Target: Malcolm Dougherty, director of the California Department of Transportation
Goal: Praise California for moving forward with plans to construct a wildlife crossing that will aid struggling cougar populations.
A proposed wildlife crossing over a busy highway in California has gained widespread support, including a ForceChange petition crafted to back it. Now, following the receipt of a $1 million grant from the California State Coastal Conservancy, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has begun drafting official plans for the crossing.
Dubbed the Liberty Canyon wildlife crossing, the vegetated overpass will traverse the busy Ventura Freeway. The new route will provide safe passage to cougars and other wildlife species. Without a crossing, few animals make the trip. The resulting habitat fragmentation has further dwindled the local cougar population, which is already in the single digits.
With adequate funding, the state will begin construction on the Liberty Canyon wildlife crossing in 2018. The bridge will not only save cougars and other wildlife from a gruesome death on the freeway, it will provide much needed connectivity to the Santa Monica Mountains. Wildlife crossings make it possible for animals to move from one habitat to another. This increases their chances for survival and improves the flow of genetic material within populations.
Wildlife crossings can begin to restore the health of habitats that have been damaged by urban development. Sign the petition below to commend Caltrans’ life-saving decision and urge them to secure adequate funding for the bridge’s construction.
Dear Secretary Dougherty,
I would like to extend praise and gratitude for the department’s decision to move forward with the Liberty Canyon wildlife crossing plans. Each year, countless wild animals are struck and killed by vehicles, often harming drivers in the process. The Liberty Canyon crossing will significantly reduce the number of animals that meet this gruesome fate. Most notably, cougars in the Santa Monica Mountains may now stand a chance for recovery from their dwindling populations.
Freeways may be a necessity of modern urban society, but they don’t have to be deadly. With intelligent designs like wildlife crossings, we can build a better future for animals and humans. Drafting official plans for this crossing represents a huge step towards the future of wildlife conservation. Thank you for your decision to save cougars and their surrounding habitat. Please ensure the department receives adequate funding for the construction of this life-saving project.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Eric Kilby