The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) and Utah Department of Transportation, along with other partners, have collaborated on the Utah Wildlife Migration Initiative since 2017.

In 2023, they installed various structures across the state to reduce wildlife/vehicle collisions and facilitate important migrations. These structures include overpasses, bridges, culverts, fences, fish ladders, and barriers. Utah has a history of wildlife crossings, starting with the first wildlife overpass in the U.S. in 1975. In 2023, new wildlife-fencing projects were completed in central, northern, and southern Utah. Fish passage barriers and reconstruction projects were also undertaken in southern and southeastern Utah.

Notable projects include wildlife-exclusion fencing in the Eagle Mountain Migration Corridor, I-80 near Kimball Junction, I-15 near Riverside, and U.S. 89 in Davis and Weber counties. Fish passage barriers were constructed in Pleasant Creek and Upper Kanab Creek. The removal of the Gigliotti Diversion Dam on the Price River aims to allow bluehead sucker and Colorado River cutthroat trout access to rearing habitat.

Another project that was completed in Southern Utah saw a fish passage barrier put in place on Pleasant Creek located on the east slope of Boulder Mountain in Garfield County. That barrier will protect the native Colorado River cutthroat trout from the non native brook trout.

Funding for upcoming projects, such as additional wildlife underpasses and fencing along US-89 near Kanab, has been secured.

UDOT received $5 million from the Wildlife Crossings Pilot Program in December 2023, in addition to external conservation permit funding, for projects near Kanab. Plans include replacing and expanding wildlife fencing near Echo Junction. A study analyzed the feasibility of wildlife crossings and fencing along Highway 40 in Duchesne and Wasatch counties, with efforts to secure funding for potential future projects. The collaboration aims to enhance wildlife safety and migration while considering funding and feasibility factors. For more details, visit the DWR website and listen to the DWR Wild podcast.

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Gallery Credit: Allison Rapp

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