended  Investment:

$150 million over three years to support the building of federal, provincial and territorial WVC mitigation infrastructure. [TC,  INFC, ECCC]

Gretchen Fitzgerald –