Construction work will soon begin to complete the last piece of a multi-year project which allows deer and elk to safely migrate across State Highway 21 between Lucky Peak Reservoir and the Wilderness Ranch area.
Contractors working for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game will be installing specially fabricated “wildlife guards” across Spring Shores Road to prevent big game animals from entering the highway via the access road. “Most people are familiar with cattle guards that prevent livestock movement from one area to another,” Fish and Game habitat biologist Krista Biorn noted. “These wildlife guards are simply a modified design.”
Construction efforts were scheduled to begin in mid-April, but the project has been delayed until the week of May 13th. The entire project should be completed by the end of the month. During construction, which will not occur on Fridays, Saturdays or Sundays, Spring Shores Road will be reduced to one lane with flaggers regulating traffic.
More than 7,000 mule deer and nearly 1,500 elk spend the winter months on the Boise River Wildlife Management Area and surrounding foothills, browsing, resting and waiting out the long, cold winter season. State Highway 21 bisects this winter range area, and the number of wildlife/vehicle collisions and close encounters has increased steadily as more motorists use the highway.
In 2010, the Idaho Transportation Department completed the construction of a wildlife crossing structure under State Highway 21 at mile post 18.2. In the years that followed, crews installed miles of fencing on both sides of the highway to funnel deer and elk to the underpass. The effort has proven effective at greatly reducing the number of wildlife-vehicle collisions on this section of the roadway and maintaining habitat connectivity.
For more information regarding the wildlife guard construction project, please contact the Idaho Department of Fish and Game Nampa office at 208-465-8465.
- IDFG -