PENNSYLVANIA —The Pennsylvania House of Representatives recently passed House Resolution 87 (HR87), a bipartisan initiative aimed at safeguarding critical animal habitats, including essential wildlife corridors. This resolution will also mandate the House Legislative Budget and Finance Committee to submit an extensive report on the enormous benefits of these corridors within the next 18 months. Moreover, the construction of wildlife crossings is expected to significantly improve public safety.
Introduced by state Reps. Mary Jo Daley (HD 148 – Montgomery County) and Jason Ortitay (HD 46 – Allegheny and Washington counties), HR 87 directs the House Legislative Budget and Finance Committee (LBFC) to study and issue a report on the status, management and benefits of wildlife corridors. In Pennsylvania, House resolutions need neither Senate ratification nor the governor’s signature to become law. The report will be completed within the next 18 months.
“From the Poconos to the Ohio River Valley, Pennsylvania is a natural wonderland for a diverse array of native wildlife species,” said Stephanie Wein, clean water & conservation advocate at PennEnvironment. “HR87 will help ensure that — from the monarch butterfly to elk and from black bear to our state bird, the ruffed grouse — these incredible animals can call Pennsylvania home, now and for future generations.”
“Wildlife corridors” is a broad term for a number of different strategies utilized to allow animals to safely move between habitats fragmented by infrastructure development. Wildlife corridors keep animal populations healthy by giving them more hunting, foraging, migration and mating options.
“Pennsylvania is home to a wonderful diversity of plants, trees and wildlife. HR 87 will help us look at how we can preserve that, as well as enhance our thriving outdoor recreation industry and provide for safer travel for people and animals around the commonwealth,” said Rep. Daley.
The resolution will also help to identify key areas where Pennsylvania should construct wildlife crossings. Every year, Pennsylvania is among the five worst states nationwide for wildlife-vehicle collisions: 166,000 animal collision claims were filed in Pennsylvania from July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021. Building wildlife crossings, incluing underpasses and over passes, will save people as well as animals.
“Wildlife-vehicle collisions not only result in costly vehicle repairs, but also injuries and even death to humans and wildlife,” said Rep. Ortitay. “We should make every effort to reduce these incidents and conservation corridors are one way to do so. I’m hopeful this study will offer ideas to better use this technique.”
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