Hwy-89 Road Ecology

The Hwy-89 Stewardship Team dedicates their new animal undercrossing.

Animal-vehicle collisions cause $8.8B in injuries and property damage every year. Sagehen’s access road, California Highway-89, represents about 300,000-miles of similar roadway in the US that transects good wildlife habitat and has moderate traffic volume that encourages wildlife to try to cross, often with catastrophic results. In 1979, the local Caltrans shed began writing down all the animals they removed from this highway segment, along with mile markers to the 1/10. This is now the world’s best road kill database.

The Highway-89 Stewardship Team formed to exploit this resource in an attempt to learn how to ameliorate the situation.

  • The team developed a new Road Ecology professional development course, presented at Sagehen in alternate years.
  • We continued radio-collar monitoring of our local migratory deer herd, and camera network monitoring of our first animal under-crossing at Kyburz Flat.
  • To date, Caltrans has completed spending for three new wildlife under-crossings and many miles of fencing.

Major partners: Sierra County Fish and Wildlife Commission, Sierra County, USDA Forest Service: Tahoe National Forest and Pacific Southwest Research Station, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), University of California Cooperative Extension, UC Berkeley-Sagehen Creek Field Station, California Deer Association, University of California, Davis.

More info:

Kyburz Flat underpass dedication ceremony. from F. Felix on Vimeo.

Highway-89 Road Ecology. from F. Felix on Vimeo.